Coronavirus: Players Championship at Sawgrass cancelled by the PGA Tour

The PGA Tour’s Players Championship at Sawgrass was cancelled on Thursday night after the completion of the first round, owing to the coronavirus.

Organisers had already announced that the remaining three rounds across the weekend would take place without fans in attendance, in an effort to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

But a text message was sent to all players late on Thursday to confirm that the tournament – widely regarded as the ‘unofficial fifth major’ – would not resume in the morning.

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“We did everything possible to create a safe environment for our players in order to continue the event throughout the weekend, and we were endeavouring to give our fans a much-needed respite from the current climate,” the PGA Tour said in a statement.

“But at this point – and as the situation continues to rapidly change – the right thing to do for our players and our fans is to pause.”

The PGA also confirmed that the next three weeks of the Tour schedule will be cancelled, which includes the Valspar Championship at Copperhead, the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in the Dominican Republic and the Valero Texas Open, meaning there will be no golf played until the Masters on 9 April.

Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama was the first-round leader after a superb nine-under 63, which put him two shots in front of a three-way tie for second.

Graeme McDowell shot a four-under-par 68, while fellow Northern Irishman and defending champion Rory McIlroy carded a 72.

In women’s golf, the ANA Inspiration, the first major of the year, is among five tournaments to be cancelled.

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