Masters Tournament postponed because of coronavirus

Tiger Woods with a crowd behind him
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 14: Tiger Woods (L) of the United States celebrates on the 18th green after winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods’ defense of his Masters title has been put on hold after the revered tournament was postponed because of the spread of coronavirus.

The year’s first major was set to take place at its traditional home of Augusta National, Georgia, from April 9.

But members of the private club said Friday they had come to a decision which is “appropriate under these unique circumstances.”

“The health and well-being of everyone associated with these events and the citizens of the Augusta community led us to this decision,” said chairman Fred Ridley in a statement.

“We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date.”

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The PGA had earlier announced it was suspending all tournaments up to and including the Valero Texas Open the week before the Masters.

Woods won his fifth Masters green jacket and 15th major in a remarkable performance 12 months ago.

World No.1 Rory McIlroy needs the Masters to complete the career grand slam of all four major titles.

He would become only the sixth player to clinch the feat, joining golfing greats Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen.