(Reuters) – The Players championship golf tournament in Florida has been cancelled after the first round due to coronavirus concerns, the PGA Tour said late on Thursday.
The next three events have also been scrapped.
“It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation of The Players Championship and all events through the Valero Texas Open,” the PGA Tour said on Twitter.
The Tour sent players a text saying that the cancellation was due to a “rapidly changing situation” and that more information would follow.
Earlier on Thursday, commissioner Jay Monahan announced that the final three rounds of The Tour’s flagship event would be played without any spectators.
Monahan has scheduled an 8 a.m. local time (1200 GMT) press conference to answer questions about what prompted the cancellation.
The first round was played in front of spectators at TPC Sawgrass. Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama led at nine-under-par 63 in Ponte Vedra Beach.
The cancellation of the Players, the Valspar Championship in Florida, the World Golf Championships-Dell Matchplay in Austin, Texas, and the Texas Open in San Antonio means there will be no events before the April 9-12 Masters.
Speculation is swirling about whether the Masters will go ahead as scheduled, even if without any spectators.
The tournament at Augusta National in Georgia is the first major championship of the year.
The club made no public comment on Thursday.
The cancellation of the PGA Tour for the next month means that virtually no major sporting events will take place in the United States.
The top women’s circuit, the LPGA Tour, earlier on Thursday announced that it was cancelling its next three events, which were scheduled to be played in Arizona and California.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Peter Rutherford and Michael Perry)
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