On Thursday, golf -- as the sport is known to do -- lagged behind everyone else.
As the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS and NCAA were suspending and canceling events for precautions over the coronavirus outbreak, PGA commissioner Jay Monahan announced the tour would continue playing the next four events as scheduled, just without fans. That lasted all of eight hours. After the first round of THE PLAYERS concluded, Monahan announced the tournament had been canceled as had the next our events leading up to the 2020 Masters.
Then, Friday morning, chairman Fred Ridley and the board of Augusta National Golf Club issued a statement announced that the year's first major and golf's most prestigious event would be postponed until further notice.
Statement from Chairman Ridley:— The Masters (@TheMasters) March 13, 2020
"Considering the latest information and expert analysis, we have decided at this time to postpone @TheMasters, @anwagolf and @DriveChipPutt National Finals."
Full details at https://t.co/FX2AN1MLsY pic.twitter.com/Z2DjS5TYdG
It was expected but shocking nonetheless.
With golf in line, American sports, by in large, are standing as one amid the growing pandemic.
You can thank, in part, Rory McIlroy for shaking the conscience of the golf world when he stepped off TPC Sawgrass on Thursday, calling for all players and caddies to be tested immediately and saying that if they got one positive the league should shut it down.
That was a message to Monahan more than anything else about the fine line he was walking by letting his players, caddies and essential personnel continue to travel during these times and play on courses in Florida and Texas.
Monahan did the right thing and shut it down. The Masters followed.
There's no telling when the tournament will be played. The course typically closes during the summer months. Will it stay open? Will they move the tournament to the fall? Perhaps after the FedEx Cup Playoffs?
It's all on the table.
The important thing is that golf, with a little help from its star, did the right thing.