The Masters

2020 Masters postponed due to coronavirus outbreak as golf follows suit

2020 Masters postponed due to coronavirus outbreak as golf follows suit

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. 

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. 

[RELATED: Sports' coronavirus response helps awaken, enlighten America]

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. 

Tiger enters The Masters exactly how you want him to -- the big-name underdog


Tiger enters The Masters exactly how you want him to -- the big-name underdog

There is something vaguely unsettling about Tiger Woods and The Masters this week, and it isn’t Tiger Woods or The Masters.

What it is, is the loud and persistent desperation of the golf-viewing nation that Woods BE the reason for The Masters this week. He is back playing after years of psychic and (mostly) physical issues, and his place on the odds board (12-1, behind four other golfers at 10-1) seems like the right place for him.

Except that that number will be bet down frantically this week as more and more people who want to turn back the clock 15 years throw their disposable income at what used to be. That is very much part of the Tiger Effect here – a look back at what used to be and what can probably never be again.

But in doing so, those people, most of whom are the same people who claimed that Tiger Woods changed golf, are showing that golf wasn’t changed as much as a “Tiger fixation” was created. The much-needed revolution he was supposed to have sparked in the sport was actually an army of eyeballs that watched him with a laserlike focus but then stopped watching until he came back. Indeed, the promised change in how golf looked came not on the men’s side but in the LPGA, where the leaderboard is more routinely global.

There have been great golfers in this decade – Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rory McElroy – but none have resonated in the same way, which is understandable given how difficult an act Woods was to follow. What we have discovered, though, is that Woods wasn’t actually a golf phenomenon but a singular phenomenon, a one-man revolution who will take the revolution with him when he retires for good.

And that’s not about him, that’s about the audience. The audience didn’t necessarily want what he was selling, they wanted him selling it, and they want him selling it now. And they will be the same people who will dismiss the sport once he re-retires because they wanted it to be about him and only him all along.

True, this is a generalization, and not all people feel this way. But no other 42-year-old who has been unhealthy for most of the past decade would be a 12-1 bet to win The Masters, or even on anyone’s mind. Tiger Woods is his own entity, and he comes bearing both the bully’s resume and the underdog’s narrative. He gives us both of the things we find most compelling in sports – the vision of the indomitable giant and the heroic underdog, all in one body.

So, Tiger Woods isn’t about Tiger Woods at all, but about the American sports fan’s twin psychoses – the big-name underdog. You know, sort of like Sister Jean sitting on the New England Patriots’ sideline.

See why it’s unsettling? That image alone just made my soul leak through my shoes.

Garcia beats Rose in overtime to win The Masters for first major

Garcia beats Rose in overtime to win The Masters for first major

It took overtime, but Sergio Garcia finally has his major. Here's how things ended up at the Masters, where Garcia defeated Justin Rose on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff:

Leaderboard: Sergio Garcia (-9, won on first playoff hole), Justin Rose (-9), Charl Schwartzel (-6), Matt Kuchar (-5) Thomas PIeters (-5), Paul Casey (-4)

What it means: Finally, it was Garcia's day. On what would have been Seve Ballesteros' 60th birthday, Garcia made his way into a playoff and then rolled in a 15-foot putt to close out Rose. It gives the Spaniard his long-awaited first major title and denies Rose the green jacket that seemed to be his with only a handful of holes to go.