Golf During Coronavirus: Where we stand now

There could still be a Masters in 2020
There could still be a Masters in 2020

With sport around the world at a standstill due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Dave Tindall looks at how the golf schedule has been affected and what becomes of ante-post bets...

"The Masters could still be played later in the year, according to a statement issued by Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley. The course traditionally closes in late May due to the excessive heat in that part of the world and re-opens in October. A Masters in mid-October then? No-one really knows."

Thursday March 12: Hideki Matsuyama shoots a brilliant 9-under 63 to take a two-shot lead after round one of The Players Championship at Sawgrass.

Friday March 13: The tournament is cancelled. The PGA Tour calls off a series of events. The Masters is postponed.

Golf was inevitably going to be hit by the mass suspension of sport caused by the Coronavirus outbreak.

Some hoped the fact that it was played outside and took place on sprawling land rather than a confined stadium meant the show could go on.

It couldn't and golf is suspended indefinitely.

Things change fast but, as of Sunday March 15, this is where we stand:

PGA Tour

Mar 19-22 Valspar Championship - CANCELLED
Mar 25-29 WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play - CANCELLED
Mar 26-29 Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship - CANCELLED
Apr 1-5 Valero Texas Open - CANCELLED
Apr 9-12 The Masters - POSTPONED

While the first four events on that list are gone, The Masters could still be played later in the year, according to a statement issued by Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley.

"Considering the latest information and expert analysis, we have decided at this time to postpone the Masters Tournament," said Ridley.

"Ultimately, the health and well-being of everyone associated with these events and the citizens of the Augusta community led us to this decision. We hope this postponement puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date."

That later date? The course traditionally closes in late May due to the excessive heat in that part of the world and re-opens in October.

A Masters in mid-October then? No-one really knows.

As of now, the traditional post-Masters tournament in April, the RBC Heritage, has yet to be called off.

They issued a statement on Friday to say: "On Thursday, March 12th, the PGA Tour announced the suspension of the PGA Tour schedule through the Valero Texas Open which was scheduled to finish on April 5th. The decision was made due to the continued threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

"Since the RBC Heritage is beyond that time frame, the staff is continuing to proceed with the planning and execution of the event. The tournament is set for April 13-19, 2020 over the Harbour Town Golf Links. This is obviously a very fluid situation."

Nothing is certain but it's surely big odds-on that the tournament will also be called off.

Due to the earlier spread of the disease in China and the Far East, the faster-acting European Tour cancelled events much earlier. This is the current state of no play.

Note, the differences between cancelled and postponed.

European Tour

Mar 12-15 Magical Keny Open - POSTPONED
Mar 19-22 Hero Indian Open - POSTPONED
Mar 25-29 WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play - CANCELLED
Apr 2-5 No event was scheduled
Apr 9-12 The Masters - POSTPONED
Apr 16-19 Maybank Championship - POSTPONED
Apr 23-26 Volvo China Open - POSTPONED

The next scheduled event is the Andalucia Masters but, as Spain is one of the worst hit countries, there must surely be major doubts about that taking place.

Further down the schedule, the D+D Czech Masters (Aug 20-23) has also been cancelled. That seems a little premature although the fact it has been cancelled rather than postponed suggests it could have dropped off the schedule anyway. Some have suggested financial reasons.

While everyone acknowledges that golf and betting on golf isn't the priority right now, it's still important for punters to know where they stand.

Several questions have popped up in the golf betting community in the last few days so here's some responses from the Betfair golf traders.

Q: Did you pay out on first-round leader (applies to Sportsbook and Exchange) at Sawgrass?

Yes, we paid out on First Round Leader bets for both the Sportsbook and the Exchange.

Q: What happens to all other bets struck on the Players Championship?

All other bets (excluding bets that were related to Round 1 of the tournament) were voided.

Q: What happens to ante-post Masters bets on the Sportsbook? People may have backed people on the basis of current form which now won't apply. Is there an option to void them?

For now, bets will stand on The Masters. The tournament has been postponed and not cancelled.

Q: Same question for the other majors, what will happen to ante-post bets? Can punters void them until a clearer picture emerges about when golf returns?

At present, the three remaining majors all on course to be played at the outlined dates. This is an ever-changing landscape with COVID-19, so we are unsure if these three other majors will have to be postponed also.

What about season-long bets such as the Race to Dubai. Is there, say, a minimum amount of events that need to be played for these to still count?

Settlement of the Race To Dubai, PGA Tour Money List and Fedex Cup are still as they were at the beginning of the season. For now, the golfing season has been postponed for one month. If this is to change, then of course we will re-visit these markets when that time comes.

US Masters 2020: US Masters 2020 (Winner)

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