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PGA Tour cancels 2020 Players Championship due to coronavirus outbreak

Hideki Matsuyama made an eagle on his final hole of the first round at the 2020 Players Championship Thursday in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/995a4066a84ca53a2243b8dfb55dd0a6/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Hideki Matsuyama made an eagle on his final hole of the first round at the 2020 Players Championship Thursday in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

March 12 (UPI) -- After one round of play, the PGA Tour canceled the 2020 Players Championship and all other tournaments across the next three weeks because of concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

"It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation of The Players Championship," the PGA Tour said in a statement Thursday night. "We have also decided to cancel all PGA Tour events -- across all of our Tours -- in the coming weeks, through the Valero Texas Open.

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"We have pledged from the start to be responsible, thoughtful and transparent with our decision process. We did everything possible to create a safe environment for our players in order to continue the event throughout the weekend, and we were endeavoring to give our fans a much-needed respite from the current climate.

"But at this point -- and as the situation continues to rapidly change -- the right thing to do for our players and our fans is to pause."

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According to the statement, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan will answer additional questions at 8 a.m. EDT Friday.

Before the cancellation of the tournament, Japan's Hideki Matsuyama tied a course record by shooting a 9-under par 63 in the first round of the 2020 Players Championship on Thursday in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Matsuyama led the field by two strokes when he headed to the clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass. Harris English, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Si Woo Kim each finished 7-under par for a share of second place.

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The No. 21 golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking began the day by making four consecutive birdies on the back-9. Matsuyama carded par scores on four of his final five holes for a score of 3-under par through nine holes.

Matsuyama then made par on three of his first four holes on the front-9. He carded a birdie on No. 2 before making three straight birdies on Nos. 5, 6 and 7. Matsuyama made par on No. 8 before making an eagle on his 18th hole of the day, tying the course record.

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Matsuyama has five career PGA Tour victories. He tied for eighth at the 2019 Players Championship. He won three times during the 2017 PGA Tour, capturing titles at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and Waste Management Phoenix Open.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who won the 2019 Players Championship, was 2-over par through 11 holes in Thursday's first round before ending with an even 72. World No. 2 Jon Rahm was 3-under par and tied for 22nd. No. 3 Brooks Koepka finished 2-under par and tied for 37th.

Monahan previously announced that fans will not be allowed to attend tour events, starting Friday at the Players Championship and continuing through the Valero Texas Open. The Valero Texas Open is from March 30 to April 5 in San Antonio.

The three canceled events after the Players Championship are the Valspar Championship, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and the Valero Texas Open. The PGA Tour previously canceled the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship.

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