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Coronavirus: Masters postponed indefinitely; Boston Marathon put off

The 2020 Boston Marathon had been scheduled for April 20, but has been moved to Sept. 14. File Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI
The 2020 Boston Marathon had been scheduled for April 20, but has been moved to Sept. 14. File Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

March 13 (UPI) -- The 2020 Masters Tournament -- one of golf's four major championship events -- was postponed indefinitely Friday due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"Unfortunately, the ever-increasing risks associated with the widespread Coronavirus COVID-19 have led us to a decision that undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although I am confident is appropriate under these unique circumstances," Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley said in a news release.

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The decision comes a day after the PGA Tour canceled the 2020 Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The PGA Tour also canceled all events through the March 30-to-April 5 Valero Texas Open.

Friday's announcement also includes postponement of the August National Women's Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals.

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Ridley said the Augusta club will continue to work with the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Office of the Governor, the Georgia Department of Public Health, the city of Augusta and all other local authorities. Updates will be posted at Masters.com.

The Masters was the first major championship on the 2019-2020 PGA Tour schedule. The annual tournament was set to take place April 9 to 12 in Augusta, Ga. The 2020 PGA Championship is the second major championship on the schedule, starting May 14 in San Francisco.

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Boston Marathon postponed

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The Boston Marathon has been postponed until September as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The 124th edition of the race was originally scheduled for April 20, but now is to be held Sept. 14.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced the postponement at a news conference. The annual event draws more than 30,000 runners from all over the world.

"Our expectation and the hope right now is that this date will get us to a safer place in relation to the spread of the coronavirus," Walsh said.

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Walsh also urged runners not to run the course of the marathon on April 20.

NASCAR postpones two races

NASCAR postponed two races Friday, including the Cup Series' Fold of Honor QuikTrip 500 and the Dixie Vodka 400. The move came after NASCAR announced Thursday that it would not be allowing fans to attend races for the foreseeable future.

The Fold of Honor QuikTrip 500 was scheduled for 2 p.m. EDT Sunday at Atlanta Motore Speedway. The Dixie Vodka 400 was planned for 2 p.m. EDT March 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"We believe this decision is in the best interest of the safety and well-being of our fans, competitors, officials and everyone associated with our sport," NASCAR said in a statement. "We will continue to monitor this dynamic situation as we assess future race events."

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Premier League suspended

The Premier League -- the world's most-popular sports league -- suspended soccer games on Friday until at least April 3 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Premier League officials held an emergency meeting with all 20 teams Friday morning in London to discuss the league's schedule. The news follows the positive COVID-19 diagnosis of Arsenal manager Mike Arteta and Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi's on Thursday.

Several other players in the league are self-isolating after showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

"Above all, we wish Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi speedy recoveries, and everyone else affected by COVID-19," Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said in a statement.

"In this unprecedented situation, we are working closely with our clubs, government, the Football Association and English Football League and can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority."

Liverpool is in first place in the Premier League standings. The Reds are on a record-setting pace, with 27 wins, one draw and one loss.

"Liverpool Football Club continues to implement the government's advice on the coronavirus outbreak and welcomes today's Premier League statement to postpone all games, including Premier League, FA Cup, academy and Women's Super League fixtures in the best interests of players, staff and supporters," Liverpool said.

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The Premier League is the latest high-profile soccer league to have a stoppage due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Champions League, Europa League, La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A and Major League Soccer have also stopped play. Germany's Bundesliga announced it will allow games to be played this weekend before suspended play from Tuesday until April 2. The weekend games will be played with no fans in attendance.

Hannover 96 -- a team in Bundesliga's second division -- has had at least two players test positive for coronavirus this week.

Summer Olympics still on in Tokyo

The Olympic torch for the 2020 Summer Games was lit in front of the ruins of the Temple of Hera in ancient Olympia, Greece, the original site of the Olympic Games. Spectators were not allowed to attend the ceremony for the first time in more than 35 years due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Tokyo 2020 is to begin July 24. The International Olympic Committee released a statement Thursday that read: "We remain absolutely in line with our Japanese hosts in our commitment to delivering safe Olympic Games in July this year."

"At the same time, the world is facing challenges that are also impacting sport," the committee said. "But with 19 weeks before the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the many measures being taken now by authorities all around the world give us confidence and keep us fully committed to delivering Olympic Games that can bring the world together in peace."

The committee said it is in close contact with the World Health Organization, the host city of Tokyo, the Japanese government and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee through its joint task force. The task force was set up in February. The committee also said it will continue to follow the advice of the World Health Organization.

NFL cancels annual meeting

The NFL plans to keep its schedule intact and open the new league year Wednesday, but did cancel its annual league meeting.

The league announced the cancellation Thursday. The meeting was planned for March 29 to April 1 in Palm Beach, Fla. Team owners meet during the sessions and discuss rule changes and other football matters. Several NFL teams also have closed their facilities and suspended travel for team personnel in response to the outbreak.

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"NFL commissioner Roger Goodell notified the clubs today that after careful consideration and consultation with medical experts, the NFL's annual meeting scheduled for March 29 to April 1 has been canceled," the NFL said in a statement.

"There will be full consideration and votes on any open football issues, including playing rules, bylaws, and resolutions, as well as other business matters that were on the agenda for the annual meeting, at the spring meeting scheduled for May 19 and May 20.

"Most of the first day will be dedicated to football-related issues. Head coaches and general managers will participate in the meeting."

The NFL also canceled the HBCU Combine and the Regional Combine Invitational. The event was scheduled for March 27 to 29 at the Miami Dolphins' training facility in Davie, Fla.

XFL cancels season

The revived XFL -- a professional football league that relaunched in January -- canceled its season Thursday in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The league originally started in 2001, but lasted one season. The 2020 season was entering its sixth week, with four weeks and the post-season remaining on the schedule.

"Currently, the XFL will not be playing its regular-season games," the XFL said in a statement. "However, all players will be paid their base pay and benefits for the 2020 regular season. All XFL ticket holders will be issued refunds or credit toward future games. The XFL is committed to playing a full season in 2021 and future years."

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No fans at horse races

Fans will not be able to attend most major horse races in the United States for the foreseeable future. Several major tracks announced fan bans Thursday, including Aqueduct Racetrack in New York City; Laurel Park in Laurel, Md.; Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.; Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif; and Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.

The Dubai World Cup meeting will be held without fans March 28 in Dubai.

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