Over a whirlwind 48-hour span, the entire sports world came to a halt. Over the course of a few nerve wracking days, a domino effect went into full effect.
What started with the NBA suspending its season quickly turned into the NHL following suit, MLB suspending all operations in the middle of spring training and every collegiate sport coming to a screeching halt.
Lifelong sports fans were in a sort of state of shock as each news update brought about worse news and more cancelations. By the time Friday, March 13 rolled around, the gravity of the situation still hadn’t quite set in, with plenty of rumors circulating about how quickly everything could get back on track.
And then it happened.
The Masters — a shining jewel in American sports and one of the most fiercely protected events and brands in the world — put its annual tournament on hold.
Calendars, warmer weather and the beginning of baseball aside, anyone with roots to the south knows that the true arrival of spring comes during four magical days in April when the world’s best golfers descend upon Augusta National Golf Club. Possibly the most mythicized and celebrated tournament in all of sports is played amongst the backdrop of an impossibly green and vibrant course.
It has always been a hint to the sports world that it is safe to come outside and play for the spring and summer months.
But just like everything else, the Masters will also be empty.
If there’s one bit of silver lining, it’s that the official scoreboard for the Masters reads ‘postponed’ where so many other events are canceled outright. Communications from Augusta National have stressed that efforts will be made to hold the tournament at some point. There have also been rumors floating out of Augusta that the club might be aiming for a Masters held in the fall as the course usually shuts down during the summer months.
For as much as the stoppage of other sports stung, the postponement of the Masters may have been the signal to the sports world that the response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic isn’t an overreaction, but rather a very urgent and necessary step to protect the masses.
No golf at Augusta in April is like the constant halts to trading on stock exchange floors. It’s the near total halt of international travel. It’s the empty shelves in stores and longtime local businesses that are now shuttered.
It’s a punch in the gut, is what it is. But hopefully a measure that will work out once the world catches its breath.
This is already guaranteed to be a sports year unlike any other. Here’s hoping that we still get our tradition unlike any other.