Masters postponed as virus cancellations mount…NASCAR and IndyCar races still on, minus spectators

UNDATED (AP) — The annual rite of spring for golf won’t happen this year. Augusta National has decided to postpone the Masters because of the spread of the coronavirus. That means there will be no golf at least for the next month. The PGA has already canceled the remainder of The Players Championship and the three tournaments leading up to The Masters. The Masters began in 1934 and only World War II has kept it from being played. This was the biggest shoe to drop for golf. The PGA Tour already canceled the next three events leading up to the Masters.

UNDATED (AP) — The world’s sports schedule is cratering at warp speed due to coronavirus. College sports officials called off the NCAA basketball tournament, making it the biggest event to be canceled since the virus started spreading. Leaders in the NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, tennis and soccer also canceled or postponed events. All decided the risk of playing games with the threat of the virus hanging over them was too great.

UNDATED (AP) — IndyCar and NASCAR are still planning to race this weekend, but without spectators. IndyCar is scheduled to open its season Sunday on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. Only essential personnel will be permitted to attend, and competitors will have to undergo a questionnaire for health screening before entry. Today’s practice sessions and other events have been canceled. NASCAR will race this week at Atlanta and next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway under similar restrictions.

UNDATED (AP) — The first four races of the Formula One season have been called off because of the virus. Organizers canceled the season-opening Australian Grand Prix just hours ahead of the first official practice sessions, after McLaren withdrew because one of its team members tested positive for the virus. Now the Bahrain and Vietnam Grand Prix races have also been postponed. The China Grand Prix was postponed previously. No new dates have been set for the races but governing body FIA says it expects to begin the F1 season in May when it reaches Europe with the Dutch GP.

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Greek Olympic committee has suspended the rest of its torch relay because of the “unexpectedly large crowd” that gathered to watch despite repeated requests for the public to stay away to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The committee said a large crowd had gathered to watch the flame for the Tokyo Olympics pass through the southern Greek town of Sparta. The flame was lit yesterday at the birthplace of the games in Ancient Olympia in a pared-down ceremony.

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