The PGA Tour has cancelled The Players Championship and all events through the Texas Open in early April due to coronavirus fears.

The Players Championship, Valspar Championship, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship and Texas Open have been cancelled, the organisation said in a statement.

It comes after it announced earlier on Thursday it planned to play those tournaments behind closed doors.

"It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation of The Players Championship," a statement read.

"We have also decided to cancel all PGA Tour events – across all of our Tours – in the coming weeks, through the Valero Texas Open.

"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 endeavouring 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."

It means the next tournament on the PGA Tour schedule is the Masters, due to start on April 9.

There have been more than 134,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide, with 4,973 deaths.

The United States has had 1,725 cases and 41 deaths.

Hideki Matsuyama tied a course record to take a two-stroke lead as the opening round of The Players Championship was suspended due to darkness on Thursday.

Matsuyama fired a nine-under 63 to tie the course record at TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The Japanese star mixed an eagle with eight birdies and a bogey during a brilliant opening at the PGA Tour event.

Starting on the back nine, Matsuyama made four straight birdies before dropping a shot at 16, only for another four birdies to follow before an eagle at the par-five ninth.

Of the previous four players to shoot a first-round 63 at the tournament, three have gone on to win – Greg Norman (1994), Martin Kaymer (2014) and Jason Day (2016) – according to the PGA Tour.

Harris English, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and 2017 champion Kim Si-woo are tied for second after firing seven-under 65s.

Marc Leishman, coming off a runner-up finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, is tied for fifth at five under alongside Patrick Cantlay.

There are 15 players tied for seventh at four under, with Webb Simpson, Graeme McDowell and Viktor Hovland among them.

Only four players were unable to complete their rounds, with Bronson Burgoon (one under through 17) the best placed of that group.

Defending champion Rory McIlroy was unable to get going in the opening round, finishing with an even-par 72, while Jordan Spieth battled to a 75 and Rickie Fowler carded a four-over 76.

Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka both opened with 70s, while Justin Thomas managed a 71.

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour announced on Thursday the rest of The Players Championship and several other upcoming tournaments will be held without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Golf's PGA Tour will continue to stage tournaments over the next month, but without spectators due to the spread of coronavirus.

Tour commissioner Jay Monahan confirmed the measure would be effective from day two of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass on Friday and run until the end of the Texas Open on April 5.

Citing the recent travel advisories issued by United States government, Monahan also announced the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in Mexico – scheduled for March 26-29 – would be postponed.

"It goes without saying that this is an incredibly fluid and dynamic situation," said Monahan, who discussed the matter with US president Donald Trump on Thursday.

"We have been and are committed to being responsible, thoughtful and transparent with our decision process."

Pan Cheng-tsung withdrew from the Players Championship over his concerns surrounding the coronavirus and later issued a statement to explain his position.

"I chose to withdraw from the Players Championship because my wife and I want to protect ourselves from the risk of exposure to the coronavirus," he wrote on social media.

"We are fine and our families are fine. Our lifestyle is like a circus, travelling from one place to another.

"We believe this is a time to exercise caution by not playing this week."

The PGA Tour's announcement makes it the latest governing body to adjust its US schedule in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Basketball's NBA and ice hockey's NHL have postponed games indefinitely, as has football's MLS, while the tennis ATP Tour has cancelled tournaments for the next six weeks.

After the NCAA announced no fans would be permitted at March Madness on Wednesday, the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-12, American, Atlantic 10, C-USA, MAC, America East, Big East, Big Sky and WAC announced their conference tournaments had been cancelled.

The coronavirus pandemic continued to lead to widescale disruption in the world of sport on Thursday.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in the ATP Tour being suspended for six weeks, while the PGA Tour will be played behind closed doors until April 5.

Football in Spain, the Netherlands, the United States and Portugal has been put on hiatus, while Champions League games between Manchester City and Real Madrid, and Juventus and Lyon have been postponed.

A second Serie A player has been confirmed to have contracted coronavirus, while the Utah Jazz announced a second positive test for COVID-19. Donovan Mitchell confirmed he was the latest individual with the infection, while Rudy Gobert is reported to be the other.

We look at the biggest events to have been impacted by the proliferation of the virus.

 

A six-week suspension was implemented by the ATP Tour, which it said came in the wake of the World Health Organization declaring the spread of COVID-19 constituted a pandemic and 30-day travel restrictions imposed by the United States.

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: "This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide. However, we believe this is the responsible action needed at this time in order to protect the health and safety of our players, staff, the wider tennis community and general public health in the face of this global pandemic."

The WTA Tour was yet to follow suit, but the Miami Open has been scratched from its schedule after a state of emergency was declared in Miami-Dade County.

Following the news that LaLiga had suspended its next two matchdays and Real Madrid had established a self-imposed quarantine in the wake of one of their basketball players testing positive for COVID-19, Los Blancos' Champions League last-16 second leg against Manchester City on Tuesday was postponed.

The meeting between Juventus and Lyon has also been pushed back after Daniele Rugani was confirmed to have contracted coronavirus and the Serie A champions implemented isolation procedures.

UEFA will hold a videoconference with European football stakeholders on Tuesday to discuss the response to the outbreak. The talks will include all domestic and European competitions, including Euro 2020.

Bosnia-Herzegovina has requested its Euro 2020 play-off against Northern Ireland on March 26 be postponed, while Denmark expects its friendly against England five days later to be cancelled.

One game that has been cancelled is Wales' friendly against the United States on March 30.

Sampdoria announced Manolo Gabbiadini was the second professional Serie A player to test positive. The club said he had "a slight fever, but is otherwise fine". On Sunday Gabbiadini played 61 minutes against Hellas Verona, who also activated isolation procedures as a result.

Hannover confirmed a second case of coronavirus in their squad, with Jannes Horn following Timo Hubers in testing positive. All players from the German team will be under home quarantine for the next 14 days, with the club asking for their upcoming 2.Bundesliga games against Dynamo Dresden and Osnabruck to be called off.

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers revealed three of his players have shown symptoms of coronavirus and have been isolated from their team-mates. Stats Perform understands all players put into isolation have only displayed mild symptoms, meaning they have not met the threshold to be tested for the virus.

In the Netherlands, all football has been cancelled until March 31. This includes amateur and professional games, as well as the national team's fixtures against the USA and Spain.

Portugal's Primeira Liga and the CONCACAF Champions League have been postponed for an indefinite period, while MLS has been suspended for the next 30 days.

Elsewhere in the USA, the NHL season has been paused. Comissioner Gary Bettman said: "Following last night's news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus - and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point - it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time."

The PGA Tour will continue as scheduled, though fans will be barred from attending events starting from Friday at the Players Championship until the Texas Open, which finishes on April 5.

However, the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship has been cancelled due to potential logistical issues associated with players and staff travelling internationally.

The Washington Wizards have imposed self-isolation on players, coaches and basketball operations personnel for three to four days. The Wizards played the Jazz – who have confirmed two cases of coronavirus among their roster – on February 29 and the New York Knicks on March 10. The Knicks had a game with Utah six days before the Wizards did.

The Jazz's second positive test came after their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday was called off. Mitchell said on Instagram: "Thanks to everyone who has been reaching out since hearing the news about my positive test. We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realise that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them."

After the NCAA announced no fans would be permitted at March Madness, the American, Atlantic 10, C-USA, MAC, America East, Big East, Big Sky and WAC announced their conference tournaments had been cancelled.

The Washington Redskins became the first NFL team to announce a change in protocol in relation to the coronavirus. Redskins owner Dan Snyder said: "Due to health and travel concerns surrounding COVID-19, Redskins have informed all coaches and scouts to suspend all travel until further notice."

Promoters Top Rank have confirmed their upcoming boxing shows at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden will go ahead behind closed doors.

Shakur Stevenson is scheduled to defend his WBO featherweight world title against Miguel Marriaga in the main event on Friday's card in New York, while Michael Conlan headlines next Tuesday when he takes on Belmar Preciado in a 10-round contest.

The remaining two ODIs between India and South Africa will also be played behind closed doors, the International Cricket Council announced. There will also be no fans at Pakistan Super League games in Karachi.

In rugby union, the Pro14 has been indefinitely suspended. A statement said: "Resumption of the 2019-20 season will now become a matter of constant review. To this point Pro14 Rugby has ensured that it has the latest information and guidance made available by the local and national authorities via our participating unions in the UK, Ireland, Italy and South Africa."

However, the quarter-finals in the European Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup remain set to go ahead as planned.

The next two NASCAR events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway over the next two weekends will be undertaken behind closed doors.

Tyrrell Hatton held his nerve to close out a maiden PGA Tour triumph at the Arnold Palmer Invitational by a single stroke.

Englishman Hatton went into Sunday with a two-shot lead but was taken to the wire by Marc Leishman amid unforgiving conditions at Bay Hill, where there was only one round in the 60s over the course of the weekend.

Rory McIlroy was one of the stars to suffer, as a run of five over in the space of five holes effectively ended his challenge before finishing tied for fifth with a four-over 76.

Hatton opened with a bogey but reached the turn three ahead thanks to back-to-back birdies.

He found water at 11, where a double bogey put his bid for glory back in the balance and he headed to the last one ahead of Australia's Leishman.

It was an advantage the 28-year-old managed to retain, carding 74 to finish four under for the tournament.

"It's hard to explain. It's just an incredible feeling," Hatton told the Golf Channel after his win.

"It was such a tough day today, actually felt like I was kind of playing myself out of it a little bit when I made double on 11. When I saw the scoreboard on I think it was the 14th green I realised I had I think it was a one- or two-shot lead at the time and I was a little bit surprised.

"But to hold on and win here at such an iconic venue, I'm just over the moon."

South Korea's Im Sung-jae finished third at two under, with Bryson DeChambeau fourth on one under overall.

Tyrrell Hatton opened up a two-stroke lead after the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational as players struggled in difficult conditions on Saturday.

The Englishman is on track for his first PGA Tour win, sitting at six under despite his one-over 73.

Hatton is two shots clear of Marc Leishman (72) and Rory McIlroy (73) after a tough third round at Bay Hill.

Having held a share of the overnight lead, Hatton mixed four birdies with three bogeys and a double bogey, but it was enough to sit top of the leaderboard.

Leishman and McIlroy were solid, making 14 and 15 pars respectively during their rounds, and are in contention.

Such were the challenging conditions, Max Homa was the only player to shoot a round under par with his 70, although he is back in a tie for 16th at one over.

South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout (73), South Korean Im Sung-jae (74), New Zealander Danny Lee (75) and American Harris English (74) are tied for fourth at three under.

Sung Kang, who shared the overnight lead with Hatton, battled to a six-over 78 that left him outright eighth at one under.

The South Korean was even through 10 before producing two triple bogeys – at 11 and 18 – including finding the water twice at the former.

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka carded a nine-over 81 that included eight bogeys and a double as he dropped to a tie for 64th at 10 over.

Tyrrell Hatton and Sung Kang hit the front at the Arnold Palmer Invitational as overnight leader Matt Every endured a horror second round and missed the cut.

With Every carding an 11-over-par 83, Hatton and Kang and pounced by moving onto seven under for the tournament at Bay Hill, while world number one Rory McIlroy was two shots off the pace in a tie for fourth.

After an opening seven-under 65, two-time champion Every had four double bogeys on Friday and became the first outright leader to miss the cut at a PGA Tour event since Camilo Vegas at the Honda Classic in 2013.

Every's display included doubles at the fourth, 10th, 11th and 18th, with a three putt from inside 18 feet at the last compounding his wretched day.

Hatton, who teed off from the 10th, registered a second bogey of the day on the third but responded by sinking an 18-foot putt on the par-five fourth and posting another gain on his penultimate hole.

Kang, meanwhile, picked up strokes on the 12th and 13th before a birdie-par-birdie finish earned him a share of pole position.

McIlroy slipped to three over for the day when he got stuck in the rough on the eighth and carded a double bogey, but he holed a putt from 20 feet on the 17th and signed for a 73.

The four-time major champion is level with Harris English (70) and Im Sung-jae (69) on five under for the tournament.

Marc Leishman (69) and Patrick Reed (70) are one shot further back, while former world number one Jason Day withdrew due to a back injury and Emiliano Grillo was disqualified after an eight-over 80.

Danny Lee produced the best round of the day, sealing a five-under 67 and third position with a wonderful birdie from the rough on 18.

Tiger Woods faces a race against time to be fit for his Masters title defence after opting out of next week's Players Championship.

The 15-time major winner has not played on the PGA Tour since he finished a lowly 68th - last of all players who made the cut - at the Genesis Open three weeks ago.

He elected to skip the WGC-Mexico Championship and this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, due to a stiff back.

And the back remains an issue for 44-year-old Woods, who will be determined to line up for the year's first major at Augusta, with the Masters getting under way on April 9.

The Players Championship, which runs from March 12-15 at Sawgrass, has come too soon, however.

His agent, Mark Steinberg, told ESPN: "Back just not ready. Not concerning long term, just not ready."

Woods has gone through four back operations to sustain one of sport's great careers, the procedures allowing him last year to end an 11-year title drought at the majors with a stunning victory.

A subsequent success at the Zozo Championship in October took Woods to 82 wins on the PGA Tour, tying Sam Snead for the all-time record.

Matt Every had four double bogeys in an 83 as the first-round leader of the Arnold Palmer Invitational saw his hopes of a third title at the event crumble to dust.

After an opening seven-under 65 put him one shot ahead of Rory McIlroy, Every's game fell apart in the second round at Bay Hill on Friday and he looked sure to miss the halfway cut.

His 11-over display included doubles at the fourth, 10th, 11th and 18th, a three putt from inside 18 feet at the last compounding his wretched day.

Every was repeatedly wayward and found water with his second shot at the par-four 11th on his way to a six.

American Every, 36, had overcome high winds on Thursday as one of the late starters, looking in good shape to mount a challenge at the tournament he won for the first time in 2014 and successfully defended a year later.

Thursday's performance defied recent form, given Every missed the cut at the Honda Classic a week ago after a second-round 85.

More Friday frustration left Every two shots outside the expected cut line as play continued, with England's Tyrrell Hatton nudging one shot clear of the field after 13 holes of his round, two under for the day and six under overall.

World number one McIlroy, champion in 2018, was battling to avoid a high score after a double-bogey six at the eighth, but he responded with a birdie to sit two back from Hatton.

Former rankings leader Jason Day withdrew from the tournament early in his second round, abandoning on the fifth hole due to a back injury.

Matt Every carded a blemish-free 65 to lead by one shot from fellow former champion Rory McIlroy after the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

American Every overcame high winds as one of the late starters to record seven birdies on a Bay Hill course he knows well, having triumphed at the tournament in 2014 before defending his title the following year.

His performance was even more impressive considering he missed the cut at the Honda Classic a week ago after an 85 on the Friday.

The 36-year-old edged clear at the top of the leaderboard with a three at his penultimate hole after McIlroy - winner in 2018 - had overcome a sluggish start to set the clubhouse target.

Starting on the back nine, world number one McIlroy found water as he bogeyed his second hole but managed to still be under par at the turn thanks to a pair of birdies.

McIlroy then produced some blistering golf on his way back in, including an eagle at the fourth where he overcame finding a fairway bunker off the tee with a stunning shot out of the sand.

"I made a couple of unforced errors starting off. I hit it in the water at 11 and actually made a good bogey in the end, and then missed a little one on 12," McIlroy told Sky Sports.

"I think with the start, then turning in under par with the birdie at 16 and 18, I had a bit of a pep in my step going to the first tee. I played some great golf after that.

"I got a bit of a momentum and kept it going until the end."

Talor Gooch and Scottie Scheffler sat tied on five under, a shot ahead of a six-man group that included Graeme McDowell, who was victorious at the Saudi International last month.

Patrick Reed posted a two-under 70 and Brooks Koepka signed for an even-par 72, while defending champion Francesco Molinari pulled out before starting his round due to a back injury.

Defending champion Francesco Molinari has been forced to pull out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational due to a back injury.

The Italian carded a spectacular final round of 64 to come from five shots back and win the tournament last year, finishing two clear of Matt Fitzpatrick.

However, Molinari will not be in action this week after withdrawing ahead of his opening round on Thursday - he had been due to tee off in the morning alongside 2018 Ryder Cup team-mates Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.

The 37-year-old has not won a tournament on either the European Tour or PGA Tour since his triumph at Bay Hill 12 months ago, admitting ahead of his title defence this week that the season so far had not gone to plan.

"I'm a little bit behind where I was planning to be at this time," Molinari told the media. "The start of the season has not been as good as I hoped for, but it's only the start.

"There's been a few physical things and technical things, but I'm working through it.

"I think I've got some good planning for the next few weeks building up to Augusta and some good direction to work towards."

Lee Kyoung-hoon has taken Molinari's place in a 120-man field that also includes Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott and Patrick Reed.

Tiger Woods is among the 10 finalists put forward for the 2021 World Golf Hall of Fame.

All-time great Woods is one of four male candidates, with three-time major Padraig Harrington also nominated alongside American duo Johnny Farrell and Tom Weiskopf.

Woods won his 15th major title at last year's Masters, which ended an 11-year drought to win one of golf's big four.

Susie Maxwell Berning, Beverly Hanson, Sandra Palmer and Dottie Pepper are the female candidates put forward, while Tim Finchem and Marion Hollins complete the 10 in the contributor section.

A player or contributor requires 75 per cent approval of the selection committee to make the Hall of Fame.

The age of eligibility was lowered from 50 to 45, meaning Woods qualifies in December.

"The nominating committee has selected 10 finalists who represent the highest caliber of golfers and contributors," said Greg McLaughlin, CEO of World Golf Foundation. 

"The recent enhancements to the World Golf Hall of Fame Induction criteria provide a great process to ensure the most worthy of candidates are being considered. 

"We are grateful to the nominating committee for their work and anticipate the class of 2021 being one of our strongest to date."

Former world number one Dustin Johnson will skip the Tokyo Olympics to focus on the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Golf at the Olympic Games in Tokyo will get underway at Kasumigaseki Country Club on July 30, but 2016 U.S. Open champion Johnson will not be there.

The FedEx Cup Playoffs begin on August 13 – 11 days after the golf event at the Olympics ends – while Johnson is set to feature at the Open Championship (July 16) prior to the Tokyo Games.

"Dustin gave the Olympics a great deal of thought and we discussed the pros and cons of him participating at length," Johnson's manager David Winkle told Golfweek.

"At the end of the day, it's a matter of personal preference and priority. As much as he would be honoured to be an Olympian, the FedEx Cup Playoffs are also very important to him.

"Having had a few close calls in the Playoffs, he really wants to win them before his time is done and feels that he wouldn't be giving himself the best opportunity to do so if he added a lengthy international trip just prior to their beginning [and shortly after returning from two weeks in Europe]."

Johnson, who was part of the United States' Presidents Cup triumph in December – has two top-10 finishes this year via the Tournament of Champions (T7) and the Genesis Invitational (T10).

The world number five was tied for 48th at the WGC-Mexico Championship in his last event.

Im Sung-jae claimed his maiden PGA Tour title after winning the Honda Classic by one stroke.

A four-under-par 66 saw Im make his breakthrough, with the South Korean golfer finishing ahead of Mackenzie Hughes on Sunday.

Im won three trophies across the Web.com and Korean Tours, while he lost a play-off to Sebastian Munoz at the PGA Tour's Sanderson Farms Championship last year.

But Im – involved in December's Presidents Cup in Melbourne – ended his wait after reigning supreme at PGA National Golf Club.

The 21-year-old had seven birdies and three bogeys as he rose four positions to six under overall in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Canadian Hughes also surged up the leaderboard to earn the runner-up cheque following a final-round 66, ahead of England's Tommy Fleetwood.

Fleetwood – the overnight leader – needed a birdie to force a play-off but his approach landed in the water, resulting in a bogey to finish solo third at four under.

Byeong Hun An (67), Daniel Berger (69), Lee Westwood (70) and Brendan Steele (71) finished tied for fourth and three shots off the pace.

Tommy Fleetwood will take a one-stroke lead into the Honda Classic final round as he eyes his first PGA Tour victory.

The Englishman carded a three-under 67 at PGA National on Saturday to get to five under as players struggled in the wind in Florida.

Fleetwood's round was one of just 11 under par in the third round, with Mackenzie Hughes' 66 the best.

A five-time winner on the European Tour, Fleetwood is yet to taste victory on the PGA Tour, but holds a one-shot lead over Brendan Steele (71).

Fleetwood was just one under through nine before mixing four birdies with two bogeys on the back nine.

Englishmen Luke Donald (71) and Lee Westwood (71) are tied for third at three under.

The top of the leaderboard remains congested, with Daniel Berger (69), Charl Schwartzel (70) and Im Sung-jae (70) tied for fifth at two under.

The other players under par heading into the final round are Hughes, Rory Sabbatini (69), Mark Hubbard (69), Robby Shelton (70), Russell Henley (70) and J.T. Poston (73), who are tied for eighth.

Grayson Murray, who is at one over, produced one of the moments of the day, celebrating wildly with the fans after a hole-in-one at the 17th.

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