The outlook for fans attending a major men’s golf championship this year grew bleaker on Wednesday when officials for the 2020 United States Open announced the event in Westchester County, N.Y., would be conducted without spectators.
Next week’s P.G.A. Championship, in San Francisco, the first golf major championship this year, had already barred fans from attending. That leaves the Masters, in November, in Augusta, Ga., as the only men’s major yet to prohibit spectators.
Leaders at the Augusta National Golf Club, which runs the Masters, have not publicly commented on their decision-making regarding fans. In April, this year’s British Open, scheduled for July, was canceled.
The PGA Tour scrapped plans to have spectators at an Ohio tournament this month and has said it will not host fans at its remaining events this season. On the L.P.G.A. Tour, which is resuming this week after a lengthy layoff caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the first five events will be absent of fans. The men’s and women’s tours have not made final decisions about admitting spectators for tournaments late in the year, which is actually the beginning of next season. The European Tour has also returned to competition, albeit without spectators. The Women’s British Open, which will be the first women’s major this year, will be held without fans in Scotland from Aug. 20 to 23.
The United States Golf Association, which conducts the U.S. Open, made its announcement on Wednesday in conjunction with Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York.
“Following months of consultation and scenario planning with local and state health officials, we have jointly decided that hosting the U.S. Open without spectators will provide the best opportunity to conduct the championship safely for all involved,” Mike Davis, the U.S.G.A. chief executive, said in a statement. “We will miss the excitement of the fans and what their presence brings to the championship. We look forward to welcoming them again to future U.S. Opens.”
Cuomo said, “While the tournament will look different this year with no fans and enhanced safety protocols, this event is a welcome sight for sports fans across the country and will help restore a sense of normalcy as we build back better than before.”
The U.S. Open was originally scheduled for mid-June, but was pushed back to Sept. 17 to 20 in April. The U.S.G.A. considered moving the championship to a course outside the Northeast, although the preference was to keep the tournament at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., a traditional choice. It last hosted the event in 2006.
But even as the U.S.G.A. canceled the vast system of qualifying tournaments for the U.S. Open, the organization remained hopeful it could have at least a limited number of fans at Winged Foot during the championship.
“We are thankful to all of the local and state officials as well as the members and staff at Winged Foot Golf Club who worked so hard to try to help us accomplish our goal of hosting fans this year,” Davis said, adding, “While we are disappointed, we know it was the right decision to make for the community and for the players.”
The Ryder Cup, the biennial international competition which was to be held in Wisconsin in late September, has also been rescheduled for 2021. The U.S. Women’s Open was likewise postponed until Dec. 10 to 13 in Houston, as were two other women’s majors: The ANA Inspiration, usually the first women’s major of the year, will now be played in Rancho Mirage, Calif., from Sept. 10 to 13; and the Women’s P.G.A. Championship was rescheduled for Oct. 8 to 11 in Newtown Square, Pa.