AS one scribe of yore at The Masters said: “Augusta is the closest thing to heaven for a golfer – and it’s just about as hard to get into.”

Folk were probably thinking the coronavirus itself would get turned away at the gates of Magnolia Lane but, like everything else, golf’s cherished rite of spring has fallen victim to the pandemic.

April just won’t be the same. There’s not even a Scottish Boys’ Championship to look forward to.

After The Players Championship at Sawgrass was cancelled at the conclusion of the first round, and the women’s first Major, the ANA Inspiration, was postponed, The Masters inevitably fell by the wayside.

It is the first time the tournament, formed in 1934, has been halted since the Second World War. The Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship has also been put on hold.

“We hope this puts us in the best position to safely host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date,” said Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National.

“Ultimately, the health and well-being of everyone associated with these events and the citizens of the Augusta community led us to this decision.”

The next scheduled event on the PGA Tour is the RBC Clubs fear difficult times are coming GOLF Sport/Saturday, March 14, 2020 13 Heritage on April 16 with the European Tour not having anything until the end of that month.

Even then, though, there are no guarantees of a resumption. Mike Whan, the LPGA Tour’s leader, underlined the sense of unease as he halted play on the women’s circuit for the foreseeable future.

“This is a decision I may not like, but I don’t think I’ll ever regret,” he said of the current tumult. “I just wasn’t willing to live with being wrong."