Rory would be happy if Masters moves to October and after Ryder Cup

Rory McIlroy is backing suggestions the 2020 Masters could move from April to October because of the coronavirus
Rory McIlory is backing suggestions the Masters should move from April to October in 2020

WORLD No. 1 Rory McIlroy is one of the players who want the Masters to be played in October.

That could see the Augusta National Golf Club host the Masters for the first time in the autumn in its 87-year history.

And it could see the players head down Magnolia Lane after Europe try to win the Ryder Cup on US soil for only the third time in 20 years – the last was the Miracle of Medinah in 2012.

McIlroy, who needs a Green Jacket to complete a career Grand Slam in the Majors, said in an Instagram Q&A with Sky Sports Jamie Redknapp: “Augusta play their cards close to their chest.

“They don’t let much out of the bag. I hope they play it in October time which is the rumour. I think it would be great.

Rory McIlroy spoke to Sky Sports Jamie Redknapp on Instagram about how he has been killing time during the coronavirus crisis
Rory McIlroy spoke to Sky Sports Jamie Redknapp on Instagram about how he has been killing time during the coronavirus crisis

“‘Potentially you’re looking at four Majors and a Ryder Cup and the FedEx Cup in the space of 12 weeks.

“Say the Open gets postponed and moved back to September.

“You might have the PGA in August, then the FedEx Cup, then the Open Championship, then the Ryder Cup – and then the Masters.

“And if the US Open gets postponed maybe that gets pushed back to October or November.

“If we get back to playing by mid-summer it’s going to be a hectic 12 or 15 weeks.”

Before the decision to postpone the Masters was made earlier this month, McIlroy had backed calls for the event to go ahead without the fans after he spoke to reporters after his first round at The Players Championship, which was called off later that night, just hours before Augusta National GC chairman Fred Riley made the call.

The 30-year-old, from Northern Ireland, who has four Major wins to his name – but the last of them came in 2014 – also called on the PGA Tour to test all players and caddies for COVID-19 before the PGA Tour decided later that week to shut down until May.

Rory told Redknapp he has been keeping fit in the gym and playing tennis at his Florida home during the PGA Tour’s shutdown.

“I need something to practice for,” said McIlroy. “I have no idea when we are going to play again and I’d rather build myself up to something.

“I know if I go out there and hit balls, I’m not doing it for any purpose.

“I love golf and it has given me a lot of really great things but I think I love the competition more. If there’s no competition, then there’s nothing to look forward to.

“Right now, I am just enjoying spending some time at home, getting after it in the gym, and spending time by the pool or playing tennis.

“I realise there are a lot of us who are very fortunate to have gyms in our house and all sorts of stuff so that we can keep busy.”

The 13th green at Augusta National
The 13th green at Augusta – the azaleas and rhododendrons will not be in bloom if the 2020 Masters is played in October instead of April because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Masters played outside April twice

THE first Masters was played at the course designed by Bobby Jones and Dr Alister MacKenzie in 1934 and for 81 of the 83 Masters that have been played were held in April.

The decision to put back the 2020 Masters meant the event might not be played for the first time since 1946 – the last of a three-year break during the Second World War.

But with a massive spike in hotel prices around Augusta, during the week of October 5-12, becoming evident online the smart money is on The Masters being held that week.

It is too hot in Georgia for the players to compete at Augusta – and the course is normally closed during the summer until September.

The greenkeepers would have a battle to present the immaculate Augusta fairways in the conditions found in April – and there will be no azaleas and rhododendrons to provide the spectacular colour.

But most TV fans, already craving a return to the sport after a month’s inactivity beause of the coronavirus pandemic, will probably put up with a different looking course as long as they get to see the Green Jacket presented after four days of sublime golf.

The current PGA Tour schedule can be seen by clicking here.

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