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Not so fast: Valspar Championship now canceled

The PGA event at Innisbrook initially was planned to go off next week with no spectators. Now the Tour is canceling events up to the Masters.
Paul Casey won't have a chance at winning his third straight Valspar Championship.
Paul Casey won't have a chance at winning his third straight Valspar Championship. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Mar. 12, 2020
Updated Mar. 13, 2020

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PALM HARBOR — The Valspar Championship has been canceled, the PGA Tour announced Thursday night.

The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, which completed its first round, will not resume. The Tour also announced it will not play the WGC Match Play tournament or the Valero Texas Open, which was to be held April 2-5.

There has not been a decision yet on the Masters Tournament, the first major of the season slated for April 9-12.

“We have pledged from the start to be responsible, thoughtful and transparent with our decision process,” the PGA Tour said in a statement. “We did everything possible to create a safe environment for our players in order to continue the event throughout the weekend, and we were endeavoring 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.”

The LPGA Tour also announced that its next three tournaments have been postponed, including the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on April 2-5, the tour’s first major of the season. The LPGA said it plans to reschedule those events for later in the year.

This is the second time in the 20-year history that the PGA tournament at Innisbrook has been canceled. It was not played in 2001 due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Earlier Thursday, an initial decision was made to play the Valspar without spectators.

“We’re trying to stay positive and look for the silver linings where they exist,” Valspar tournament director Tracy West said at the time. “I think people will understand. The health and safety of everyone is first and foremost. This is out of our control.”

West said fans who already have purchased tickets will be able to get a refund, but those details have not been completely worked out.

As the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic grew, Tour officials decided to cancel tournaments completely. PGA commissioner Jay Monahan will address media at 8 a.m. Friday.

The Valspar will take a hit financially. With no ticket sales, there will be much less money donated to charities. And since most of the money on infrastructure was already spent, there is no getting that back either.

“We’re not worried about the long-term health of this tournament,” West said. “We’re sponsored through 2025. We’ll get through the financial impacts. We’ll figure that all out in the next weeks and months.”

Contact Rodney Page at rpage@tampabay.com. Follow @RodneyHomeTeam.

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