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Masters tickets delayed, Indian Wells pushed back by coronavirus repercussions

Will spectators be allowed to watch the 2021 Masters? (David J. Phillip/AP)

The coronavirus pandemic that upended the sports calendar and overloaded the final few months of 2020 is now bringing an element of uncertainty to several events scheduled for the first few months of 2021.

The Masters golf tournament, the first of the year’s majors in April in a non-pandemic year, was moved to November in 2020 and is set to take place April 8-11, but ticketing has been pushed back to the end of January.

“As planning continues on how to stage the 2021 Masters Tournament safely and responsibly, we would like to inform you that Augusta National is delaying the ticket process for Patron Series Badges, which traditionally begins Jan. 1,” the email said, according to ESPN.

“Our intention is to communicate our decisions for the 2021 Masters to all patrons of record by the end of January. No further action is needed with your account at this time.”

The 2020 tournament, won by Dustin Johnson, was held without spectators. Instead, only a few volunteers and Augusta National Golf Club staffers were on the grounds.

Badges allow entrance to the tournament’s four rounds, and the cost for 2020 was to have been $375. When it was determined that spectators would not be allowed to attend, the club offered to defer those badges to 2021. Tickets to practice rounds Monday through Wednesday are given in a lottery every spring, and those, too, were deferred to 2021.

With those already sold, the club must determine what to do in the likelihood that a smaller number of spectators are allowed on site in April.

In tennis, the 2020 Australian Open was held as scheduled before the pandemic began, but organizers of the 2021 tournament moved it to Feb. 8-21 earlier this month to allow players and officials to quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Australia.

The BNP Paribas Open, the annual Indian Wells, Calif., event, was postponed from March to “later in the year,” officials announced Wednesday. “Alternative dates are being assessed for the tournament to potentially take place later in the year,” the ATP Tour said in a statement.

Tennis was shut down for five months in 2020, starting with the Indian Wells tournament in March.

In late October, the 125th running of the Boston Marathon was moved from its traditional spot in April to the fall of 2021, an addition to an already busy racing calendar. Organizers said they were working with state and local government officials, as well as other stakeholders, to see if a fall date next year was “feasible.”

The marathon is traditionally held on the third Monday in April, which is celebrated as Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts. It was postponed this year before eventually being staged in September as a virtual event.

“Prioritizing the safety of participants, volunteers, spectators, and community members,” Tom Grilk, CEO of the Boston Athletic Association, which stages the event, said in a statement at the time, “we continue to assess all elements of the race including a potential reduced field size or weekend date.”

The race is one of running’s six major events and one of three, along with the Tokyo and London marathons, that take place in the late winter or spring. Tokyo and London have already moved their 2021 dates to the fall, when the Berlin, Chicago and New York City marathons take place.

Here’s how the schedule looks at the moment: Berlin, Sept. 26; London, Oct. 3; Chicago, Oct. 10; Tokyo, Oct. 17; and New York City, Nov. 7.

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics also means that the Games’ marathon, which will take place in Sapporo, will be held Aug. 8.