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Fred Ridley hopeful but not certain there will be patrons at 2021 Masters

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Playing this week’s Masters without patrons has been the biggest difference players have noticed with the tournament’s move from April to November. It remains to be seen how that might be different next year when the event is scheduled to return to its traditional April date.

On Wednesday, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said he’s hopeful next year’s Masters will be played with at least limited patrons, but that depends on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Looking on to April, I'm hopeful that we will see improved conditions regarding this virus, but April is less than five months away. So, there's certainly no assurance of that,” Ridley said. “We do have hopes that the tournament in April will be closer to normal than it is right now.”

The PGA Tour allowed fans back at last week’s Vivint Houston Open for the first time domestically since March, and there is speculation that the circuit is preparing to expand that next year as a possible coronavirus vaccine becomes available.

“I'm encouraged by what took place last week in Houston, having I think approximately 2,000 fans at that tournament. We'll be interested to see kind of how that went,” Ridley said.