The decision from Augusta National Golf Club to postpone The Masters Golf Tournament has a ripple effect on Augusta area businesses.
Many in the business community expressed a sign of relief at the news of postponement since they say a postponed tournament instead of one without patrons is better for the local economy.
Havrid Usry and his family own multiple restaurants across town like Fat Man’s Cafe, Sno Cap and Southern Salad. He shares what he thought when he heard Friday morning’s news.
“I think it was super positive,” Usry says. “Yesterday, we were really thinking that it would be spectator-less, which would be a major blow to the local economy especially us folks in food and beverage and hospitality so I think we’re kinda, still sad that it’s not going to be the first full week of April, but we’re excited that it’s postponed and looking forward to hopefully a fall Masters, we will see.”
Usry got multiple calls on Friday from customers wondering if their restaurants were open, which they are.
“We’re going to be here. Go out and enjoy a meal. That doesn’t mean don’t be cautious, but all in all I think we just need to have a positive outlook because this will pass,” Usry says.”
For the Usry’s restaurants and their catering, nothing compares to Masters week.
“It’s the equivalent of about 2 months of business for us in one week so when you eliminate that from your gross revenue, it’s a major impact,” Usry explains.
Usry thinks ANGC looked out for the little guys when they decided to postpone the tournament instead of holding it without patrons.
“I think we should be thankful to the Augusta National that they postponed it and not made it spectator-less,” Usry says.
Cal Wray with the Augusta Economic Development Authority echoed a similar opinion. He says postponement still leaves the option for a Masters influx to come to our local economy.
Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Bennish Brown says they are still focused on providing the best possible experience for visitors.
“Our organization will rebound and look at our priorities of how do we get overnight visitors here during the summer and during the other times of the year and certainly we will be listening for more information from Augusta National on exactly when they’ll decide to have the Masters later this year and we will work with our industry to make sure that we still have a great experience for people,” Brown says.
Brown says many travelers have been in a holding pattern as they wait to see what Augusta National was going to decide so now they are able to make more definitive travel plans.