Storms halt Masters practice rounds

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The first day of Masters week was a short one, as dangerous weather and storms forced the closing of Augusta National after just two hours followed by a decision to not re-open to spectators.

Thousands of spectators, who acquired tickets last year through a lottery process and were on the course when it opened at 8 a.m. ET, were told to leave the grounds just after 10 a.m. as rain started to fall and lightning was detected in the area.

Practice rounds for the Masters, which is set to begin Thursday, were also called off as rain pelted the course.

At about 12:45 p.m, the tournament announced that the gates would not re-open to spectators -- a first since Monday, April 7, 2003.

Augusta National said it would be offering refunds to all who purchased Monday practice round tickets through the club and guaranteed them the opportunity to purchase practice round tickets for the 2015 Masters.

The club had previously held a lottery for Tuesday and Wednesday practice-round days.