The coronavirus outbreak has claimed more victims with the PGA TOUR Series-China and LPGA Tour events postponed due to the spread of the virus.
The LPGA Tour announced the decision to cancel the LPGA Blue Bay, which was scheduled to be staged on Hainan Island from March 5.
And the PGA TOUR had originally planned to move three qualifiers for the PGA TOUR Series-China from Haikou, China to Laguna Golf Bintan in Lagoi, Indonesia. But that plan has now been shelved and instead the season will be delayed and shortened.
The PGA TOUR Series-China was due to begin in late March, but the opening four events won’t take place. Two qualifiers are currently planned for late April or early May, and the regular season should begin in late May or early June once more implications of the coronavirus outbreak is understood.
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“We watched and scrutinized the situation closely, and we did not make this decision lightly,” said Greg Carlson, PGA TOUR Series-China executive director. “This is a major international health issue, and we will do everything possible to ensure the safety and well-being of our players and everybody else associated with these tournaments.”
The result is that there will be 10 events played this season rather than the planned 14 PGA TOUR Series-China tournaments. The top five finishers in the Order of Merit earn exemption for next year’s Korn Ferry Tour, underlining just how important the series is for up-and-coming Asian talents. Those finishing 6-10 on the Order of Merit gain a place in the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying School.
The decision followed that of the LPGA Tour as they took no chances and cancelled the Blue Bay event. It won’t rescheduled in 2020, but will return to the calendar in 2021.
“Given the current health concerns and significant travel restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus in China, the LPGA along with our partners in China have made the decision to cancel the 2020 Blue Bay LPGA, which was scheduled to take place March 5-8 on Hainan Island,” a statement from the LPGA said.
“Any time you cancel an event, it is a difficult decision and we appreciate how hard our partners, the China LPGA and the China Golf Association have worked to host an incredible event.
“While we are disappointed that the tournament won’t take place this season, we look forward to going back to Blue Bay in 2021 and for many years to come.”
Golf is not alone in having to cancel or postpone sporting events with the Chinese sporting calendar being seriously affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
The start of the Chinese Super League football season has been delayed and China’s clubs playing in the AFC Champions League have had their games put back to later in the competition.
The World Indoor Athletics Championships set to take place in Nanjing were postponed. World Cup skiing in Yanging was cancelled and the Chinese Grand Prix has been delayed from its April 19 date with Formula 1 officials set to move the Shanghai showpiece to a date late in the year.