WELLINGTON (Reuters) – The LPGA Tour, the elite women’s professional golf circuit, said on Monday it was cancelling tournaments in Thailand and Singapore later this month due to the coronavirus outbreak.
More than 40,000 people have been infected by the flu-like virus in mainland China, with authorities confirming more than 900 deaths, and the outbreak has had a major impact on the sports calendar in Asia.
The Honda LPGA Thailand event in Pattaya scheduled for Feb. 20-23 and the Feb. 27-March 1 HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore have both now been canceled.
The LPGA said in a statement it was disappointed to cancel the events but looked forward to returning to Asia soon.
“It is always a difficult decision to cancel events and the LPGA greatly appreciates the understanding and all the efforts made by our title sponsors as well as IMG to host incredible events for our players,” it said.
“The health and safety of our players, fans and everyone working on the event is always our highest priority.”
Last month it also canceled the Blue Bay tournament in Hainan, China, which was due to take place from March 5-8.
With tournaments in Australia unaffected, the Tour will complete the Women’s Australian Open at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club this week before resuming in North America from mid-March.
It is scheduled to return to Asia in October for tournaments in China, Taiwan and Japan.
The virus outbreak has seen Olympic qualifying tournaments for boxing, basketball and women’s soccer postponed, rescheduled or moved from China, while badminton, motor sports, hockey and tennis events have also been affected.
The world indoor athletics championships, which were due to be held in Nanjing from March 15-18, was arguably the biggest event to be affected by the outbreak.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford