Golf: Thai event featuring Rose, Watson and Stenson to go ahead despite Bangkok protests

BANGKOK (AFP) - Organisers of the Thailand Golf Championship on Thursday said the event would go ahead next week with the full complement of star players despite violent protests in Bangkok.

The tournament's organising committee said it had taken advice from government departments and the police after a wave of demonstrations gripped the capital.

Justin Rose, Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson, Charl Schwartzel and Rickie Fowler are the headline acts already confirmed for next week's tournament at Amata Spring Country Club east of Bangkok.

"The safety and well-being of every individual involved with the Thailand Golf Championship is the No. 1 priority for the organising committee," a statement said.

"We are looking forward to hosting all players and fans at the third edition of the Thailand Golf Championship next week."

The statement added that "all players announced over the past few weeks (are) committed to travelling to Bangkok".

"All stakeholders in the tournament, including sponsors, partners and the Asian Tour, are being kept fully up to date on relevant issues," it said.

"The organising committee will continue to liaise with key decision makers to ensure all concerns are addressed and that the championship remains safe, and enjoyable, for all participating players and attending fans."

Anti-government protesters have been fighting street battles with police as political violence returns to Bangkok, three years after dozens died in a crackdown on mass rallies.

Barbed wire and barricades have sprung up around the city after protesters clashed with police, who fired tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets earlier this week.

Fowler earlier said he was unfazed by the protests, but admitted he may have second thoughts if something "crazy" happens.

"I haven't caught too much on TV. I've heard a little bit of the news. I'm not too worried about it. I'm excited to come see Bangkok," he told journalists on a conference call.

"I've heard a lot of good things, and I trust that everyone with the tournament and everyone organising the event will look after us quite well and we'll be just fine."

Asked whether he had considered pulling out, the American said: "No, there's nothing yet. I'm sure, you know, if anything crazy were to happen, I may have a couple questions. But I know all the guys from the US are excited to come."

The US$1 million (S$1.25 million) tournament, the Asian Tour's final event until the season concludes in January, will be held outside Bangkok and well away from the scene of the protests.

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