SINGAPORE - Next month's HSBC Women's World Championship will remain capped at up to 250 fans - all corporate guests - allowed daily, organisers said on Tuesday (March 30).
This despite new Government regulations allowing up to 750 spectators, from April 24, into pilot sports events approved by Sport Singapore if they implement pre-event testing for Covid-19.
The golf tournament, with a field that includes six of the current top-10 female players, is scheduled for April 29-May 2 at the Sentosa Golf Club.
The Ministry of Heath's latest update was on March 24 and the Women's World Championship organisers said: "The last minute nature of these changes has not given us enough time to thoughtfully prepare our Covid-19 safe management measures and as such, the tournament will continue to remain a limited capacity event."
The US$1.6 million (S$2.16 million) event marks a welcome return for professional women's golf to Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region after the tournament was cancelled last year owing to the pandemic.
The likes of defending champion Park Sung-hyun, world No. 1 Ko Jin-young and 2016 Rio Olympic gold medallist Park In-bee had previously confirmed their attendance and more marquee names were added to that list on Tuesday.
Among them were Chinese star Feng Shanshan, Japanese duo Nasa Hataoka and Hinako Shibuno, ranked eighth and 15th in the world respectively, and former world No. 1s Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand and Lydia Ko of New Zealand.
Two-time Major champion Ariya, 25, was a runner-up in this event in 2017. She said: "This is an important tournament for me. I first played as an amateur in 2013 on a sponsor invite which was an amazing experience and have been back for the last four years.
"This year it starts our Asian swing which I always really look forward to with the courses and conditions... I'll do my best to give my fans something to cheer about."
American Angela Stanford, 43, won this event in 2012 and is set to return. She said: "I know a huge amount of work has gone into this year's event so on behalf of all the players competing, I'd like to say a big 'thank you' to everyone that has made it possible... We're all looking forward to getting back out there next month."