HSBC golf event canned

World No. 2 and defending champion Park Sung-hyun was among the players due to make headlines at the HSBC Women's World Championship at the Sentosa Golf Club from Feb 27 to March 1. ST FILE PHOTO
World No. 2 and defending champion Park Sung-hyun was among the players due to make headlines at the HSBC Women's World Championship at the Sentosa Golf Club from Feb 27 to March 1. ST FILE PHOTO

Women's World C'ship falls victim to coronavirus outbreak but SPL to kick off as scheduled

The HSBC Women's World Championship, scheduled to take place from Feb 27 to March 1 at the Sentosa Golf Club, has been cancelled, making it the highest-profile sports event here to be hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

The US$1.5 million (S$2.1 million) golf tournament has been held annually since 2008 and regularly features a world-class field.

This year's event was set to include a star-studded cast including South Korean world No. 1 Ko Jin-young, and her compatriot, world No. 2 Park Sung-hyun, the defending champion.

The Honda LPGA Thailand, which was to be held from Feb 20 to 23 in Pattaya, will also be canned.

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour said in a statement yesterday: "Due to continued health concerns and recent advisories in some Asian countries that large-scale events should be cancelled or postponed as a result of the coronavirus, the LPGA and its partners have made the decision to cancel (the two tournaments).

"The health and safety of our players, fans and everyone working on the event is always our highest priority. While we are disappointed that these tournaments will not take place this season, we look forward to returning to Asia soon."

Grant Slack, managing director of golf events at IMG, the event's promoter, added that the decision was made "based on the Singapore Ministry of Health's recommendations relating to the Dorscon elevation to orange".

The organisers said yesterday that customers who have purchased tickets to the tournament, which drew 32,044 spectators last year, will receive a full refund.

Other local sports events have also been affected by the virus.

 
 
 

Last week, the Ministry of Education announced the suspension of the National School Games till next month, while organisations and national sports associations such as Special Olympics Singapore, the Singapore Disability Sports Council, Singapore Canoe Federation, Singapore Dragon Boat Association, and Fencing Singapore have cancelled their programmes and events.

Last Friday, the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) was upped to "orange" as the virus spread further within the country, with more new cases of unknown origin announced.

However, some sports events were held. The Netball Super League last Saturday was played behind closed doors at Our Tampines Hub while the Asean Basketball League game between the Singapore Slingers and Taipei Fubon Braves on Sunday drew 1,800 fans to the OCBC Arena.

The Singapore Premier League will also kick off as scheduled on Feb 29, and the Football Association of Singapore said it would carry out precautionary measures such as temperature screening.

With the cancellation of the March 5-8 Blue Bay LPGA on China's Hainan Island last month, it means that half of the LPGA's six events in Asia have been affected.

The coronavirus outbreak has also hit other sporting events in the region. The World Indoor Athletics Championships scheduled for next month in Nanjing has been postponed till next year, while the Olympic qualifiers for boxing and women's football were also relocated out of China in recent weeks.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2020, with the headline 'HSBC golf event canned'. Print Edition | Subscribe