BEIJING, Feb 1, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - The Blue Bay LPGA tournament in China has been cancelled for the third time in four years because of "ongoing Covid-related matters", tour organisers said Wednesday.
Other than the Beijing Winter Olympics -- held in a closed loop in February 2022 -- China has cancelled or postponed most major sporting events over the last few years as it stuck to a strict zero-Covid policy.
But the LPGA cancellation comes after authorities abandoned most health restrictions in early December and lifted China's strict border controls, with cases surging around the country.
The LPGA said the event on the southern Chinese island of Hainan had been scrapped after guidance from the China Golf Association (CGA), which regulates the sport in the country.
We "very much look forward to returning to Hainan in 2024," the LPGA said in a statement.
The CGA said in a statement that the March 9-12 tournament had been cancelled "due to the epidemic and other related reasons, after consultations with the LPGA".
The organisation refused to elaborate when contacted by AFP.
Blue Bay was one of seven events in Asia scheduled on the 2023 LPGA tour, in which the world's best women golfers will compete for an overall record $101.4 million in prize money.
It is the fifth year in a row the Hainan event will not take place -- it was not included in the tournament schedule in 2019, cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic, and then not included again in 2022.
The $2.1-million LPGA Shanghai is scheduled for October 12-15. It too has been cancelled for the last three years.