The LPGA cancelled an upcoming event in China over fears of the coronavirus, which has spread throughout the country and worldwide this month, the LPGA announced on Thursday afternoon.
The Blue Bay LPGA was set to take place from March 5-8 at Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Course on Hainan Island — which sits southwest of Hong Kong. The annual tournament debut on tour in 2014, though wasn’t held last season due to a change in the schedule that moved it to the spring instead of the fall.
“Any time you cancel an event, it is a difficult decision and we appreciate how hard our title partner, IMG, the China LPGA and the China Golf Association have worked to host an incredible event,” the LPGA said in a statement. “The health and safety of our players, fans and everyone working on the event is always our highest priority. While we are disappointed that the tournament won’t take place this season, we look forward to going back to Blue Bay in 2021 and for many years to come.”
As of Thursday, nearly 10,000 cases of the coronavirus have been reported worldwide, and almost 2,000 new cases were reported in China alone in the past day, according to the New York Times. The virus, which started in Wuhan, China, has killed at least 213 people and spread to dozens of other countries around the globe — including the United States, where the first case of person-to-person transmission of the virus was reported on Thursday. The World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency.
The golf tournament is the latest sporting event to be impacted by the virus. A boxing qualifier in Wuhan was canceled, and a regional Fed Cup qualifying event was moved from the country, too. The Asian Football Confederation even moved an Olympic qualifying group from China, opting to play the group’s matches in Australia instead. Even events in the United States have been impacted, as a pair of Miami (Ohio) basketball games were postponed this week over fears of the virus at the university.
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