January 2020 started with the news of a Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak — with Wuhan, China as the epicentre. The communicable virus has, since then, claimed thousands of lives and spread to other parts of the world. On January 30, the World Health Organization declared Coronavirus a global emergency and asked people to take necessary precautions to safeguard themselves from this dangerous virus.
Apart from affecting day-to-day life in China and many other countries, the coronavirus has also affected golf schedules of major golf events across the region. LPGA decided to cancel the 2020 Honda LPGA Thailand and the 2020 HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore as a result of the health risks posed by the coronavirus.
The Honda LPGA Thailand was scheduled for February 20-23 in Pattaya, Thailand, while the HSBC Women’s World Championship was scheduled for February 27 through March 1 in Singapore. In line with these cancellations, The Faldo Series’ Asia Finals, which were to be held in Vietnam in early March, have been postponed until late November. Similarly, the Women’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship — which was scheduled from February 12-14 — was postponed, just days before the tournament.
In a statement, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: “With our partners at the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation, we have taken the decision to postpone the Women’s Asia-Pacific Amateur championship which was due to be played next [this]week at Siam Country Club in Thailand.
“The decision has been taken amid serious concerns for the safety of players and officials travelling during the current coronavirus outbreak. Our utmost priority is to ensure their safety, and the advice we have received in the last 24 hours is that we should not ask them to travel at this time.
“We will assist all players with their arrangements and hope to reschedule the championship later this year.”
The barely 6-year-old PGA-Tour China Series has decided to move its global qualifying tournament out of China. The 72-hole qualifying tournament — originally scheduled for February 25-28 in Haikou, China — is taking place at Laguna Golf Bintan in Lagoi, Indonesia, according to the PGA Tour Series-China, which serves as a feeder tour for the Korn Ferry Tour.
Owing to the looming fear, there are now calls for Japan to postpone the upcoming Olympics until next year to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The Japan Olympic Committee is introducing a number of precautions for its members, however, cancelling a scheduled four-day visit to Beijing from February 25 for discussions with other nations ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics, which are due to be held in the Chinese capital.
The only event which was not impacted by the deadly virus was the Asian Tour Qualifying School in Thailand, which saw an entry list of over 480 players from