Feb 4 (Reuters) - The PGA Tour Series-China said on Tuesday it is moving its global qualifying tournament out of China because of the coronavirus epidemic.
The 72-hole qualifying tournament originally scheduled for Feb. 25-28 in Haikou, China will now take 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.
The newly identified coronavirus outbreak in China has killed over 400 people, with more than 20,000 infected.
“We felt this change was the best course of action considering what’s happening in China right now,” PGA Tour Series-China Executive Director Greg Carlson said in a news release.
“Our existing relationship with the golf course and its staff made this a relatively seamless change. It is a very good golf course, and we very much appreciate Laguna Golf Bintan and its leadership accommodating us and helping this come together so quickly.”
The event, one of three qualifiers for which players can earn status for the 2020 season, is the latest sporting event affected by the coronavirus, which has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization.
The first qualifier, open only to Chinese passport holders, was held last month in Guangzhou while the third event is set for March 3-6 in Thailand. The final two events are open to players from outside China.
Tour officials in China and at PGA Tour headquarters in Florida will assess the coronavirus situation and its potential impact on PGA TOUR Series-China, which earlier said it would start its 2020 season in Sanya, China, on March 26-29.
“The health and well-being of our players, staff, fans and all who are associated with PGA TOUR Series-China tournaments is of the utmost importance to us,” said Carlson.
“We will continue to monitor what’s happening in China and how it might affect the start of our regular season.” (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)