Golf: WGC-HSBC Champions cancelled because of coronavirus restrictions

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The 2020 edition of China’s richest golf tournament, the WGC-HSBC Champions, has been cancelled because of government restrictions on international sporting events, the International Federation of PGA Tours said on Wednesday.

The $10.25 million tournament, which has attracted the world’s best players to China since the first edition in 2005 when Tiger Woods was runner-up, was scheduled to take place at the Sheshan Golf Club from Oct. 29-Nov. 1.

“We have worked extensively with all Tours, international officials, the China Golf Association and other local parties to find a solution to host the WGC-HSBC Champions,” the U.S. PGA Tour’s Ty Votaw said in a statement.

“In line with Chinese government guidelines and being mindful of the logistical implications, we collectively made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 event.”

China’s General Administration of Sport said in July that China would not hold any international sporting events this year aside from trials for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ATP and WTA tennis tours have since cancelled all of their China tournaments, including the women’s tour finals, and the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix has also been called off.

The HSBC Champions, often dubbed by promoters as Asia’s major, is co-sanctioned by all the major tours and became one of four annual World Golf Championship events in 2009.

Former champions at the picturesque Sheshan course just outside Shanghai include Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele and last year Rory McIlroy.

Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford