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Australian Open golf events scrapped

Nelly Korda of the US hits an approach shot on the 18th during the final day of the women’s LPGA Tour-sanctioned Australian Open golf championship at the Grange Golf Club in Adelaide, February 17, 2019. — AFP pic

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SYDNEY, Oct 14 — The men’s and women’s Australian Open golf tournaments fell victim to the coronavirus pandemic Thursday, with both cancelled due to travel restrictions.

Golf Australia had already pushed back this year’s men’s event in Sydney from November to late January or February, but it has now been called off entirely.

The women’s 2022 tournament was due to be played in Adelaide in February, but that too has been canned.

“The decision has not been made lightly but we believe it to be the right outcome under the current circumstances,” said Golf Australia chief James Sutherland.

“The international element means shifting quarantine and travel restrictions wreak havoc on planning and, with our marquee players living abroad, the challenge is even greater.”

It is the second year in a row that the men’s Australian Open has not been played.

Won previously by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman and Rory McIlroy, it was cancelled in 2020 for the first time since 1945.

But Golf Australia said it still intended to run the innovative Vic Open from February 10-13, although without international sanctioning.

The tournament, the only one on the world’s professional golf tours where men and women tee off in alternate groups on the same course, is usually joint-sanctioned by the men’s European Tour and women’s LPGA Tour.

The Australian PGA Championship is also set to go ahead in Queensland from January 13-16.

Australia’s international borders remain closed to most travellers, although earlier this month Canberra announced plans to ease the restrictions “within weeks” as 80 percent vaccination targets are met. — AFP

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