The coronavirus pandemic claimed the only US PGA Tour event in South Korea on Tuesday as organisers moved the CJ Cup to Las Vegas in the face of travel restrictions.
South Korea — which initially brought its outbreak largely under control, but is now tackling several clusters of infections — has imposed strict limits on travel, with all arrivals required to spend two weeks in quarantine.
The October 15-18 tournament, originally due to take place on the resort island of Jeju, will now be played at Las Vegas’s Shadow Creek course on the same dates, the PGA Tour and sponsors CJ Group said in a joint statement.
The tournament has been running for three years and has been won by two former world number ones — Justin Thomas in 2017 and 2019, either side of Brooks Koepka’s victory in 2018.
“While our players have always looked forward to visiting Korea, the current circumstances provided this new opportunity to bring the event to Las Vegas,” said Ty Votaw, the PGA tour’s vice president of international operations.
CJ said it planned to bring the event back to South Korea next year.
It usually forms part of the PGA Tour’s three-part ‘Asian swing’ along with Japan’s Zozo Championship, held the following week, and the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai a week later.
However, there are question marks over the Shanghai tournament after Chinese authorities banned most international sports events this year to guard against coronavirus outbreaks.
So far no change has been announced for the LPGA tour’s BMW Ladies’ Championship, which is due to be held in the South Korean port city of Busan in October.
South Korea has a disproportionate share of the women’s world golf rankings, providing eight of the current top 20 including number one Ko Jin-young.