LPGA forced to cancel China tournament scheduled for October
(Reuters) - The LPGA on Tuesday had to cancel a tournament in Shanghai less than one month before it was due to be played after failing to get local government approval for the event.
The Alisports LPGA tournament, won last year by seven-times LPGA winner Kim In-kyung, had been scheduled for Oct. 5-8.
It is the second time in three years the tournament, previously known as the Reignwood LPGA Classic, has been scrapped.
"Unfortunately, we have just received word that the tournament was unsuccessful in obtaining approval from the local district government," LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement.
"The hardest part about this news is that we have a title sponsor, a tournament operator, a TV production group and a host venue all set to go.
"However, in China, sporting events of this nature cannot take place without approvals at multiple levels -- and the local approval was denied.
"This news is very disappointing, particularly in that it comes less than a month before the event was scheduled to take place."
Whan said the LPGA expected the event to return to the schedule in 2018.
Alisports, a division of Alibaba Group, announced in October that it was partnering with the LPGA "to own an LPGA tournament hosted annually in Mainland China for the next 10 years."
The tournament had been scheduled for the second week of a seven-event South Pacific and Asia swing, which will now have six tournaments -- one each in New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan and China.
South Korean Kim won the 2016 Reignwood LPGA Classic at Pine Valley Golf Club in Beijing, ending a drought of six years.
She followed that victory with three 2017 triumphs, including her first major at the British Open.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Ken Ferris)
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