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Asian Tour cancels Haikou Open

The Asian Tour has been forced to cancel next week's Haikou Open-Hainan Airlines Cup in China, said its Chief Executive Louis Martin.

Martin said today that this was a huge disappointment as the event's main sponsors and venue, the West Coast Golf Club, were all geared up to host the inaugural US$250,000 tournament on Hainan island.

The Haikou Open was to have replaced the Sanya Open, staged for the last two years also in Hainan, on the Asian Tour Schedule.

"The necessary documentation and license from the China Golf Association have not been forthcoming for the Haikou Open. Due to this, the Haikou Government informed the Asian Tour last night that it has regretfully cancelled the event," said Martin.

Martin was unsure why the necessary permit could not be provided on time to the Haikou Government to stage its new event, which was aimed at promoting Hainan as a golf tourism destination. He added that it would have also reinforced the game's rapid growth in the Middle Kingdom.

"We will do everything in our power to work with the China Golf Association to understand what difficulties they may have. Clearly this kind of situation is not good for sport and is detrimental for the development of golf in Asia," said Martin.

"One of the Asian Tour's missions is to create playing opportunities for our players. Therefore, it is very difficult for us to accept the fact that due to time factors in getting the necessary licence, our players, including more than 20 Chinese golfers, will not have the opportunity to earn prize money next week.

"The Asian Tour has successfully staged five events in China this year so we do not understand why the Haikou Open has been saddled by this problem. The Haikou Government and Hainan Airlines were all set to host the event by coming up with the prize money and we also had a great venue in West Coast.

"Substantial investment has been made in preparing to bring this event to China. I have explained the situation to our players and naturally they are upset."

October 13, 2005

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