Alisports-backed LPGA event cancelled over lack of government support
An LPGA Tour event backed by Alisports, the sports arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has been called off less than a month before it was due to begin.
The ‘Alisports LPGA’ tournament will not take place this year after a failure to secure government approval.
The LPGA entered a 10-year agreement with Alisports last year to stage a revamped annual tournament in mainland China from this year onwards.
Mike Whan, the LPGA commissioner, said in a statement: “Unfortunately, we have just received word that the tournament was unsuccessful in obtaining approval from the local district government.
“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.”
It marks the second time in three years that the tournament, previously known as the Reignwood LPGA Classic, has been scrapped.
The event started in 2013 and has customarily been held in Beijing, although it was due to take place in Shanghai this year, with a prize fund of $2.1 million.
Whan said that he expects the tournament, operated by Alisports and backed by the China Golf Association and the China LPGA Tour, to return in 2018.