LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan had some bad news to deliver to his membership during a players' meeting at the site of the Navsitar LPGA Classic in Prattsville, Ala., on Tuesday evening. The Imperial Springs LPGA, a $2 million tournament scheduled to take place during the last week of September in Guangdong, China, has been canceled. The event had previously been postponed from early August to the fall to allow organizers to clear up some "permitting" issues. Its new dates, right on the heels of the Solheim Cup, meant many of the top U.S. and European players were expected to sit out the week. The LPGA won't confirm the reasons for the cancellation, but for the players who had planned to play, losing an official money event on short notice at the end of the season is a big blow.
In a release put out Tuesday night, the LPGA called itself "blindsided" by the news from the China Golf Association:
*Statement from LPGA Regarding Imperial Springs China Tournament
Late Monday night, the LPGA received an official notice from the China Golf Association that the Imperial Springs LPGA event in China planned for the week of September 29-October 2 cannot proceed as scheduled.
Clearly this is not an ideal scenario and certainly not news that the LPGA, our players or our partners expected just a few weeks away from the tournament. This event was previously scheduled for August 4-7, and was postponed until September to allow the title sponsor and tournament organizers more time for proper permitting. Subsequently, the LPGA received assurances that the event could be staged as planned in late September.
Blindsided by the news, the LPGA has exhausted all possibilities to carry on with the event as scheduled but have been told that the tournament must be cancelled. Players were notified today at a previously scheduled "players' meeting" held at the site of the Navistar LPGA Classic.
We are unable to share further details of the cancellation at this time. We view China as an important market for the LPGA and remain open to creating a world-class event with long-term success. Our main focus right now is the world-class field that has assembled in Prattville, Alabama to compete in the Navistar LPGA Classic.
We are very excited to begin our post-Solheim Cup schedule with the Hana Bank Championship in Korea, followed by trips to Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship, Mizuno Classic in Japan and Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico - all leading to the exciting new CME Group Titleholders in Orlando, FL which wraps up our 2011 tournament calendar.
*The official LPGA tournament count for 2011 is now down to 23.