South Korea women's golf resumption draws world top-10 players
Professional women's golf will resume in South Korea next month after a coronavirus hiatus, with a report Tuesday saying two of the world's top 10 would seize the chance to return to competition.
South Korea dominates the women's game globally, with its best players gravitating towards the lucrative US-based LPGA tour, where they occupy three of the top six ranking spots and eight of the top 20. But sport events around the world have been put on hold as the novel coronavirus has swept the globe with total cases nearing 2.5 million.
South Korea once had the largest confirmed cases outside China but appears to have brought the outbreak under control with a huge "trace, test and treat" strategy. And government officials have said that outdoor sports events will now be allowed, with restrictions. The Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Championship is scheduled to be played over four days from May 14 in Yangju, east of Seoul.
World number six Kim Sei-young and 10th-ranked Lee Jeong-eun will be part of the 144-strong field, Yonhap news agency reported. The tournament prize fund totals 2.3 billion won (US$1.8 million) with 160 million won for the winner.
KLPGA officials were still discussing whether spectators would be allowed on the course, a representative told AFP, declining to confirm Kim or Lee's participation. The organisers "put the utmost priority on the safety of athletes and fans" and the details of the event will depend on the course of the outbreak, the KLPGA said in a statement.
South Korea reported nine new cases on Monday -- its fourth consecutive day of less than 20 new infections -- taking the national total to 10,683.