Golf-New Zealand Open canceled due to COVID travel restrictions

The New Zealand Open golf championship has been canceled for the second consecutive year, due to ongoing travel restrictions to protect the country from the pandemic, organizers announced on Tuesday. New Zealand’s borders have been closed to foreigners since March 2020. The government pushed back plans for a gradual reopening from mid-January to the end of February over fears of a possible outbreak of Omicron, like in neighboring Australia.

“We did everything in our power to make this event happen,” tournament chairman John Hart told the event’s website. “However, with the current government restrictions in place, staging an event that includes 250 players, 250 caddies, 500 volunteers, nearly 100 tournament staff and officials, as well as numerous contractors, as well as spectators, n is simply not possible.”

Organizers had announced in December that the championship, which is part of the PGA Tour Australasia, would continue. It was due to take place from March 31 to April 3 at the Millbrook Resort near Queenstown on the country’s South Island. The top three players would have won direct entry into the prestigious 150th Open Championship at St Andrews.

As of Sunday, New Zealand had reported 15,910 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 52 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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