The PGA of Australia and event organisers for both events came to the difficult decision after determining they could not guarantee the health and safety of players and stakeholders if the tournaments took place.
“While it is with great regret that we have cancelled this year’s Morobe and Papua New Guinea Opens, the decision has been made with the health and safety of all those who come together to make these great tournaments happen – the players, organisers and fans – front of mind, as well as playing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Nick Dastey, the PGA’s Tournaments Director Australasia.
“The current international travel restrictions for our Australian, New Zealand and overseas-based players has also impacted our ability to stage this year’s tournaments.
“We are deeply passionate about growing the game of golf in the Papua New Guinea region and we remain committed to returning to the beautiful Lae and Royal Port Moresby Golf Clubs in 2021.”
The two events, staged on the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series and ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia respectively, were set to be played in April and May, but were postponed as coronavirus swept through Australia and across the world.
But as the number of cases of the deadly virus continues to rise, President of the Papua New Guinea Golf Association Peter Del Monte said the sensible approach was to cancel this year’s events.
“We are deeply passionate about growing the game of golf in the Papua New Guinea region and we remain committed to returning to the beautiful Lae and Royal Port Moresby Golf Clubs in 2021.” - Nick Dastey
“While we feel that we have no choice, the safety of the people of Papua New Guinea must come first. These are unprecedented times and we believe this is the right decision,” Del Monte said.
“In 2021 we plan to be the season opening Tour event on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia with the NKW Morobe Open on the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series the proceeding week. Two big weeks of golf for PNG and it promises to attract quality fields for our spectators, sponsors and staff to enjoy.”
The Papua New Guinea Open was established in 1977 and has been an ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia-sanctioned event since 2016, with the two events to be played April 29-May 2 (Morobe Open) and May 6-9 (PNG Open).