PNG, Morobe Opens cancelled, NSW events set to play

The PGA of Australia has announced the Morobe Open and Papua New Guinea Open have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two events, staged on the Ladbrokes Pro-Am Series and the PGA Tour of Australasia respectively, were set to be played in April and May, but were postponed as the coronavirus swept through Australia and across the world.

Brett Rankin Brett Rankin won the 2019 Morobe Open (Credit: PGA Australia)

With little prospect of the conditions improving the President of the Papua New Guinea Golf Association Peter Del Monte said the sensible approach was to cancel this year’s events.

“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,” said Del Monte.

The Australasian PGA Tour has also adopted the same approach.

“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.

Events on Australian soil are still in place with the NSW Regional Open Series scheduled to begin in late August with the first of six tournaments across NSW.

With a $50,000 purse on offer at each event (professionals only), the top three place-getters will also secure a start in the 2020 NSW Open.

Graeme Phillipson, General Manager of Golf, Golf NSW, said all six regional centres involved should receive a welcome economic boost.

“The Regional Open Series will bring huge benefits at many levels,” said Mr Phillipson.

“Not only will there be a significant injection into many local economies, but club golfers in regional NSW will see first-hand some of our sport’s brightest young stars.”