Despite earthquake, Japan Golf Tour to begin on schedule
Sunday, March 20, 2011
The show will go on for the Japan Golf Tour next month despite last week's devastating earthquake.
That's the plan, anyway.
A senior tour official told Reuters that the Japanese men's tour will open the season on schedule April 14 at the Token Cup in Nagoya.
"Most of the sponsors want to host the events, even though there has been major damage (in the north of Japan),” said JGTO executive director Andy Yamanaka.
"We're thinking about what we can do to raise money and make donations to support the victims."
As the death toll from Japan's 9.0 earthquake and tsunami March 11 continues to rise, thousands of people remain unaccounted. Japan's National Police Agency reported Friday that 6,406 are confirmed dead, and 10,259 missing.
The Japan LPGA has already canceled four events including this week's T-Point Ladies in Shizuoka. The Yokohama Tire PRGR Ladies Cup in Kochi was abandon after the first round last week.
With rolling blackouts, transportation chaos and widespread destruction, JLPGA organizers concluded it wasn't appropriate to continue competition.
Yamanaka said JGTO officials and sponsors felt differently, and an extra month will help.
"It's difficult to judge (if golf events should go ahead under the circumstances), but many say we should carry on in order to raise money," he told Reuters.
“It's easy to cancel tournaments but we must find a way to help the victims -- that's the bottom line."
However, Yamanaka admitted any increasing nuclear fallout could hamper plans.
"You just don't know what's going to happen and things could get worse, so we have to change our plans accordingly," he said.
Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.