Swine flu affects Nationwide Tour schedule

By Rex HoggardApril 29, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Nationwide TourAmid fears of the swine flu outbreak and growing player concern, Nationwide Tour officials postponed next months Mexico Open until later in the season.
 
Nationwide Tour president Bill Calfee said earlier this week in an e-mail to players that the circuit planned to monitor the situation and would likely make a decision on Friday, but feedback from members and a travel warning issued by the U.S. Center for Disease Control moved up the time table.
 
A significant number of lives have been lost in Mexico, which is tragic. There are more important things for people to focus on at the moment, Calfee said in a statement.
 
The event, which is in its second year on the Nationwide Tour lineup, was scheduled for May 21-24 at El Bosque Golf Club in Leon, Guanajuato, which is about 200 miles northwest of Mexico City.
 
Officials plan to reschedule the event for later in the season, likely on the backend of the schedule where there are open dates.
 
The Mexico Open is the first postponed Nationwide Tour event since 2003, when heavy rains at the Henrico County (Va.) Open made the course unplayable and the event was moved from May to July.
 
I hadnt planned to play, but if they called it off because of health concerns its a good decision, said Nationwide Tour player Gavin Coles. The health of the players and all involved should come first in that situation.
 
In a meeting last week at the South Georgia Classic players voiced their concerns about safety at the Mexico Open, but officials assured them the situation was stable. But on Wednesday the death toll from swine flu, which has spread to four continents, was increased to 159 and Nationwide Tour officials did not see the situation improving any time soon.
 
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