The Australian WPGA Championship has been robbed of its star attraction with border restrictions ruling Hannah Green out of golf’s newest event in Brisbane this month.
The 2019 Women’s PGA champion was set to headline a 24-woman field vying for the Karrie Webb Cup, to be played in conjunction with the men’s Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland Golf Club from January 13.
But Green’s native Western Australia have upgraded Queensland to an extreme risk jurisdiction, effectively stopping the trump card from returning home at the completion of the event.
Those border restrictions remain in place until February 5, with Australia’s No.2 now hopeful of competing in the Vic Open later that month instead.
“I was truly looking forward to playing in Brisbane for the inaugural Karrie Webb Cup,” the 25-year-old, who had to complete a 14-day hotel quarantine upon her return from the US last month, said.
“I was hopeful our borders would remain open to Queensland and allow me to travel freely to and from, but unfortunately that’s not the case anymore.
“I look forward to watching what will be a great event for both the men and women and hope to be able to play the 2023 edition.”
Webb was on hand to launch the event in November, labelling it “the light at the end of the tunnel” after the sport’s domestic calendar was torn to shreds by COVID-19.
“Hannah is one of our most popular players and supports our tour as much as she possibly can,” WPGA Tour of Australasia boss Karen Lunn said.
“COVID has made that extremely difficult the past two years and we completely understand Hannah’s need to be in Perth shortly after the WPGA Championship is due to be completed to prepare for her LPGA Tour season ahead.
“The changes in border restrictions makes it impossible for Hannah to play the event and be home in time to prepare for the upcoming LPGA Tour season, but we are very much looking forward to seeing her in action at the Vic Open in February.”
Newly minted world top-50 player Min Woo Lee and US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy headline the men’s field while recent LPGA Tour graduates Stephanie Kyriacou and Karis Davidson will lead the women’s event.
Both fields will play for a $180,000 winner’s cheque while it’s expected the women’s event will become an expanded, stand-alone tournament in the future.