Thai golf postponed by state of emergency

The Thailand Open, one of Asia’s most revered golf tournaments, has been postponed due to a 60-day state of emergency imposed in Bangkok this week, organisers said on Thursday.

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The $US1 million ($A1.13 million) tournament, scheduled for March 13-16, will take place at an unannounced date later this year.

Thailand on Tuesday declared the state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas to tackle mass protests aimed at overthrowing the government.

The move followed weeks of mass demonstrations that have paralysed parts of the capital and sparked several bouts of deadly violence, including grenade attacks and shootings.

“We want to ensure the environment is stable in order to stage our world-class tournament and national Open,” Thailand Golf Association president Rungsrid Luxsitanonda said in a statement.

“There are just six weeks to go before the tournament so it would be unwise to proceed with the current date.”

Thai anti-government protesters have been fighting street battles with police as political violence returns to Bangkok, three years after the deaths of dozens of people in a crackdown on mass rallies.

Demonstrators have staged a self-styled “shutdown” of the capital since January 13, erecting roadblocks and rally stages at several main intersections.

“It was unanimously agreed by all relevant parties to postpone the championship. This is in the best interests of the players, spectators, sponsors,” said Patrick Feizal Joyce, a vice-president at the event promoter World Sport Group.

“We will work … to determine a new date in 2014.”

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