The organizing Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. yesterday called off the last two legs of the third season of PGT (Philippine Golf Tour) Asia at Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club, citing the health and safety of the players, caddies and tournament staff following Taal Volcano’s eruption last Sunday.
“In the interest of the health and safety of all players, caddies and tournament staff, the PGTA Tournament Committee has decided to re-schedule this event to a future date,” said the PGTI in a statement.
Taal Volcano spewed a giant ash plume accompanied by rumbling sounds and tremors Sunday, prompting authorities to raise the Alert Level to 4, meaning a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.
The $100,000 ICTSI Eagle Ridge Invitational, originally scheduled to start today (Tuesday, Jan. 14) at Aoki course, serves as the penultimate leg of the 2019 PGT Asia with the last tournament for the season set next week, also at Eagle Ridge, which is just 20 kms away from Taal Volcano in Talisay, Batangas.
The tournament features 91 players, including 46 bets from 14 nations.
DOST-Phivolcs (Dept. of Science and Technology-Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology) has reiterated total evacuation of Taal Volcano island and additional evacuation of areas at high risk to pyroclastic density currents within 14-km radius from the Taal main crater.
Eagle Ridge general manager Antonio Ocampo actually said the sprawling ERGCC, which boasts of four courses, is in shape despite the ashfall late Sunday and is ready to host the event. In fact, it was business as usual at the country’s largest golfing facility yesterday with hundreds, mostly foreign golfers, playing a round or two.
But PGTI has put premium on the safety of the participants. It said next week’s scheduled event will now be held at Pradera Verde Golf and Country Club in Lubao, Pampanga with this week’s tournament to be moved to a later date and a venue somewhere in north.
Taal spewed ash that generated a 1-km plume that later triggered ashfall that reached as far as Metro Manila. It also prompted authorities to order forced evacuation of around 10,000 residents from two nearby high-risk municipalities in Batangas and suspend more than 240 flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.
Following Taal’s eruption, health authorities have warned the public to take precautions due to health effects of exposure to volcanic ash and gases, which are insidious and often overlooked hazards.