Mexican Drug Violence Affects Golf

The alarming increase in the number of deaths related to warring Mexican drug cartels has hit home in golf.

On Monday, the LPGA Tour confirmed it has canceled the 2011 Tres Marias Championship in Morelia, saying players in the tournament would be at risk due to heightened drug-related violence in the area.

The event was slated to be held April 21-24. With the cancelation (the event is tentatively slated to return in 2012), there's now a three-week gap in April between the LPGA Tour's Kraft Nabisco and the Avnet LPGA Classic in Mobile, Ala.

"This week we decided officially to postpone it," LPGA Tour commissioner Whan said during the recent PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.

Whan remarked that the recent violence at a Morelia soccer match in which gunmen killed seven people was as an example of the ongoing dangers the golfers might face in this part of Mexico.

"As a father, I couldn't say to other fathers, 'Your daughter should go to Morelia,' " Whan added. "I feel the pressure of playing, but another pressure . . . I never want to succumb to . . . is making a dumb decision to put lives in jeopardy."

The LPGA's contract with the tournament goes through next year, but an official said the tour would need to see significant improvement in personal safety in the area before it would return.

Morelia, the state capital of Michoacan, is one of many sections of Mexico that have been wracked by bloodshed from warring drug cartels. In 2010 alone, over 11,000 people were killed in drug-related violence.