Shanshan Feng and Yu Liu were listed in the initial field for this week's Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship. However, by Tuesday, their names had been scrubbed from the field, and they will not compete this week.
Reuters reports Feng and Liu were both told by someone "high up" associated with the Chinese government they should not play in this tournament. The players and their joint representation, Ruby Chen, were told of this command during last week's Buick LPGA Shanghai in China. Bodies affiliated with Chinese golf and sports denied comment or denied any pressure was applied on the players to withdraw.
Taiwan is viewed by the Chinese government as a rogue province rather than a self-ruling country. China refers to Taiwan as Chinese Taipei. Relations between the countries have deteriorated since 2016, when current Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen took office.
Liu told reporters a nebulous "they" told her she couldn't talk about why she withdrew from the tournament, though she indicated it wasn't for personal reasons.
Feng played in this tournament last year in its inaugural edition, as well in Taiwanese events in 2014, '15 and '16. However, she withdrew from an LPGA tournament in Hawaii in 2017 when she was told it was in "her best interests" to avoid the event sponsored by South Korean company Lotte, as the Korean and Chinese governments sparred over a planned missile defense system.
The LPGA is aware of the situation, but they will not elaborate on the reasons for the withdrawal and have no plan to fine either player for the late scratch.
The Swinging Skirts foundation is a Taiwan-based non-profit seeking to help young women take up the sport.