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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Open Won't Tee Off Due to Crisis

The Russian Open has been canceled this year because of the global financial crisis, an organizer said Monday.

"Unfortunately, we had to cancel the tournament this year because our main sponsor has backed out," tournament director Hans Koeleman said.

"We have raised about 1.3 million euros [$1.85 million], but were still some 700,000 euros short," Koeleman said.

Real estate company Inteko, which guaranteed last year's prize money, was forced to pull out because of the difficult economic situation, he said. Inteko head Yelena Baturina, the billionaire wife of Mayor Yury Luzhkov, has seen her wealth tumble this year.

"Last year, total prize money was $2 million, and this year we wanted to offer a smaller prize money, like 1 million euros, but we still couldn't find the funds to run a successful tournament," Koeleman said.

The golf tournament had been scheduled from Aug. 6 to 9.

"In order to run a quality tournament, you have to have a sponsor, otherwise it's almost impossible to have a fully fledged tournament," Koeleman said.

The Russian Open, held at a picturesque course at the Moscow Country Club just north of the capital, has been part of the main European Tour since 2003. The tournament has seen a steady growth over the last few years.

"We had plans to raise the prize money to 2 million euros this year," said Koeleman, who has been involved in hosting and promoting the event since 2001. "Of course, that was before the global crisis."

The Dutchman said he was hoping to run the tournament next year, but time was running out.

"I would hate to see this tournament die out, because I worked very hard for eight years to build it up," he said.

He said he has talked with the European Tour, and it had asked for financial guarantees by July 1 to have a good date on the European calendar next year.

" I'm optimistic that we can still find a solution. This crisis can't go on forever," Koeleman said.