LPGA denies rumor of malaria outbreak after withdrawals

The Ladies Professional Golf Association denied rumors of a malaria outbreak on Saturday after two golfers pulled out of an event because of illness and staff members also fell ill.

Pak Se-Ri and Natalie Gulbis pulled out of the HSBC Women's Champions due to illness. Officials with the tournament said that South Korea's Pak was cleared of malaria and that America's Gulbis was still waiting for test results. Gulbis attended a function in Singapore on Friday and did not seem to be seriously ill, AFP reports.

"Pak Se-Ri withdrew this week due to illness," an LPGA spokesperson said, according to AFP. "She does not have malaria, just flu-like symptoms. Natalie Gulbis withdrew from the event on Friday due to illness. She is getting checked in Singapore, but has not been given a diagnosis yet. LPGA officials are in contact with both players."

Several LPGA rules officials also fell ill, but they were not diagnosed with malaria and continued to go about their duties.

Fears of a malaria outbreak spread after coach Butch Harmon tweeted that Gulbis and Pak were in a Singapore hospital with malaria.

Three players were also involved in a car crash on February 24 in Bangkok, Thailand, following the Honda LPGA Thailand. Paula Creamer and Ai Miyazato sustained whiplash injuries and Miyazato pulled out of the Singapore event, AFP reports.