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LPGA postpones three more events, reschedules ANA Inspiration


LPGA commissioner Mike Whan told his players that he didn’t want to send out an email canceling more events until he had good news to share.

“That’s just Mike being Mike right now,” said veteran Stacy Lewis.

The bad news didn’t surprise anyone. No one really expected to get on a plane to Hawaii in the coming weeks. The LPGA announced on Friday that it is further delaying its season in the wake of the coronavirus. Three more domestic events will be postponed: the Lotte Championship in Ko Olina, Oahu, Hawaii (April 15-18), the Hugel-Air Premia L.A. Open in Los Angeles (April 23-26) and the LPGA Mediheal Championship in Daly City, California (April 30-May 3).

Now for the good news: Whan rescheduled the ANA Inspiration for Sept. 10-13 at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. The Cambia Portland Classic in Portland, Oregon, which had previously been scheduled for those dates, will now take place Sept. 17-20.

The tour had previously postponed the ANA Inspiration, in addition to two more domestic stops in Phoenix and Carlsbad, California.

“I hope we’re playing golf by September,” said Lewis. “It seems a long time away right now, but with everything going on it’s really not.”

Whan informed his players of the changes with a personal letter in which he wrote that he and the tour had held out on postponement of those next events as long as they could – hoping the situation would improve. He told his players “you deserve better.”

“The truth is, every time I think we’ve made a plan to address changes, it never seems to be ‘long enough,’” he wrote. “I wish I could tell you when the LPGA Tour will resume our schedule, but the truth is, no one has those answers. Virtually all our events are concerned given the conditions they currently face in their respective markets. At this point, the only option is to reschedule what we can and hope the COVID-19 situation starts to improve. Trust me, patience is NOT my best quality, so this situation is hard on me, too.”

Whan also filmed a message of encouragement for social media this week, in which he spoke directly to fans and sponsors.

LPGA players are in the unique position of also having lost three international events in February and March that were to be played in the Asia Pacific region. The LPGA  has arguably been hit harder than many professional tours by the coronavirus. Nine consecutive events have now been canceled or postponed.

“I think it’s going to be mid-summer at best,” said Kim Kaufman. “The nature of our job is a lot of travel real fast. Honestly, I’m just preparing for June, July who knows?”

The next event on the Tour’s schedule is the Pelican Women’s Championship, to be played May 14-17 in Belleair, Florida. It would be a first-year event. The PGA Championship was scheduled to take place that weekend in San Francisco, however, and already has been postponed.

Kaufman said that while the country clubs are closed in Fort Worth, Texas, there’s one public course and one driving range that’s still open. She’s still heading out to practice when she can, anticipating that those will be shut down soon too.

“I’m trying to use this time to work on a swing change that I normally wouldn’t do with an off-week or two,” she said.

Now all she has is time.

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