Golfweek’s Steve DiMeglio previews the field this week for the PGA Championship, the first major of the year, at TPC Harding Park.
On a list of big surprises in sports these days, news that the ANA Inspiration will be played in Rancho Mirage without spectators ranks pretty low.
The LPGA major at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage was fighting a losing battle over having fans on the course in September. When the spike in the coronavirus hit in the last month, it was pretty obvious that having a large number of spectators walking the fairways or filling grandstands just didn’t make sense in a pandemic world.
Just getting the tournament played was going to be a victory, and the team at the ANA Inspiration, working with Riverside County authorities, managed to get the final approval to play.
Make no mistake, though, the decision about having fans or not was not really made by the tournament organizers or the LPGA. It was about rules and orders from the state and the county that killed off the idea of spectators.
More: Golf majors will be different in 2020, but they are majors just the same
More: No spectators on the course, but ANA Inspiration will be played in September
“Our choice, if it was possible, we would certainly not be without our fans,” said Michele Mair, vice president of golf communications for International Management Group, operators of the
(Reuters) – Next month’s ANA Inspiration, which is traditionally the LPGA’s first major championship of the year, will be played without spectators because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the elite women’s professional golf circuit said on Friday.
The Sept. 10-13 event at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California was originally slated to take place in April but was postponed because of the virus that halted professional sports across the globe.
“The champion’s walk at 18 and the jump into Poppie’s Pond are two of the greatest traditions on the LPGA Tour,” LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan said in a news release.
“While we wish we could have fans with us in person to celebrate these exciting moments, ensuring the health and safety of everyone inside and outside the ropes is of the utmost importance.”
Four of the LPGA’s five majors remain on the schedule this year, including the Aug. 20-23 Women’s British Open which will also be held without spectators at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland.
The Oct. 8-11 Women’s PGA Championship in Pennsylvania and Dec. 10-13 U.S. Women’s Open in Texas have not yet announced whether spectators will be allowed to attend.
In June, the LPGA cancelled Evian Championship that was scheduled for this week in France because of travel restrictions and governmental quarantine requirements related to the pandemic.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar
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