LPGA pushes back schedule to mid-July in hopes of safe start


By Doug Ferguson - AP Golf Writer



The LPGA Tour won’t resume its schedule until the middle of July at the earliest, aiming for a safe restart to a season that has been shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The next tournament on the schedule had been the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship on June 19-21, a week after the PGA Tour hopes to return in Texas.

Now the earliest start for the women would be July 15-18 for the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Michigan.

Meanwhile, the PGA of America said it was moving the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship from the last week in June to Oct. 8-11 at Aronimink, outside Philadelphia.

“To be honest, being first has never been the goal when it comes to returning to play in this new normal,” LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said. “We have built a schedule that we think is as safe as possible given what we know about travel bans, testing availability and delivering events that our sponsors and athletes will be excited to attend.”

Even three months away, Whan took note that next on the LPGA schedule were events in Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey, and said there would need to be improvement in the coronavirus situation for those tournaments to be played.

The Arkansas event was pushed back to the last weekend in August.

Other changes mean the LPGA Tour hopes to play into December. The Volunteers of America Classic in the Dallas area goes to Dec. 3-6, one week before the U.S. Women’s Open in Houston.

The CME Group Tour Championship would be Dec. 17-20 and conclude the season.

As for the majors, the first one on the schedule is the Evian Championship in France on Aug. 6-9, the same week the men’s PGA Championship is set to be played in San Francisco.

Because of limited dates, four LPGA tournaments that had been postponed now are canceled for 2020 in Phoenix, Honolulu, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The LPGA also said the UL International Crown, involving four-player teams from eight countries, will not be held this year.

But some of those canceled events are pitching in by boosting prize money in other events, and Whan said the average purse if play resumes would be about $2.7 million.

By Doug Ferguson

AP Golf Writer