The LPGA Tour announced Wednesday that it is preparing to restart its 2020 season in mid-July.
Tour officials said that they had informed athletes about the targeted date, and noted that these plans are subject to change, depending on conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
New LPGA Schedule Begins with Great Lakes Swing
The current plans would see the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland, Michigan reopen the LPGA Tour from July 15-18, followed by tournaments in Ohio and New Jersey on the next two weekends.
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said that while it may be difficult to make definitive plans, he believes the tour designed the new schedule as responsibly as possible.
“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 our athletes will be excited to attend,” Whan said in a statement. “While July seems like a long way away, we are certainly aware that restarting our season in Michigan, Ohio, and New Jersey will require a continued improvement in the situation in each of those states.”
The LPGA Tour has moved several events back in the calendar. Most recently, the tour postponed the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship from its initial June 19-21 date to Aug. 28-30. Several other events have moved to fall dates in order to create as close to a full season as possible.
Those events include the Women’s PGA Championship, which will now start on Oct. 6 rather than in late June. The ANA Inspiration and the US Women’s Open – two of the additional majors in women’s golf – have also rescheduled their events. Meanwhile, the Evian Championship and the Women’s British Open remain on the schedule in August.
Olympic Qualifying Extended For Tokyo 2021
While the LPGA Tour will hold fewer events, the weekly prize funds will be higher, averaging nearly $2.7 million per event.
“Many of our remaining events will feature higher purses in 2020 thanks in part to some of our sponsors, who could not reschedule their events, offering some of their prize funds to increase other purses,” Whan said.
The PGA Tour plans to restart its season in June, beginning with the Charles Schwab Challenge on June 11.
Meanwhile, the International Golf Federation has modified its Olympic qualification system now that organizers have moved the Tokyo Summer Olympics to 2021. Players on both the PGA and LPGA tours will now accumulate Olympic Golf Rankings points through June 2021, with 60 players qualifying for each Olympic event.
“Having received from the IOC confirmation of the dates for when the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be held and the qualification principles, the fairest and most equitable way to determine the qualifying athletes was to align the previous qualification system with these new dates,” IGF Executive Director Antony Scanlon said in a statement. “We are pleased that the IOC swiftly approved these changes to provide clarity on this important area.”