LPGA players depending on PGA Tour to get it right with COVID-19


Months ago, Stacy Lewis stated that any tournament the LPGA manages to get in for the rest of 2020 would be a bonus.

“And it’s still ringing true,” she said.

The Houstonian had her own freak-out moment recently after Texas reported 5,000-plus new cases of COVID-19 for a second consecutive day, with the average age of new patients dropping dramatically.

The LPGA’s restart is slated for late July/early August with back-to-back events in Toledo, Ohio. Lewis plans to compete and bring her daughter, Chesnee.

LPGA players are keeping an eye on what’s happening on the PGA Tour because, quite frankly, they’re depending on the men’s success.

“As an LPGA player I want the PGA Tour do this right, and I want these guys to be smart,” said Lewis. “Everything they’re doing is affecting us, it’s affecting junior golf, it’s affecting everybody.”

Kim Kaufman hopes that the PGA Tour’s positive tests – and increased protocols – will be a wake-up call for LPGA players and caddies to be “super diligent.”

“Hopefully, we don’t have those weeks where we’re going to be relaxed,” she said.

Kaufman says she could see players who live in Europe choosing to stay in Europe rather than come to the U.S. and quarantine, only to fly back over to the United Kingdom for the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and AIG Women’s British Open.

At the same time, any players currently living overseas who are concerned about Solheim Cup points or Olympics rankings might feel it necessary to make the trip.

“I definitely think we’ll see some girls that stay home,” said Kaufman, “and I don’t blame them.”

Brittany Altomare said players received a survey asking how likely they’d compete in Scotland. Altomare said she felt there wasn’t enough information available yet to make a decision. Her biggest concern is getting stuck overseas with no timetable on a return home.

There will be a Zoom call on July 8 to let players know if the Scottish events are a go.

That being said, Altomare appreciated PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan’s comments during the Traveler’s Championship, speaking to the need to “learn to live in an environment of COVID-19.”

“I don’t think this is going away,” said Altomare, “and if it does, it’s not going to be anytime soon. We have to learn to conduct business and conduct our lives with this virus. We can’t just keep everything shut down.”

The fact that several players and caddies have tested positive for COVID-19 since the PGA Tour restarted shouldn’t come as a shock to anybody, noted Brittany Lang, who has already booked her trip to Ohio.

Lang also plans to bring her daughter, Shay, who arrived on Jan. 23 via cesarean delivery, to Toledo. The 2016 U.S. Women’s Open champion teed it up for the first time since giving birth at the Texas Women’s Open in early June followed by a start on the Women’s All Pro Tour.

“Oh my god, it was so much fun,” said Lang of getting back to competition.

The LPGA has yet to roll out the specifics of its restart plan but the spectator-free start at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Inverness July 31-Aug. 2 gives the tour an opportunity to test its procedures before fans pack in Aug. 6-9 at the Marathon Classic.

The LPGA hasn’t crowned a champion since Feb. 16 when Inbee Park hoisted the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open trophy. The PGA tour is scheduled to complete seven tournaments before the LPGA puts another tee in the ground.

“If the PGA Tour can continue to play,” said Altomare, “I think we have a shot. I guess nothing is really guaranteed at this point.”

 

 



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