LPGA commissioner considers combining events in face of coronavirus

March 18, 2020
LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan

The LPGA Tour has canceled or postponed six events this year. Given the fluidity of the coronavirus outbreak, the remaining 24 this season certainly are in question.

Why not double up?

One tournament’s prize money plus another tournament’s prize money, when the tour decides it’s safe to play again. LPGA Tour Mike Whan told golfchannel.com on Wednesday that it’s a possibility.

“Could you have two sponsors come together in one event, so instead of playing each event for $1.5 million, you’re playing one event for $2.8 million?” Whan said. “Yeah, I think you could.”

Last month, the LPGA Tour canceled the Honda LPGA Thailand, the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore and the Blue Bay LPGA in China. Then last Thursday, the tour postponed the Volvik Founders Cup, the Kia Classic and the ANA Inspiration, the year’s first major. The next tournament on the schedule is the April 15-18 Lotte Championship, which would be just over two months since the last event, the Australian Open.

Whan did not give specifics on how a combination would work.

“I don’t think you could expect to see a heavy dose of that, but I think you can expect to see at least one,” Whan told golfchannel.com. “This is going to be the year of an asterisk. There’s no getting around that. To say we’ve always done something a certain way is no longer an acceptable answer.

“Everything is on the table.”

On Tuesday, Whan said on a video on the LPGA’s website that he was “sorry” over the uncertainty of the coronavirus outbreak.

“I know you don’t like the break,” he said. “I know I don’t like the break. But let’s face it — we’re on a break for all of the right reasons. There are people all over the world, including right here where I’m coming from, that are challenged by this virus and it’s affecting people’s personal lives. We needed to do what we could to make sure that we weren’t part of any kind of spread of this virus.

“At the same time, we’re ready.”

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