NAPLES, Fla. – Stacy Lewis is among players encouraged by LPGA commissioner Mike Whan’s pledge to move the Evian Championship back to the summer, but she still has issues over how the major championship is conducted.
The event was moved from July to September when it was declared the tour’s fifth major in 2013. Bad weather has plagued the event since.
Lewis skipped the major this year, when severe weather caused a controversial scrubbing of the first-round scores and an early decision to shorten the event to 54 holes. It marked the second time Evian was shortened to 54 holes since it became a major.
The calamity besetting this year’s Sunday finish, with Anna Nordqvist winning in a playoff in hard rain and hail, has led to fears in the player ranks that others may follow Lewis’ lead and skip the event.
Whan said the earliest that the Evian would be moved back to the summer would be 2019. Lewis said that means she won’t be playing again next year.
“Not being there this year and seeing what was going on, to me, it justified why I wasn’t there, just the decisions that were made and the way they were made,” Lewis said. “There are a lot of things that have to change, more than just the dates.”
Lewis said that a Sunday finish appears to be too much of a governing priority at Evian, to avoid having to hold hotel rooms over in the resort community, and to avoid players having to delay flights out.
Whan says the title sponsor didn’t dictate decisions.
“They make a big deal about not playing past Sunday,” Lewis said. “If it’s a major, I will stay there until Thursday. You should want to get 72 holes in, in the most fair conditions . . . I think if we are going to call it a major, we have to treat it like one. It’s not treated like a major, and yet we are calling it that.”
Lewis does relish a move back to the summer.
“The date is the biggest thing to me,” Lewis said. “Because it will make the golf course better. It will be warmer. It’s going to be a better tournament in general.”