With six of his events already canceled or postponed this season and more likely to meet the same fate, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan is studying the possibility of some creative rescheduling.
Like doubling up postponed events.
Should extreme measures be required to deliver what is being lost with the COVID-19 threat growing, Whan is exploring some out-of-the-box thinking.
Like a kind of super event.
Like a two-for-one, big-purse tournament.
“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 to GolfChannel.com. “Yeah, I think you could.”
Whan did not lay out any specifically planned pairing of sponsors, but, conceivably, the postponed Volvik Founders Cup could be merged with an existing event, to solve problems created by today’s extraordinary circumstances.
Two events could be combined to deliver two title sponsors one special event.
“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 said. “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.”
The LPGA has already lost its early Asian swing, with last month’s cancellations of the Honda LPGA Thailand, HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore and the Blue Bay LPGA in China.
The LPGA announced last week that three more events were being postponed, this week’s Volvik Founders Cup, next week’s Kia Classic and the following week’s ANA Inspiration, the year’s first major.
The LPGA has open weeks May 7-10, July 2-5, July 30-Aug. 2, Sept. 17-20, Sept. 24-27, Oct. 8-11 and Nov. 12-15.
Whan prefers postponing, rather than canceling, any more events, which may require delivering tour partners something that can be creatively reimagined into those open windows.
“You should assume we won’t have many open dates on our schedule once we begin teeing it up again,” Whan said.
The ANA Inspiration, played in the desert in Rancho Mirage, California, won’t be moved to any of the intense summer heat dates available, with the open fall dates more suitable.