One-hundred-degree temperatures aren’t the only concern for players and caddies this week at the ANA Inspiration.
Because of the California wildfires, the air quality has become so poor that the LPGA is considering allowing players to use a golf cart during competition.
Last week, with the long-range forecast calling for high temperatures above 100 degrees, the tour announced that players and caddies could use a cart in practice rounds, and that caddies could use a push cart or golf cart during the tournament rounds.
On Tuesday, Heather Daly-Donofrio, the tour’s chief communications and tour operations officer, said that they were also monitoring the air quality index (AQI) and that could lead to some changes during the LPGA’s second major of the year.
“If the high temperatures and the AQI converge to a point where we feel that’s unhealthy for walking – again, we’re not there yet – but we have not ruled out carts for players on tournament days,” she said. “We’ve heard from our players that they want to walk, that it’s a major championship, but what’s more important right now is the health and safety of our athletes and our caddies.”
The tour’s on-site meteorologist has predicted high temperatures of 100, 108, 110 and 113 degrees, respectively, during the tournament rounds. Because of the wildfires that are ravaging the state, the air quality index forecast in Rancho Mirage, California, is “very unhealthy” Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and “unhealthy” on Sunday, according to IQAir.com.
For now, though, the players are mostly concerned with the scalding-hot temperatures, with Nelly Korda predicting it’ll play a “big role” this week at Mission Hills. Lydia Ko said it was so hot that a player could burn her hand grabbing the car door handle. “You can’t drink too much water,” she said.
“I normally think 70s is perfect, 80s is nice, 90s it’s getting hot, and 100 you’re like, Whoa,” Ko said. “This is triple digits, and it’s over 110. Everybody is playing in the same weather, and we’re just lucky to be here. But at least the champion will be able to have a nice dive into the cool water of Poppie’s Pond on Sunday.”