LPGA plans restart at Michigan team event

(AP) – The LPGA Tour bought itself an extra month to make sure it’s safe to resume playing, releasing a new schedule that could end with two of its biggest events and finish five days before Christmas.

The LPGA hopes to restart on July 15-18 at a team event in Michigan and play every week except for the week of the Masters (Nov. 12-15) and Thanksgiving until the season ends in blockbuster fashion — the U.S. Women’s Open followed by the CME Group Tour Championship, with a combined $10.5 million in prize money.

The Michigan stop is the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland.

The mid-July start means there’s nowhere to put tournaments if there’s another delay. The UL International Crown was among five tournaments canceled for the year — the International Crown will stick to its biennial schedule and resume in 2022 — but the tour has lost only nine tournaments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Any more delays likely would mean a hybrid season that ends in 2021.

In an unusual show of cooperation, Whan said, title sponsors who will not have tournaments this year have offered to boost prize money at tournaments still on the schedule, leading to the increase in prize money.

The LPGA Tour had planned to resume June 19-21 with the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. That was pushed back to the end of August. The PGA of America announced Wednesday that the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship will move from the last week in June to Oct. 8-11 at Aronimink outside Philadelphia.