LPGA postpones events amid coronavirus outbreak: ‘If I’m wrong, I regret that the rest of my life’

·3 min read
While he felt they could still hold events, even if they barred fans, LPGA commissioner Mike Wahan said he couldn’t live with himself if he was wrong.
While he felt the LPGA could still hold events, even if it barred fans, commissioner Mike Wahan said he couldn’t live with himself if he was wrong. (Kent C. Horner/Getty Images for ANA)

LPGA commissioner Mike Wahan felt like he could hold the next several events on its schedule, even amid the massive COVID-19 outbreak that seems to have paralyzed the sports world in the United States.

That risk, however, wasn’t something he was willing to put on the line.

So, the LPGA announced on Thursday that the next three events on its schedule, including the first major championship of the year, would be postponed.

“I feel fairly confident that we could probably play in Phoenix, maybe we could even play Carlsbad, play without fans and keep everybody else out … but can I live with it if I’m wrong? If I’m wrong, I regret that the rest of my life,” Wahan said Thursday on the Golf Channel, via Golfweek.

“If this is a decision that’s wrong the other way, we should have played, I feel terrible about it, but I can live with that. This is a decision that I may not like but I don’t think it’s one I’ll regret.”

The Tour was gearing up for next week’s Volvik Founders Cup in Phoenix and the Kia Classic near San Diego the following week before its first major championship of the year, the ANA Inspiration, on April 2. Those tournaments will now be held, hopefully, later this year. The Symetra Tour also postponed its next two events in California.

Wahan’s thoughts were likely similar to what was going through the heads of fellow league commissioners in recent days, as nearly every sports league in the United States has suspended operations. The NBA made the first move on Wednesday night, after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, which sparked a domino effect across the sports world.

The PGA Tour followed the LPGA — and the rest of the sports world — on Thursday night. It canceled the rest of The Players Championship and the next three Tour events, along with all other Tour’s, through the Valero Texas Open. The next event on its schedule is now The Masters, the first major championship of the year.

Granted, the risk of the virus isn’t as great at a golf tournament as it would be at a basketball game, for example. While there were an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 people at The Players Championship on Thursday, they were spread out over an entire course outdoors.

That risk, though, is still present.

Because of that fact, Wahan made the move to postpone tournaments.

“This is a difficult situation and as we navigate these uncertain times, we appreciate the support of all those involved with the LPGA. I am fully committed to rescheduling these important events on our 2020 schedule, especially our first major, the ANA Inspiration,” Whan said, via Golfweek. “Our thoughts are with all of those around the world affected by this virus. And on a personal level, it pains me to see the impact of this health crisis on our athletes, our sponsors and our fans. That said, I know keeping our LPGA family safe, and all those who follow us safe, has to be my top priority.

“We will continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation with our global health partners and are planning for different scenarios for future LPGA events should they be necessary.”

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