You can hear all of Whan’s interview with No Laying Up here:
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan appeared on the No Laying Up podcast this week where he provided a frank assessment of the LPGA Tour, Epson Tour and Ladies European Tour seasons as well as the game’s overall response to the current pandemic.
“I’m usually spending my time working on a season two or three years from now,” Whan said. “Now I’m working on the season two and three months from now. (The original schedule in) 2020, we put to bed back in early 2019, so to be spending virtually every minute of every day working with different sponsors and different tournaments – how to get them in a (2020) date that works, and we obviously have more events than dates – it’s been a busy, stressful time.”
Whan noted that all plans remain tentative all major tours navigate the uncertainties of this health crisis.
“Just like any other tour you talk to, we’ve got three scenarios: a scenario that says we start playing in the next month; a scenario that says we don’t start playing until mid-July; a scenario that says we don’t start playing until mid-September. Each one of those scenarios has a schedule with it. Each one of those schedules has economic repercussions that we have to deal with. Each one of those schedules have regulation adjustments and changes that we have to think through.”
He also acknowledged that the LPGA Tour had more of a heads-up on the coronavirus because of the global nature of the schedule.
“We were COVID before most of this side of the world had heard of COVID,” Whan said. “Late January, we started talking to our tournaments in Thailand, China and Singapore. I think back then – and it feels like three years ago, now – we probably canceled those more out of what we didn’t know (than what we did). There was this new virus. There were a lot of countries having different reactions to it. We were not sure how widespread it was going to be.
“I think one of things that caught our attention early on was that if somebody on the Tour, or a volunteer, or a scoring partner, anybody in the traveling circus, would have come down with this disease, that likely would have quarantined us in place for 14 to 21 days.
“You say that today and everybody is like, ‘of course,’ but back in the end of January (it was a new idea). This was before there were cruise ships being held at docks. I remember thinking, we could go to Thailand, Singapore and China and some walking scorer gets this disease and we’re going to be in a hotel for 21 days. After that, I wasn’t sure how many of our players could get out.
“If you jump forward to the last cancelations, that was definitely based on what we did know.”