This year started off with so much promise. New events and record purses for the LPGA season. The global platform and pride that only the Olympics can bring. And the LPGA’s 70th anniversary, an opportunity to celebrate the gritty determination of our 13 Founders who created the world’s longest running women’s professional sports organization.
Then the world changed. As golf’s “global tour,” the LPGA was among the first professional sports leagues to suspend play as a result of the COVID-19. In early February, with the support and understanding of our sponsors, our events in Thailand, Singapore and China were canceled. And our schedule to resume play in Phoenix in March has been suspended since then. We are working hard to reschedule many of these events and to provide our fans with a chance to see their favorite LPGA players compete again this year. But as I write this column, the timeline for the return of sports is uncertain. To paraphrase Dr. Anthony Fauci, the virus is setting the schedule.
Like people everywhere, we are humbled, grateful and inspired by those on the front lines of the COVID response: the women and men in healthcare; first responders; utility workers; the people who are keeping our stores stocked and supplies delivered. Thank you for your dedication and your service.
We are also moved and motivated by the many acts of compassion and creativity we’ve seen as our world responds – separate but together. Teachers connecting with their students over video. Musicians and artists sharing their gifts on balconies and online. The human spirit is our strongest connection and we’ve found new ways to cheer, to contribute and to comfort those in need.
When we measure what we do at the LPGA against the race to stop a global pandemic, there’s no comparison. But there is a place and a purpose. The time will come – soon, we hope – to rediscover the connection, the passion and, yes, the relief that only sports can bring.
Over the past few weeks, the LPGA – and Symetra and LET – have been hard at work with our wonderful partners to reschedule events for later this year. The cooperation and support we’ve received from our sponsors has been nothing short of extraordinary. They value what the LPGA represents – on and off the golf course. And so, we practice. We prepare to resume play. And we stay connected with our fans.
In our sport, the golf clap is a universal sign of respect and appreciation. It’s a beautiful sound that we can’t wait to hear. Until then, we wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you. To everyone on the front lines, to the everyday heroes in our midst, and to our sponsors who have stood with us during this difficult time, on behalf of all of us at the LPGA, #weclapforeyou.
Please share your stories of thanks with the hashtag #weclapforeyou