LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan made another appearance on “A New Breed of Golf” with Michael Breed on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio late this week. In a wide-ranging interview, Whan reiterated what many fans and followers of the LPGA Tour already know: the tentative re-start for competition is the week of June 15th at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G.
“Right now, our plan is to start the week of June 15th,” Whan told Breed’s audience. “We took four of the five events that kind of went away in that last decision (to postpone resumption of play because of the coronavirus) and relocated them on our schedule. One of those events, the Pure Silk event at Kingsmill, we just moved to 2021, but the other four we were able to put in other weeks in the year. So, if things go our way and the virus does what it’s supposed to do, we believe we can tee it up starting on June 15 and essentially play non-stop except for the Thanksgiving weekend, all the way into the middle of December.”
Whan also pointed out that the LPGA Tour is not alone in looking at the second week in June as a potential re-start date. The PGA Tour, Major League Baseball and other professional leagues have similar tentative schedules.
“Every sport that I talk to, ourselves included, is working on plans for what is the smallest human footprint you put out there to make it safe for everybody if (the virus) is not ready,” Whan said when asked about potentially playing a few events without fans, which has been discussed by all leagues. “We’ll launch that scenario if we have to. It’s probably one of seven scenarios we have planned. But I certainly hope we don’t have to go that route because then you think we’d be walking a thinner line. And as much as I miss golf and as much as I want to give my athletes the opportunity to play, I never want to be part of some kind of safety issue given what the rest of the world has sacrificed to flatten this curve.”
However, Whan, like many Americans, is gaining a sense of hope and optimism. Part of that is based on the hospitalization and mortality projections being lowered. But some of it is also linked to Whan’s experience leading a global tour.
“In these kinds of times, all you can do is follow the leader and see how other people have tackled it,” he said. “And given what’s going on in (China and other early-infected regions where people have gone back to work and events are starting to resume) today gives me confidence about what could be going on in two-months’ time in this area.”