By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 07/08/20 4:39pm
The ANA Inspiration will go ahead in September without spectators, tournament organisers have confirmed.
The 49th staging of the prestigious women’s major is scheduled to start on September 10, having been postponed from it’s original spring date due to the coronavirus shutdown.
Major tournament golf in the women’s game returns later this month with the AIG Women’s Open at Royal Troon, which will also be closed to spectators, and officials for the ANA Inspiration have been forced to adopt the same policy.
A statement read: “The decision to play the 2020 ANA Inspiration without the famously enthusiastic crowds was taken in order for organisers and stakeholders to deliver this prestigious major with the relevant safeguarding and protocols in place.
“The tournament has a robust operational plan which has been established with medical and health and safety specialists to make sure that appropriate measures are in position to meet the high standards required by the State of California and Riverside County Health Department with the health and safety of the players and tournament staff the highest priority.
“Fans will be able to watch the ANA Inspiration on Golf Channel and Sky Sports.”
LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan said: “We appreciate the friendship of our partners at ANA, who continue to support the LPGA Tour through these unprecedented times.
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“The champion’s walk at 18 and the jump into Poppie’s Pond are two of the greatest traditions on the LPGA Tour. While we wish we could have fans with us in person to celebrate these exciting moments, ensuring the health and safety of everyone inside and outside the ropes is of the utmost importance.”
Tournament manager, Alyssa Randolph, added: “This was such a tough decision to make given the hugely important role our fans play in making the ANA Inspiration, but their health and safety was front of mind as we reluctantly reached this conclusion.
“It is very comforting that we will be back at Mission Hills Country Club soon to celebrate the tournament’s very special 50th anniversary next March by which time we might hope to be in a position to be able to welcome back all our loyal fans. In the meantime, we are hoping everyone will tune into the extensive TV coverage shown globally to support their favorite players next month competing for this coveted title.”