ShopRite LPGA Classic Rescheduled Again, Moved To October
The ShopRite LPGA Classic "has been rescheduled again" because of the coronavirus pandemic and "now hopes to be played Oct. 2-4," according to Michael McGarry of the PRESS OF ATLANTIC CITY. The tourney was previously scheduled to be played July 29-31. Tim Erensen, Managing Partner of Eiger Marketing Group, which owns and operates the Classic, said, "This buys us another two months for the world to get closer to whatever the new normal is going to be." Erensen said that the event "hopes to have fans attend and also hold its pro-am events." McGarry notes the 54-hole tourney also "received another purse boost and now boasts a tournament record" $2M in prize money. The purse was "increased because sponsors of LPGA events that were canceled by the pandemic have offered some of their prize funds to increase purses for remaining events." The move to October also "puts the Classic in a more advantageous spot on the LPGA schedule." Meanwhile, the LPGA had "planned to play the Meijer Classic in Michigan from Oct. 1-4," but that event was canceled yesterday (PRESS OF ATLANTIC CITY, 5/21).
RETAINING STATUS: LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan announced that LPGA and Symetra Tour status earned for the '20 season "will be retained" for the '21 season. GOLFWEEK.com's Julie Williams noted the seasons "will be combined for the purpose of eligibility even as they historically remain two distinct seasons." The decision effectively "protects a player from losing the status she earned in 2020 because of a lack of opportunities or hesitation about returning to competition before she's ready." The LPGA also announced that there "will be no Q-School or Q-Series in the fall" (GOLFWEEK.com, 5/20).
SAFETY PROTOCOLS: GOLFCHANNEL.com's Randall Mell noted part of the new LPGA safety protocols for returning amid the coronavirus pandemic stipulates that players "will be allowed to carry their own bags for the rest of the 2020 season, if they so choose." This is a "temporary option designed to protect players who don't have regular tour caddies, who may feel a heightened risk working with unfamiliar local caddies." Still, the news "didn't land well among LPGA caddies eager to return when the tour makes its scheduled restart this summer" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 5/20).