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The coronavirus pandemic has taken yet another event from the LPGA’s 2020 schedule.
The LPGA announced Friday that it is canceling the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland, Michigan, in July, with plans for the team event to return in 2021. Tournament officials cited continuing health and safety concerns amid the pandemic.
“The decision by Dow and the LPGA to cancel was certainly not easy,” Dow Chairman and CEO Jim Fitterling said. “We explored all available options, and the LPGA has been working with us every step of the way. We are convinced that moving toward planning an incredible tournament in 2021 is the right decision to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Our goal is to grow and improve each year, and we look forward to accomplishing that next year.”
The event was scheduled to be the LPGA’s return from its long pause in play, with the two-woman team competition planned July 15-18. As the tour’s revised schedule is currently configured, the Marathon Classic is now set as the return July 23-26 outside Toledo, Ohio.
The LPGA hasn’t staged an event since the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in mid-February.
The pandemic has now affected 22 of the LPGA’s 34 events, with 10 canceled and 13 rescheduled.
The revised schedule now stretches from late July to the third week of December, with the CME Group Tour Championship (Dec. 17-20) planned as the season-ending event, following the rescheduled U.S. Women’s Open.
The original schedule featured 34 events with a total purse of $75.1 million. The overall schedule now features 24 events, including the four played at year’s start, with a total prize money of $59.55 million.
“While we are disappointed that the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational will not be held this year, I am excited that our friends at Dow have extended our relationship and will be hosting us in Midland for many years,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said. “As I’ve said since this pandemic started, while we will do all we can to play safely in 2020, the most important thing is to ensure the long-term health of our tour. We are very thankful to the team at Dow for their ongoing and extended support. The 2019 Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational was an incredible addition to our schedule, and I’m excited to see what they bring to the table in 2021.”
Michigan is under stay-at-home orders that run through May 28. Michiganders can’t leave their homes except to run critical errands, engage in safe outdoor activities or to go to specified jobs.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s first stay-at-home order was first put into effect through the end of April. It was extended until May 15 and then extended again.
Michigan’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 49,582 as of Thursday, with 4,787 deaths. That’s the fourth most deaths in the nation.