LPGA Tour to resume with plenty of testing, maybe some fans

FILE - In this May 6, 2015, file photo , LPGA commissioner Mike Whan speaks during a press conference at The Players Championship golf tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The LPGA Tour is pushing back the restart of its season at least another month. The target now is a tournament in Michigan on July 15-18, and that depends on whether it's safe to return. Even three months away, LPGA commissioner Whan took note that next on the LPGA schedule were events in Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey, and said there would need to be improvement in the coronavirus situation for those tournaments to be played. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
FILE - In this May 6, 2015, file photo , LPGA commissioner Mike Whan speaks during a press conference at The Players Championship golf tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The LPGA Tour is pushing back the restart of its season at least another month. The target now is a tournament in Michigan on July 15-18, and that depends on whether it's safe to return. Even three months away, LPGA commissioner Whan took note that next on the LPGA schedule were events in Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey, and said there would need to be improvement in the coronavirus situation for those tournaments to be played. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DUBLIN, Ohio – The LPGA Tour is ready to get back to work for the first time in nearly six months with a plan that includes saliva testing for the coronavirus and no illusions the rest of the year will go smoothly.

The LPGA Tour was last played on Feb. 16 when Inbee Park won the Women's Australian Open. Three tournaments in Asia were halted, and then the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sports.

Four of the five majors were moved to later in the year — the Evian Championship in France was canceled — and the tour already has lost 13 tournaments. Some of those canceled events, in a show of support for the tour, have pitched in financially to help those that can play.

“I fully believe we'll lose another event or two or three along the way,” Commissioner Mike Whan said Wednesday. “I couldn't really tell you which ones, but it would be probably naive of me to think we are just going to roll through our season and roll through different countries and be able to play exactly as we have slated.

“But I'm excited about what we have.”

Whan and his staff have been in constant contact with the PGA Tour, now in its sixth week back.

The LPGA Tour is to resume July 31 with the LPGA Drive On Championship, a one-time event with a $1 million purse at Inverness Club in Toledo, site of next year's Solheim Cup. It's where Paul Azinger won the PGA Championship in 1993.

The Marathon Classic follows in nearby Sylvania, and Whan hopes by the end of the week to learn whether it will have fans. The Memorial on the PGA Tour was supposed to be the first golf tournament with fans, a plan that was scrapped two weeks ago as cases spiked and players weren't comfortable with widening the bubble.