LPGA Tour to restart in Midland in mid-July; Meijer Classic moved to October

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Michigan has moved into the leadoff position for the LPGA Tour's targeted restart.

The LPGA Tour announced its new tentative schedule Wednesday, and the Great Lakes Bay Invitational — a two-person team event at Midland Country Club — is expected to be the first event back from the COVID-19 shutdown, set for July 15-18.

LPGA star Lexi Thompson

The tournament is entering its second year, and golf tours are sensitive to events early in their tenure, fearing any interruption could stall momentum.

It's one reason why the PGA Tour worked hard to keep Detroit's Rocket Mortgage Classic, which has been pushed back to the week of July 4.

The LPGA Tour also announced one of its prime regular-season tournaments, Grand Rapids' Meijer LPGA Classic, will move from its original date in June to Oct. 1-4.

The first three tournaments in the LPGA Tour restart are in Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey, three states hit hard by the coronavirus, particularly Michigan and New Jersey.

“While July seems like a long way away, we are certainly aware that restarting our season in Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey will require a continued improvement in the situation in each of those states," LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement.

"We have built a schedule that we think is as safe as possible given what we know about travel bans, testing availability, and delivering events that our sponsors and our athletes will be excited to attend."

The commissioner made no mention of fans.

The PGA Tour has committed to no fans for at least its first four events back, including the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club.

The LPGA has 21 tournaments left on the schedule through the end of the year, including the LPGA Championship, moved to Oct. 8-11, and the U.S. Women's Open, moved to Dec. 10-13.

The commissioner said $56 million in prize money will be up for grabs through the end of the season, with the two Michigan tournaments among the richest non-major tournaments on the schedule, $2.3 million each.

Scheduled state tournaments in 2020

Champions: May 21-24, Senior PGA Championship, Golf Club at Harbor Shores, Benton Harbor (CANCELED)

PGA: July 2-5, Rocket Mortgage Classic, Detroit Golf Club (originally May 28-31)

LPGA: July 15-18, Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, Midland Country Club

LPGA: Oct. 1-4, Meijer LPGA Classic, Blythefield Country Club, Belmont (originally June 11-14)

Champions: July 31-Aug. 2, Ally Challenge, Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, Grand Blanc


Twitter: @tonypaul1984