Defending champion Jin Young Ko not in ANA Inspiration field

The ANA Inspiration will have many of the traditional trappings of the LPGA major championship next week, but it won’t have a defending (...)

Defending champion Jin Young Ko not in ANA Inspiration field

The ANA Inspiration will have many of the traditional trappings of the LPGA major championship next week, but it won’t have a defending champion. In addition, the major will have rarely seen golf carts at a professional tournament because of projected triple-digit temperatures.

Jin Young Ko, who won last year’s ANA Inspiration by three shots and who went on to become the LPGA Rolex Player of the Year, will not be in the field when the rescheduled event is played Sept. 10-13.

Ko, the No. 1 player in the world rankings and from South Korea, has yet to play a tournament on the LPGA in 2020, a year in which the LPGA’s schedule has been jumbled by the COVID-19 virus.

Also not in the field of the major championship next week are Korean golfers Hyo-Joo Kim, ranked 10th in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, No. 11 Jeong Eun Lee6 and No. 13 So Yeon Ryu, the 2017 ANA Inspiration championship. All four of those players have been playing on the Korean LPGA for much of the summer as LPGA events were canceled or moved to new dates.

It will be the second major championship on the LPGA in four weeks that Ko and other top Korean players have skipped. Many of the players chose not to travel to Scotland two weeks ago for the AIG Women’s British Open.

Other Korean players have been playing LPGA events, including Hall of Famer In Bee Park, Sei Young Kim, I.K. Kim and world No. 4 Sung Hyun Park, all of whom are entered in the ANA Inspiration.

The Center for Disease Control still rates both the United States and South Korea as high risk for COVID-19, and there are travel restrictions between the two counties. While some Korean stars have American bases and came to the United States last February when the virus was causing cancellation of three tournaments in Asia, other golfers went to their home countries at the start of the pandemic.

In all, 15 of the top-20 players in the world rankings are entered in the ANA Inspiration.

The last time a defending champion of the major championship at Mission Hills Country Club was not in the field the next year was in 2004, when 2003 winner Patricia Meunier-LeBouc missed the Rancho Mirage event after having a baby just seven weeks before the tournament.

The change in the date of the tournament because of COVID-19 has brought another health and safety concern to the event. With temperatures at the event expected to be at least 100 degrees each day and perhaps over 110 degrees on the weekend, the LPGA has decided to allow caddies in the tournament to use carts if they wish.

“Projected temperatures next week will range from 105-115 and we are very conscious of the high heat. 2020 has been the year of health and safety, and with that in mind, we will be allowing caddies to take carts for the week,” a memo Thursday from the LPGA to players and caddies said.

Players will not be allowed to ride in the carts, and caddies have the right to walk or use the carts.

Tournament play in the 49th annual ANA Inspiration begins Sept. 10.

Source : Golf Week More   

What's Your Reaction?

like
0
dislike
0
love
0
funny
0
angry
0
sad
0
wow
0

Next Article

Nick Hardy feeling back at home in Illinois during Lincoln Land Championship

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — University of Illinois graduate Nick Hardy has been pleased with his success so far this season on the Korn Ferry (...)

Nick Hardy feeling back at home in Illinois during Lincoln Land Championship

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — University of Illinois graduate Nick Hardy has been pleased with his success so far this season on the Korn Ferry Tour.

That continued after the first round of the Lincoln Land Championship on Thursday at Panther Creek Country Club.

Hardy started at 4-under through the first seven holes and finished at 2-under 71.

“I played well the first few holes,” said Hardy, who began on No. 10. “I think those are more of the easier holes on the course. I was happy to take care of those and play well on those.”

Hardy, 24, is 16th in the KFT point standings with five top-10 finishes, including a third-place finish in The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at Baha Mar in January.

“I’m in good shape on the points list,” the Northbrook native said. “I’ve been playing this summer. I’m happy with how consistent my game has been week in and week out. There’s been a lot of positives to take away from this year.”

Hardy attributed that to a positive mindset, something he needed down the stretch. He had three bogeys on the last nine holes but also two birdies. His tee shot on No. 8 forced a punch-out that led to a long bunker shot to the pin.

He salvaged a bogey and converted a tricky two-putt to save par on No. 9 to close the round.

Hardy said he was pretty happy with his day overall.

“I just made some mistakes today,” Hardy said. “I had four bogeys but I played pretty well. The wind’s going to pick up this afternoon, so I got a good number in for a first round. So, I’m still in it for the weekend.”

Hardy, who last appeared in this tournament two years ago, feels nothing but good vibes, even if some of his college acquaintances and all of the spectators can’t come out to see him play due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I love central Illinois. It’s obviously close to home for me and I love it here,” he said.

“With the COVID going on, you obviously can’t have spectators out here otherwise I’m sure there would be some buddies that would come out here. It’s too bad but it’s just good to be back here.”

Source : Golf Week More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.