The LPGA is looking at adding a second Drive On Championship for this season, likely to be played in October as a bridge event for the four events in the fall Asian swing that have been or will likely be canceled.
Commissioner Mike Whan said ahead of the ANA Inspiration, the LPGA’s second major of 2020, that the Tour will add a new event in the same model as the initial Drive On Championship at 2021 Solheim Cup host Inverness Club in Ohio.
The second event will have to be created out of necessity, as the four-event Asian swing has already been cut in half by cancellations, with the other two events in peril.
“Looking ahead, I think you all know our Asian swing in the fall is certainly doubtful,” Whan said. “Two of those events, Taiwan and China we’ve already announced, and the other two waiting to hear back a final government perspective. I would be surprised if either Korea or Japan were to get the green light this week.
“And given that, we could kind ourselves in a four-week off that we didn’t plan when we started talking about a restart back in April and May.”
The $1 million purse for the 54-hole event was funded by sponsors of tournaments that have already been canceled for this year. Danielle Kang won the first of back-to-back titles to kick off the restart in the tournament.
Whan said there could be two Drive On events added, though one is definitely in the books and will be played in the United States.
This year has been challenging for the LPGA, with the organization taking a Paycheck Protection Program loan in a seven-figure sum. However, Whan said there are no sponsor defections going into next year, meaning the 2021 LPGA schedule should look as healthy as it would have in a regular year.
“I’m really proud to say that all of our title sponsors that were scheduled for ’21 are still with us in ’21, so there’s nobody stepping off the official event schedule,” he said. “So I feel good about what you’ll see from us in ’21.”