LPGA boss says players will keep status for 2021 season

Miami (AFP) –


Top women golfers will keep their status on the LPGA Tour for 2021, commissioner Mike Whan says, because the coronavirus-halted 2020 campaign has not delivered the season they earned.

Whan says the abbreviated season, shuttered in February after four events and tentatively scheduled to return in late July, will be considered official.

While this year's winners can move up on the priority list, 2020 rookies will still be considered newcomers in 2021.

"We will have official wins, players can shuffle into a winner category, they can play their way into (December's season-ending) Tournament of Champions in Orlando, but we feel players were not given the season that they earned in '19 for '20," Whan said.

"They might have some version of a '20 season. But they don't have a full season to perform under the categories they earned coming into the year."

Global travel issues could impact LPGA players and disrupt a schedule still hopeful of playing events in Europe in August, in Asia in October and November and 12 North American tournaments before year's end.

Outside of medical and winner exemptions, Whan said, players "will essentially have the same priority position in '21 that you had walking into '20.

"Not knowing exactly when we'll play, what will happen with travel restrictions, knowing that there will still be changes, we really felt that the right thing to do was make sure that while COVID-19 is going to affect 2020 for everybody, it shouldn't affect your career."

LPGA Tour qualifying events planned later in the year have been cancelled and pre-tournament qualifying for 2020 LPGA events has been suspended, fields to be set the week before events.