How COVID is still impacting women’s golf — Must-click women’s golf links
Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, Feb. 2, 2023
Happy Golf Thursday friends! Let’s dive right in — the latest news to come from the LPGA is that the Blue Bay event in China, originally scheduled for March 9-12, has been cancelled for another year due to COVID-19 complications. The last time the tournament was held in the fall of 2018, where Gaby Lopez fired a four-day total of -8 to claim the victory.
On Tuesday, the tour released an official statement saying:
“The 2023 Blue Bay LPGA, originally scheduled for March 9 – 12, is cancelled further to the guidance of our partners, the China Golf Association, due to ongoing COVID-19 related matters. We thank Hainan Greentown Blue Bay, the China Golf Association, CLPGA and IMG for all their efforts and very much look forward to returning to Hainan in 2024.”
According to BBC, Chinese health officials have stated that the countries current wave of COVID-19 infections is ‘coming to an end’ and there wasn’t a dramatic uptick after the Lunar New Year holiday.
These two reports are a bit contradictory, but ultimately I side with the decision of the tour to maintain player safety.
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In conjunction with the news coming from China, 2022 breakout star Linn Grant also has been having COVID-related issues. She’s completely healthy — just not vaccinated and will likely miss the first major, the Chevron Championship, due to her vaccination status.
The U.S. Government (TSA) extends the vaccine mandate for international traveling into the USA until at least April 10, 2023. However, the the Biden administration announced plans to end both the national emergency and public health emergency declarations on May 11.
Chevron is scheduled for April 20-23, but Grant’s agent Pelle Krüger, isn’t optimistic about her being able to compete in the tournament.
Grant looks to play in the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown, scheduled for May 4-7 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, as member of the Swedish team. The top four Swedish players in the Rolex Rankings as of April 3 will qualify for the event. Grant is currently the second-highest ranked Swede, behind Madelene Sagstrom (25th).
For the most part, it seems like our lives have gone back to “normal”. The number of people who still wear masks is dwindling. Restaurants aren’t asking for proof of vaccination anymore. And if you’re a U.S. citizen, you can pretty much travel like you could prior to March 2020.
As much as we’d like to just end the pandemic and get back to our old selves, these two stories are reminders that COVID is still lingering, and the potential threat for another wave is always possible. It’s easy to place the ongoing COVID complications in China into another sphere, and as long as it stays over there we are fine, but not so long ago we all had a hard reality check that we’re more connected than we think.
Similarly to countries like Korea and Thailand, China offers a huge consumer market for women’s golf. The fan base is massive, they spend money to watch tournaments, they buy apparel, and the exposure that players get while they are there rivals any other place in the world. The fact that it’s been since October 2019 that the tour has even hosted an event in China, means that so much money and exposure is being left on the table.
The purse for Blue Bay was slated to be $2.1 million, without it, the record $101.4 million total prize fund for the season drops below $100 million, which was such a major storyline at the end of 2022. How will the tour adjust? Will another event purse increase to subside the loss? Only time will tell, unfortunately.
There’s another event, the Buick LPGA Shanghai scheduled for Oct. 13-15, so hopefully by then, the tour is ready and able to travel to China safely and comfortably.
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This week in women’s golf
If you have links you wish to share for Golf Thursday, sources for golf news, or want to talk about anything at all, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org ! Discussion of any kind is always welcome…I mean it…MESSAGE ME!
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Five at The IX: ‘Black History of American Golf’: Mini Documentary
In honor of the start of Black History Month, I want to do a similar thing that I did last year where we focus each Five at The IX during the month of February on the revolutionary things Black people have done for and through the game of golf.
Regardless of status or skill, there are stories waiting to be shared and I want to grant them a platform! If there is something you want me to highlight specifically, please shoot me a message!
To kick things off, this mini documentary from a couple years ago, curates a timeline dated back to the foundation of the USGA in 1894 up to our modern era of golf. Within the first three minutes, 5 different Black golfers who shaped our game were identified and I had never heard of them before.
What did you learn?
|By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer|
|By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer|
|By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next|
|By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX|
|By: Eleni Demestihas, @strongforecheck, The Ice Garden|
|By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer|