After last week’s trial run with both the PGA Tour’s Charles Schwab Challenge and the Korn Ferry Tour’s Korn Ferry Challenge at Sawgrass, golf has been able to take away positives while making additional announcements for its upcoming season.
All of these announcements mean a lot of golf is coming soon, especially when it comes to the state of Ohio. In all, four pro golf tours — the PGA, the LPGA, the Champions and the Korn Ferry — will hold events in the Buckeye State before the summer is over.
While several regular stops across these respective pro golf tours will not be held this year, Ohio wins out, hosting six events among the four most major authorities in American golf, none of which require extensive travel for those in Pittsburgh or the surrounding area.
Though some will not have fans and others are likely to restrict attendance, it is a good chance for those who do get inside the gates to enjoy golf close to home. If one thing is clear, it’s that golf passed the test this first week with many eyes watching the PGA Tour to see how the week would be handled.
First, the PGA Tour officially announced it will fill its vacancy created by the cancellation of the John Deere Classic by contesting the Workday Charity Open on July 9-12 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. The John Deere Classic will return to the PGA Tour schedule in 2021.
Muirfield Village, of course, has held the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide since 1976 and has a rich tradition led by Jack Nicklaus, the tournament’s host and founder.
The Workday Charity Open will be the fourth and final PGA Tour event to be held without fans present. The full-field event will consist of 156 players battling for a $6.2 million purse.
“We are extremely pleased to join with Workday and Muirfield Village Golf Club to present this new event as we continue our Return to Golf efforts,” Andy Pazder, Chief Tournament & Competitions Officer for the PGA Tour said in a press release. “Our special thanks go to Workday for partnering with us as title sponsor and for their pledge to make a significant charitable impact with the event.
“Memorial Tournament host Jack Nicklaus has always done what is best for the game of golf and in these unprecedented times, we are most appreciative of his Muirfield Village Golf Club hosting the event the week prior to the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.”
The Memorial Tournament, will be played the very next week, will welcome no more than 8,000 spectators, or 20% capacity, on the Muirfield Village property. Alread, the event has announced early player commitments which include last year’s champion Patrick Cantlay, plus Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, who rank both fourth and fifth in the Official World Golf Ranking. 2017 Masters Champion Sergio Garcia also is expected to tee it up.
Not to be outdone, the LPGA Tour announced it will have two stops in the Buckeye State this summer, in the LPGA Drive On Championship and Marathon Classic Presented by Dana.
The LPGA Drive On Championship is a new three-day event which will be held July 31-Aug. 2 at Inverness Club in Toledo. Inverness has hosted four U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships, a US Amateur, two U.S. Senior Opens, a Junior Amateur and two NCAA Men’s Championships.
Inverness will add to this rich history in 2021 when it hosts a Solheim Cup, which provides an incentive for 144 golfers to compete and perhaps get a first look at the 7,730-yard course. The event will not have any sponsors, nor will spectators be allowed to attend.
The Marathon Classic Presented by Dana is one of the longest running events on the LPGA Tour will be held the week after the LPGA Drive On Championship, Aug. 6-9 at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania.
A request was made by the LPGA to move dates around and, with the change and approval from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, spectators will be allowed on site.
“Thanks in part to the generosity of our partners who could not reschedule their events in 2020, we are adding a valuable additional playing opportunity for our LPGA Tour members,” LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said in a press release.
“We are so appreciative of our longtime partners, Marathon and Dana, as well as the memberships at Highland Meadows and Inverness, for adjusting their schedules and helping us create a valuable two-week stretch in the Toledo area as we work to safely return to competition. This new event will allow us to test our COVID-19 protocols before we get to welcome back our fans at the Marathon LPGA Classic presented by Dana.”
The PGA Tour Champions previously announced that the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship, one of five majors annually contested on the circuit, was moved to Aug. 13-16 at Firestone Country Club in Akron.
Firestone previously hosted the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational until the TOUR elected to take the event to TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee, and rename it the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Pittsburgh golf fans will remember the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship as the Constellation Senior Players Championship, which was held for at Fox Chapel Golf Club from 2012-14. Joe Daley, Kenny Perry and Bernhard Langer won those respective events before the event moved to four different locations in as many years.
This year will mark the second in which PGA Tour Champions will play at Firestone, with many of its golfers previously playing there as PGA Tour members. Last year Retief Goosen won the event by two strokes over Jay Haas and Tim Petrovic.
A week later, from Aug. 20-23, the Korn Ferry Tour will have the stage in Columbus at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship at Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course. This event features members of the Korn Ferry Tour, members of the PGA TOUR who fell outside of the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings and players on medical extension.
Last year Scottie Scheffler won the event. Fans will be permitted to attend this event.