The iconic statue of Dinah Shore that greets players with a smile and a wave at the 18th a mask. The ANA Inspiration, usually golf’s first major, was pushed by COVID-19 from the gentle days of early spring to the triple-digit heat of late summer where eight of the top-10 in the Rolex Rankings will vie for the coveted LPGA title. CLECK HERE TO WATCH LIVE STREAM FREE
When Shore, with her Hollywood connections, and Colgate-Palmo Live stream ExpressVPN sign up now, created the tournament in 1972 it gave an instant boost to women’s golf. Dinah called on celebrity friends like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope to play in the pro-am and instantly tens of thousands of spectators lined the fairways.
A lot will be different about the 49th edition of the ANA Inspiration. There will be no pro-am; no spectators; no grandstands and no Jin Young Ko, the defending champion and No. 1 in the Rolex Rankings. She chose not to engage in the travel protocols required by both South Korea and the United States because of COVID-19.
But what there is will be well worth the wait from March to September. As Dinah might say – the show must go on. And what a show it will be.After Ko, the next eight in the Rolex Rankings will socially distance in the desert: No. 2 Danielle Kang, No. 3 Nelly Korda, No. 4 Sung Hyun Park, No. 5 Minjee Lee, No 6 Sei Young Kim, No. 7 Nasa Hataoka, No. 8 Inbee Park and No. 9 Brooke Henderson. Like Ko, No. 10 Hyo-Joo Kim chose to remain in South Korea.
Among the traditions of the ANA that survived this turbulent time is honoring top amateurs. In the field of 106 from 22 nations are a half-dozen future stars: China’s Lei Ye, Texan Kaitlyn Papp, Australia’s Gabriela Ruffels, California’s Rose Zhang, Northern Ireland’s Olivia Mehaffey and North Carolina’s Emilia Migliaccio.
The 2020 ANA Inspiration will take place September at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, but without spectators.
This historic Major, postponed from its traditional March date, made that decision following close consultation and collaboration with partners ANA, the LPGA, the City of Rancho Mirage, Mission Hills Country Club and in consultation with the Riverside County Health Department, following the State of California Public Health Department guidelines.
The decision to play the 2020 ANA Inspiration without the famously enthusiastic crowds was taken in order for organizers and stakeholders to deliver this prestigious Major with the relevant safeguarding and protocols in place.
The tournament has a robust operational plan which has been established with medical and health and safety specialists to make sure that appropriate measures are in position to meet the high standards required by the State of California and Riverside County Health Department with the health and safety of the players and tournament staff the highest priority.
Fans will be able to watch the ANA Inspiration on Golf Channel and Sky Sports and follow along for enhanced content on social @ANAinspiration and the tournament website.All those who have purchased tickets for the 2020 ANA Inspiration should visit for refund information.
Park was one of many golfers who initially decided not to compete during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has now changed her stance.Now she will be part of the field playing at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage in the United States.
The four-day tournament is due to start tomorrow and run through to September 13, after it was delayed from its traditional April date due to the pandemic.In recent weeks, Park has played in the LPGA Tour of Korea, but is now set to tee up on the LPGA Tour for the first time in 2020.
Her last tournament on the Tour came at the 2019 CME Group Tour Championship last November, where she withdrew due to a shoulder injury.”It’s really been a while since I’ve been on the LPGA Tour, I think I’m more nervous than excited to be back,” said Park.”It’s been a while since I’ve been in a competitive environment, and I’ve got to keep that in mind while playing the four rounds this week.
“There aren’t that many tournaments this year, but I do hope to win at some point and finish the year on a high note.”Park has been practising for the California sun by drinking plenty of water on 18 holes – and the heat has seen the return of caddies in carts to the Tour which will shade players from scorching temperatures.
This decision was made by the LPGA on Thursday (September 3), citing concerns for the well-being of players and caddies in the extreme heat.Eight of the top 10 in the world will be in the field, with only defending champion and world number one Ko Jin-young and world number 10 compatriot Kim Hyo-joo missing.
Both have decided to stay in South Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 104 players will take to the course, including 17 of the world’s top 25 – competing for a total prize purse of $3.1 million (£2.4 million/€2.64 million) and a chance to lift the Dinah Shore Trophy.Seven previous ANA Inspiration winners will contest the field this week with these being 2016.
New Zealand winner Lydia Ko, 2011 winner, the United States’ Stacy Lewis, two-time winner Brittany Lincicome of the United States, Sweden’s 2018 champion Pernilla Lindberg, South Korea’s Inbee Park and two more former American winners – Morgan Pressel, who triumphed in 2007 and Lexi Thompson, who was victorious in 2014.