The 2020 ANA Inspiration has been rescheduled for September 10 through 13 at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, without spectators.
It will be the first women’s U.S. Major of the year and mark the return of professional sports to the Coachella Valley. The LPGA event was postponed from its traditional March date due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve got fans that have come to this event for decades, so they’re going to miss it for sure and we’re going to miss having them around,” said Michael Walker, General Manager at Mission Hills Country Club. Walker said it will be much quieter this year without fans.
The host, Mission Hills Country Club, has been working closely with the LPGA Tour to ensure proper protocols are put in place to protect players, staff and the community as a whole.
“The screening processes that they have in place are second to none, so we’re excited that, A, it’s going to be a very safe event, and B, it’s going to be a very exciting event too. It’s great to have professional sports back here in the valley,” Walker said.
"The ANA Inspiration is one of our most prized signature events. For nearly 50 years, the best lady professional golfers from all over the world have been coming to Rancho Mirage. In addition, the LPGA’s television coverage of this event continues to be available in over 160 countries and in more than 500 million homes. We applaud All Nippon Airways (ANA), the LPGA, IMG and Mission Hills Country Club for finding a way for this prestigious event to continue while prioritizing community health and safety. The revised format aligns with state and county guidance for live sporting events. Although it will be disappointing to not be there in person and cheer our favorite LPGA players on, we are fortunate that the ANA Inspiration has over 20 hours of live television coverage for us to enjoy from the safety of our own homes. I hope you will join me in watching our 49th edition of the ANA Inspiration," Mayor Dana Hobart of Rancho Mirage said in a statement to News Channel 3.
"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," the tournament announced in a press release.
“We appreciate the friendship of our partners at ANA, who continue to support the LPGA Tour through these unprecedented times,” said Mike Whan, LPGA Tour Commissioner. “The champion’s walk at 18 and the jump into Poppie’s Pond are two of the greatest traditions on the LPGA Tour. While we wish we could have fans with us in person to celebrate these exciting moments, ensuring the health and safety of everyone inside and outside the ropes is of the utmost importance.”
“We respect the LPGA’s decision to conduct the tournament and to do so without the fans onsite. It was a difficult, but right choice in order to ensure the safety and health of players, caddies, and staff,” said Shigeru Hattori, Senior Vice President of The Americas, All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd. (ANA). “The usual competitive spirit of the players will be inspirational to all of the viewers at home.”
“This was such a tough decision to make given the hugely important role our fans play in making the ANA Inspiration, but their health and safety was front of mind as we reluctantly reached this conclusion. It is very comforting that we will be back at Mission Hills Country Club soon to celebrate the tournament’s very special 50th anniversary next March by which time we might hope to be in a position to be able to welcome back all our loyal fans. In the meantime, we are hoping everyone will tune into the extensive TV coverage shown globally to support their favorite players next month competing for this coveted title,” said Alyssa Randolph, Tournament Manager at the 2020 ANA Inspiration.
“To be able to pull it off again this year, given the circumstances, is something really, really special for us,” said Walker.
While they won’t be able to watch up close, members of Mission Hills Country Club will still be able to use different areas of the country club during the tournament.
“I know the membership here is still very proud to be hosting the event,” said Walker.