The 2020 ANA Inspiration is underway in Rancho Mirage with no spectators. Members of the host Mission Hills Country Club are adapting to a new view this year.
It was very important for Mission Hills to still be able to accommodate their members and give them some sense of normalcy during this very strange year.
“Basically wherever the members are allowed the players aren’t and vice versa,” said Rodney Silvagni, head golf professional at Mission Hills Country Club.
The ANA Inspiration and Mission Hills Country Club have created a bubble of sorts due to coronavirus concerns. It’s a very different environment for members, who are used to watching the tournament action up close.
“I spoke to a couple members and they’re obviously bummed that they can’t follow their favorite players around. You know, a lot of them have houses on the golf courses, so they can see a little bit from their house and then we also have viewing parties here at the club, downstairs, away from the players, so they’re going to be able to enjoy that this weekend,” said Silvagni.
((Linda King - Member chairman for ANA Inspiration for past 10 years))
“There’s probably a lot of people with binoculars on their back patios right now, trying to figure out who it is that’s coming by their house right now,” said Linda King, a member chairman of the ANA Inspiration for the past 10 years.
As a volunteer, King says she’s been enjoying a little bit more access than other members.
“I have a couple new members who are ladies golfers with us, and I said, ‘if you really want to see some play, you at least need to be a volunteer, because that’s the only way you’re going to get close to it,’” King said.
She says the viewing party at the 55th Patio has allowed members to still feel a part of the event.
“If there’s any sense to feel like this is the old ANA, that would be the closest you could get at this point,” King said.
A member at Mission Hills for 11 years, Tommy Scherck is just happy to still be able to play golf.
“The little restrictions aren’t that bad, you know, at least we have the flow going to where we can at least watch it on TV. We can’t interact like normal, but it’s still enjoyable,” Sherck said.
The common theme amongst people at the tournament is that it feels much quieter than an LPGA major normally would, but there’s still a lot of excitement that live sports are back here in the Coachella Valley.