As it turns out, it will be a relatively quiet two weeks in Toledo when the LPGA kicks off its restart at the end of this month. The tour confirmed on Thursday that the Marathon LPGA Classic, the second event back, will be played without fans after all.
Initially, the Marathon was slated to have limited fans. It would have fallen after the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament, which was also initially scheduled to have fans. The PGA Tour reversed course on that decision earlier this month, later announcing it would play the rest of the season without spectators on the ground.
For now, at least the first two LPGA events will follow suit. The LPGA officially returns July 31 with the Drive On Championship at Inverness Golf Club in Toledo.
When LPGA commissioner Mike Whan spoke with media during a Wednesday conference call, allowing a small number of fans to attend the Marathon was still on the table. It would have required what Whan calls “aggressive roping” at Highland Meadows.
“While we are extremely sad that spectators won’t be able to attend this year’s tournament, we know it is the right thing to do for the safety of the community, our sponsors, volunteers and LPGA players,” said executive director Judd Silverman. “The good news is that all four rounds of the tournament will be nationally televised live on the Golf Channel and we still have the opportunity to raise money for the 25 northwest Ohio children’s charities that will benefit from this year’s tournament.”
The Marathon has had a large charitable footprint, part of which comes from its pro-ams. Those have been reduced from five to two for this year’s event. Pro-am participants will be subject to the same COVID-19 testing protocols as players, according to the LPGA.
According to USA Today, Ohio has 69,311 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,075 deaths as of July 15. Over the past seven days, 9,130 new cases have been reported, up 24.8 percent from the previous week.
“The organizers of the Marathon Classic and the LPGA have made the right decision in not allowing fans to attend this year,” said Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio. “I know it was a difficult decision, but they have made the right call to put the health and safety of players and fans first.”