After nearly five months off, LPGA players can finally begin to explore what their comeback on tour might look like, and there’s not much time to ease into things either. The decision to travel overseas for two weeks in Scotland looms large – not to mention the possibility of fans in Toledo. To the Forecaddie, in many ways it feels like a straight plunge into the deep end.
One day after two events in Scotland were confirmed for next month, the LPGA hosted two tour-wide conference calls on Wednesday and sent out a couple of surveys.
The Forecaddie certainly didn’t expect the LPGA to offer its players anything remotely close to the $100,000 that PGA Tour players receive after testing positive for COVID-19. It looks like LPGA players will receive a $5,000 stipend if they test positive during a tournament and $2,500 if it happens while at home. Same for caddies.
If a player tests positive after making the cut, she will receive the equivalent of last place money.
The Man Out Front also learned that players who break one of the new rules in place to keep everyone in the bubble safe will be fined $2,500. A second offense will result in a suspension.
Players were asked if they’d be interested in a charter flight from the Marathon Classic to Scotland and then from Glasgow to Rogers, Arkansas. Each one-way flight would be $1,200 for coach and $2,500 for business. They’d only fill 150 seats.
If the Forecaddie had a vote, that would be a no-brainer. Yes, yes, yes.
The second question involved restructuring the LPGA purses to allow those who miss the cut to still earn a small paycheck to cover some expenses. Both the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and AIG Women’s British Open will be paying out money for missed cuts.
While one veteran player told The Man Out Front that she voted ‘No,’ another said this year should be the one year it happens. Having a guaranteed paycheck would help relieve the burden so many players feel from months and months of no work.
“Hopefully more caddies will be hired because they’re doing that,” one player told TMOF. Earlier during the COVID-19 break, the LPGA informed players that caddies would be optional when the tour restarted.
No coaches or family will be allowed at the LPGA Drive On Championship. No dining either. Players will be given debit cards to get food around town. There will be no loitering in a locker room or clubhouse. It’s basically get out of your car, play golf and leave.
Officials are still planning to put on the Marathon Classic, though the issue of fans and pro-ams are still being decided. Right now it sounds like 2,000 fans or less a day is one option on the table.
The two events in Scotland will be closed to spectators, including family. The bubble will be even tighter overseas, with everyone staying in the same hotels. No sharing of rooms or cars, except between a player and her caddie.
At a time when there’s risk in simply going to the grocery store, crossing an ocean for work presents a boatload of challenges. Players get that. It’s rather remarkable that international events are happening at all.