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LPGA Commissioner talks Marathon Classic amid coronavirus concerns

The commissioner has said that he has given each tournament the freedom to make the choice whether or not to hold a tournament for the 2020 tour.
Credit: WTOL

SYLVANIA, Ohio — As we reported yesterday, the LPGA stop in northwest Ohio for the Marathon Classic has been delayed by 2 weeks.

Today, we had an exclusive interview with the Commissioner of the LPGA talking about that decision and much more.

Since taking over as LPGA Commissioner, Mike Whan has the tour in the best shape it’s ever been in. As we said yesterday, when the announcement was made to delay the Marathon Classic by two weeks, Judd Silverman believes they won’t hold the tournament unless the Governor allows spectators to be in attendance. The Commissioner has given each tournament the freedom to make those choices on their own.

“I've said this to our players many times, I’ll make ’20 as good as I can make it, but only as good as I can make it by respecting long-term the people who have written checks for us for years,” said Whan. “If Judd, and Marathon, and Dana, and the rest come to me and say ‘Mike, this is how the tournament has got to be and we just don’t think we can do it this year,’ we’ll play it next year, we’ll play it later in the year. I won’t dictate to them how to do it.”

One thing you can count on with the LPGA is being on the cutting edge of technology for safety. When they travel, they will be taking every precaution.

“I wouldn’t want anybody sitting in Toledo or Sylvania to say, ‘I’m uncomfortable with the LPGA,’” said Whan. “One of the things I’m going to deliver is the safest group that comes in. We’re very lucky, one of our sponsors is NEC. NEC, just today, installed in our headquarters facial recognition scanning. So tomorrow when I go into the office, if I was allowed, first thing I’d have to do at the front door is scan my face. It would take my temperature. If it recognized me and my temperature was normal, I enter the building. If not, the building door doesn’t open. That’s the kind of technology we’re working on at our headquarters now because we’re taking it into the market with us for the Symetra Tour, the LPGA, and the Ladies European Tour.”

That technology would be used here in northwest Ohio and players would be tested multiple times throughout the week. One of the things that makes the LPGA so great is that it is a global and diverse tour. But with 35% of the tour currently living outside the United States, that provides a different set of challenges to get everyone back.

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