LPGA’s ANA Inspiration returns to April date but without fans

Professional golf’s first major tournament of 2021 will return to its regular April time slot, but just like last year, the LPGA’s ANA Inspiration in the California desert will be played without fans.

The April 1-4 event will take place at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. It was delayed last year because of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, contested instead amid 100-degree temperatures in September with Mirim Lee winning in a three-way playoff.

The course is located in Riverside County which remains under heavy COVID-19 restrictions by the state of California so a second year without spectators was required.

“Definitely being the very first opening major of the year is very special to us,” tournament director of communications Michele Mair said, according to the Desert Sun newspaper. “… And not having the different weather conditions and different course conditions (is important).”

One change to the course setup is a big blue sponsor’s wall that was set up behind the 18th green. It was used last year to mimic where a fan hospitality area would be, but players ended up using the wall as a backstop in order to carry the water in front of the island green on the par-5 hole.

Lee used the wall to help her record an eagle 3 on her final hole to earn a spot in the playoff.

“We won’t be building anything on the island,” tournament manager Alyssa Randolph said. “We’ll turned back to its 1972 roots and its purest state as an island green.”

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