LPGA Marathon Classic will be staged without spectators

Published July 17, 2020, 7:58 PM

by Agence-France-Presse

In this file photo taken on July 20, 2017, Mo Martin strokes a putt for birdie on the ninth green during the first round of the Marathon Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio. (Photo by MICHAEL COHEN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

The LPGA Marathon Classic will be played next month despite a ban on spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers said Thursday.

Tournament officials had previously said the tournament could not afford to take place without fans.

However the LPGA and organizers said the tournament will now take place on August 6-9 at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio with no fans on the course.

The tournament is scheduled to be the second LPGA event since a February shutdown due to the deadly virus after the LPGA Drive On Championship held at Inverness in nearby Toledo from July 31-August 2. Spectators were never planned at that event.

It’s not the first golf event in Ohio to lose out on hosting spectators. The PGA Tour was planning to have a limited number of fans at this week’s Memorial tournament in Columbus but COVID-19 conditions in the state made it too risky.

“Organizers of the Marathon Classic and the LPGA have made the right decision in not allowing fans to attend this year,” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said. “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.”

LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said it was a “difficult decision” to deny fans for the event as he asked them to prepare for an “epic” 2021 that is set to include the Marathon Classic and the 2021 Solheim Cup at Inverness between US and Europe golf teams.

“While we’re extremely sad that spectators won’t be able to attend this year’s tournament, we know it’s the right thing to do for the safety of the community, our sponsors, volunteers, and LPGA players,” Whan said.

South Korea’s sixth-ranked Kim Sei-young is the defending Marathon Classic champion.