The Western Golf Association’s three most prestigious championships certainly will look different this year thanks to ongoing pandemic concerns.
An announcement from the PGA Tour this week declared that there will be no spectators at its tournaments through the FedEx Cup Playoffs. That means the second of those three postseason events – the BMW Championship Aug. 25-30 at Olympia Fields Country Club – can be viewed only on television.
Spectators will also be scarce at the WGA’s two upcoming amateur championships. Each of the 120 participants in the 120th Women’s Western Amateur, which begins on Monday (JULY 20), will be allowed to bring only one spectator onto the grounds at Prestwick Country Club in south suburban Frankfort. The tourney runs through Saturday, July 25.
The men’s Western Amateur, first held in 1899, tees off the following week at Crooked Stick, in Carmel, Ind. Each player there is allowed one caddie and one guest.
The PGA Tour hasn’t allowed spectators since resuming its schedule on June 11 following a three-month shutdown. The policy was to end at this week’s Memorial tournament in Ohio but the circuit changed its policy on that last week.
“Our BMW Championship team has been working tirelessly over the past several months to develop a comprehensive plan for a limited number of spectators, following guidance from the PGA Tour and county and state officials,’’ said Vince Pellegrino, the WGA’s senior vice president for tournaments. “However, we understand the challenges and concerns that Covid-19 has created and recognize the decision to proceed without spectators is in the best interests of everyone involved.’’
PRESTWICK PREVIEW: Sarah Shipley, a University of Kentucky senior, won’t defend her Women’s Western title. She’s has accepted an invitation into a Symetra Tour event in Battle Creek, Mich., instead.
The Women’s Western field will be headed by last year’s other finalist, Antonia Matte of Chile. Five Northwestern players – Brooke Riley, Kelly Su, Kelly Sim, Rachel DeAngulo and Charlotte Hillary – will be in the field as will Illinois senior Tristyn Nowlin, a tourney finalist in 2018.
Prestwick, designed by the late Chicago architect Larry Packard, is hosting the Western Amateur for the first time but was the site of the Western Junior in 1972 when Nancy Lopez won as a 15-year old. Lopez went on to win that event the next three years and then took the Western Amateur title in 1976 before enjoying a legendary career on the LPGA Tour.
Other former Women’s Western champions include Patty Berg, Louise Suggs, Beth Daniel, Stacy Lewis and Ariya Jutanugarn. This year’s format calls for 36 holes of stroke play qualifying before the field will be cut to 32 players for three days of match play competition. The champion will be crown on Saturday, July 25.
NU ALUM WINS: David Lipsky, who finished his collegiate career at Northwestern in 2011 and had previously won two pro events in Europe and one in Asia, notched his first victory on the PGA’s Korn Ferry Tour at the TPC San Antonio Challenge in Texas on Sunday.
Lipsky, who won by four shots, went to the same high school in La Canada, Calif., as Collin Morakawa, Sunday’s winner at the PGA’s Workday Charity Open in Ohio. Wheaton’s Kevin Streelman tied for seventh in the Workday event, his fourth top-10 finish of the season and second in a row.
Both the PGA and Korn Ferry circuits will stay in the same towns for tournaments this week. Streelman is in the field at the Memorial, played on the same course as the Workday was, and Lipsky is again in San Antonio but the Oaks Course will be used this week instead of the Canyons.
BITS AND PIECES: Kemper Lakes has named Matt Simon as its new head professional. He replaces Jim Billiter, who took a position at Glen View Club, in Glenview. Billiter was the Illinois PGA Player of the Year in 2017. Simon had been on the staff at Biltmore, in North Barrington.
Kyle English, who tied for first in the Illinois PGA’s first tournament of the season last week, won the IPGA Assistants title on Monday. English, from Crestwicke in Bloomington, shot a 6-under-par 66 at Cress Creek, in Naperville, to win by one over Jeff Kellen, of Butler National.
The area’s first charity event of the season is Monday (JULY 20). It’s the fourth annual TimeSavers/Salute Outing to benefit military families and will be held at Rolling Green, in Arlington Heights.
Rob Wuethrich, a senior at Illinois Wesleyan, has been named the Jack Nicklaus National Division III Player of the Year.