Golf Events in Michigan All Set After Shifting Schedules
The COVID-19 pandemic saw seismic shifts in the golf world, especially for events that were expected to take place this summer in Michigan.
The initial threat for events in Michigan saw just one cancellation of an event, but it was a major event for the Champions Tour with the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, expected to be held at The Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor. That event was slated for May 21st through the 24th. Though next year's title will be determined in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Championship will return to the famed Jack Nicklaus-designed course in 2022 and 2024. Since the course's opening in 2011, Harbor Shores has served as host for the Senior PGA Championship every other year since 2012.
Another of the Champions' majors, the U.S. Senior Open in Rhode Island in June, has also been cancelled while the Senior Open Championship in England has been postponed.
Over the last few weeks, all of the professional golf tours announced their latest moves to get their schedules back up and running for the remainder of 2020. The LPGA made their formal announcement Wednesday after their schedule was put on pause in February before the tour was expected to head to Thailand from Australia. The top women's tour will be back in action in mid-July, starting in Michigan with the second-annual Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational at Midland Country Club from July 15th through the 18th. Tour Commissioner Mike Whan stated -
To be honest, being ‘first’ has never been the goal when it comes to returning to play in this new normal. We have built a schedule that we think is as safe as possible given what we know about travel bans, testing availability, and delivering events that our sponsors and our athletes will be excited to attend.
Another LPGA event in Michigan, the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give at Grand Rapids' Blythefield Country Club, was slated for June, but will now be held October 1st through the 4th. Defending Champion Brooke Henderson (shown above) should be back to defend the title after winning last year and for the second time in the event.
The PGA Tour has one stop in Michigan again this year for the second-annual Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Country Club. The tournament was slated for the end of May, but was postponed to July 2nd through the 5th. The tour will ramp back up June 11th for the Charles Schwab Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas, but will be the first of four tour events that will be without fans in the gallery. The PGA announced that the first four events once the schedule resumes will have no fan attendance which includes the Rocket Mortgage Classic - the last of the four events.
The Champions Tour will have to wait all the way until the end of July due to their limited schedule. With two majors wiped out, a currently postponed Open Championship overseas and a cancelled tournament in Wisconsin, the next time the seniors tee it up with be at Ally Challenge at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in Grand Blanc, Michigan. The date still holds from the original schedule from July 31st to August 2nd. It is one of two events in the Midwest, with the rescheduled Bridgestone Senior Players Championship in Akron, Ohio, set for August 13th through the 16th.
One other professional date is still on in Michigan in July with the Symetra Tour's stop in Battle Creek for the Firekeepers Casino Hotel Championship set for July 24th through the 26th. At this time, it is the only Michigan stop for the Road to the LPGA. The other tournament is in the Upper Peninsula at the Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass in Harris. With the LPGA's delay, it also delays the re-start of the Symetra. The tournament has been postponed from its original June 19th to 21st weekend. Another previously announced tournament close to the area - the Four Winds Invitational in South Bend, Indiana - was postponed until after the Firekeepers and played July 31st through August 2nd.
For the top amateurs and PGA professionals, the Turtle Creek Casino Michigan Open Championship in Traverse City was postponed until later this summer. The announcement came April 20th that the June event at The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort was going to be pushed back.