RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — Players can ride in carts during practice rounds and caddies can use them during the tournament to cope with the extreme heat expected for the ANA Inspiration next week in the California desert.
The LPGA announced the decision on its website Thursday.
Traditionally the first major of the season, the ANA Inspiration was moved from the first weekend in April to Sept. 10-13 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the tour to shut down for five months.
Heather Daly-Donofrio, the LPGA Tour's chief operations officer, said in a memo to players and caddies that temperatures are expected to range from 105 to 115 degrees. Considering this year has been all about health and safety, “we will be allowing caddies to take carts for the week.”
“We have consulted with our medical team and feel this is the best decision to keep our caddies safe and healthy during this extreme heat,” she said.
Caddies can choose to walk and push carts are an option. The LPGA said players can ride in carts during the practice rounds, but walking is required during the championship.
Also, caddies will have bibs instead of the traditional coveralls at Mission Hills Country Club. The LPGA has bought 1,500 cooling towels for players, caddies, staff and volunteers.
“This was the date that we needed to play the ANA Inspiration and hold a major,” Daly-Donofrio said. “We’re watching the forecast and know it’s going to be hot. And we do not want to put the health of our caddies at risk. Will it look odd? Yes, especially for a major championship. But we’re not going to sacrifice the health of our athletes or caddies for optics.”