The LPGA Tour has had some time off but the ladies get back to work this week in the Tampa Bay area for the Pelican Open.
The LPGA Tour played its very first official event down here back in 1950 at the Tampa Open. It was won by Babe Zaharias who lived in north Tampa and owned a golf course there with husband George. The course remains in play today as the Babe Zaharias Golf Club and is one of three municipal courses owned by the city of Tampa. That inaugural Tampa Open was staged at the exclusive Palma Ceia Country Club in south Tampa which today is one of two courses where Masters Chairman Fred Ridley plays.
This week’s return will be across the bay in Belleair, home to the Pelican Golf Club. It’s a home game for Brittany Lincicome.
The excitement this week is the return of the world’s No. 1 — Jin Young Ko, who has been sequestered in South Korea due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But she’s back and eight of the world’s top 10 are here — along with Ko, there’s No. 2 Sei Young Kim, No. 3 Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang at No. 4, sixth-ranked Nasa Hataoka, No. 7 Brooke Henderson, No. 8 Minjee Lee and ninth-ranked Sung Hyun Park. Missing are No. 5 Inbee Park and No. 10 Hyo Joo Kim.
Missing from the American side is Lexi Thompson, who has fallen out of the world’s top 10 and now sits at No. 11.
This is a 72-hole event with first round action on Thursday. Although the PGA Tour has allowed limited spectators, the LPGA Tour is still closed to fans.
A cool front has moved into the area and the weather will be perfect.
European Tour Returns To Johannesburg:
The European Tour resumes play Thursday at the Joburg Open. Don’t look for any of the big names on the European Tour to show up this week. This event will combine some of the lesser-known European Tour card-holders along with members of the Sunshine Tour — the European equivalent of the Korn Ferry Tour in the states.
Play begins Thursday at Randpark Golf Club.