RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – LPGA commissioner Mike Whan concedes he was frustrated when he learned the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur would be played the same week as the ANA Inspiration, but he is hopeful it leads to a greater future for the women’s game.
“I didn’t like the conflict with my event, but I said to a lot of players this week, that most revolutions are evolutions,” Whan said Wednesday. “In my mind, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur is an evolution, not a revolution.
“Maybe in time, it will be the revolution I want it to be.”
Whan is hopeful the ANWA will lead Augusta National to keep opening doors for women.
“Someday, they could make a statement about equality that could really blow us away,” Whan said.
While Whan plans to huddle in a month or so with the ANA title sponsor and tournament officials to evaluate how the ANA Inspiration fared this week, he believes the major will stay right where it is on the LPGA schedule next year.
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“I would anticipate us being the same week next year,” Whan said.
The other options, Whan said, are moving the event up two weeks, to the week currently held by the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, or moving it back, to be played the week after the Masters. He said neither is a great option.
Moving the event up creates conflicts with both Mission Hills and Wildfire Golf Club, home of the Founders Cup. Moving it the week after the Masters conflicts with the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, a major tourism event in the area.
So Whan is leaning toward keeping the ANA in its current date.
“Maybe this can be the celebration of women’s golf that it could be,” Whan said. “There sure is a lot of conversation about women’s golf this week.”
Whan said the amateur component of the ANA is important but not the championship’s priority.