The ANA Inspiration golf tournament originally set for next month in Rancho Mirage was postponed Thursday, becoming the latest major event in the Coachella Valley to be pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ladies Professional Golf Association made the announcement Thursday following a blanket order by county health officials prohibiting public gatherings that exceed 250 people as a precautionary measure to mitigate the potential spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
“This is a difficult situation and as we navigate these uncertain times, we appreciate the support of all those involved with the LPGA. I am fully committed to rescheduling these important events on our 2020 schedule, especially our first major, the ANA Inspiration,” LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement.
The ANA Inspiration, which is one of five major championships in professional women’s golf, was originally set for April 2-5 at the Mission Hills Country Club.
South Korean Jin-Young Ko bested fellow countrywoman Mi Hyang Lee last year to win the tournament, which offers some the largest cash prizes in all of women’s golf. Ko received $450,000 for the victory, and Lee received $275,721 for finishing second.
The LPGA also canceled the Volvik Founders Cup in Phoenix, Arizona, set for March 19-22 and the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, set for March 26-29.
At their meeting Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors formally ratified a local public health emergency declaration stemming from the coronavirus cases, directing key agencies to initiate efforts to mitigate potential impacts of the virus. The action also empowered County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser to issue directives intended to promote the health and welfare of residents.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and state health officials on Thursday also recommended that large gatherings be shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
County health officials on Thursday announced a sixth coronavirus case had been confirmed in Riverside County. Like the other five, it was in the Coachella Valley.
Other larger-scale events have been canceled or put on pause in the days since the first confirmed locally acquired coronavirus case was reported in the Coachella Valley over the weekend. Organizers of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells quickly canceled the tennis event, which was set to begin this week.
On Tuesday, organizers of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and the Stagecoach country music festival — which annually attract tens of thousands of attendees — were forced to reschedule to October dates due to an order by Kaiser, the county’s top public heath official.