There will be no tournament golf in Wisconsin in April.
May is looking iffy. And beyond that, who knows?
In what came as no surprise given the far-reaching implications of the coronavirus pandemic, the Wisconsin PGA Section on Friday decided to postpone all of its tournaments scheduled to be held over the next six weeks.
The list includes the Spring Pro-Pro Scramble, April 13 at Kettle Moraine Golf Club; the Spring Pro-Pro Better Ball and Four Ball Match Play qualifying, April 20 at Meadowbrook Country Club; and the TaylorMade Pro-Am, April 27 at Geneva National.
Joe Stadler, executive director of the WPGA, said one or all of those tournaments could be canceled entirely, depending on how the schedule is further impacted by the coronavirus.
“If we resume play in May and those are the only four events affected at this point, I could envision two or three of them being rescheduled,” Stadler said. “But if we end up having to cancel two, three or four events in May, then we would have to re-prioritize and decide which ones we felt were most important to host. Because realistically, we can probably reschedule only about three events a year.”
The WPGA’s plan for tournaments in May and beyond is to cancel or postpone them one at a time, if necessary, with about four weeks’ notice in each case.
“A big part of these events are the social functions before and after the rounds,” Stadler said. “While the golf is, yes, important, quite frankly for most of our members and the amateurs it’s about the social interaction.”
Tournaments in May that could be impacted include the assistant professional championship (May 4) and the WPGA Match Play Championship (May 18-19).
One of the most popular member events on the WPGA calendar, the Las Vegas Pro-Am, was canceled on March 12, three days before it was to start. Some 250 professionals and amateurs from Wisconsin had signed up.
About 70 members and amateurs still flew to Las Vegas to play golf on their own, Stadler said, but most returned home after MGM announced that it was closing its properties effective March 17.
The Wisconsin State Golf Association, which oversees amateur golf in the state, has no tournaments scheduled in April and hasn't made any decisions yet on May events.
The United States Golf Association previously canceled U.S. Open local qualifying scheduled for May 11 at Hidden Glen at Bentdale Farms in Cedarburg. The WSGA conducts USGA qualifiers in Wisconsin.
“The USGA issued a communication saying that U.S. Open local qualifying was canceled, but also asked us to hold those dates and sites in the event they’re needed for any sort of contingency plan,” said WSGA executive director Rob Jansen. “That’s kind of where we’re at there.”
Otherwise, there are no WSGA events scheduled until the Senior Tour kicks off May 5 and Net Partners qualifying begins May 6, both at The Legend at Bergamont. There are five more Senior Tour events and two more Net Partners qualifiers in May.
“We’re going to monitor what’s obviously a rapidly evolving situation and certainly expect to start making decisions on our early events soon,” Jansen said. “We do have a little bit of time and a window here before our competitive schedule starts to get going. We’re using that time to gather information and make well-informed decisions.”
Jansen said the registration process for tournaments was unchanged.
“It is still ongoing,” he said. “We haven’t shut anything down yet for registration.”
Stadler said that although tournaments were being canceled because they involved large groups, he hoped recreational play would continue.
“I wish Hansen Park was open,” he said of the Milwaukee County Parks par-3 course. “I understand that with government golf courses, that would not be the right optic. But I wish Hansen Park was open, because my son and I would have played at least twice this week already.”