Somebody’s turning back the clock in the women’s game.
The LPGA’s scheduled restart at the Drive On Championship in Toledo, Ohio, in two weeks is going to feel more like the tour did before Se Ri Pak changed the world order.
The top nine Americans in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings are committed to play in the LPGA’s return, at Inverness Club, July 31-Aug. 2.
The top eight South Koreans in the world won’t be there.
Nelly Korda, No. 2 in the Rolex rankings, will lead the American contingent, with No. 5 Danielle Kang, No. 9 Lexi Thompson, No. 16 Jessica Korda, No. 19 Lizette Salas, No. 28 Brittany Altomare, No. 29 Marina Alex, No. 40 Angel Yin and No. 41 Megan Khang also scheduled to play.
Amy Yang is the highest ranked South Korean in the field at No. 22 in the world.
With so many South Koreans riding out the coronavirus pandemic in their homeland, where the Korean LPGA has been underway since mid-May, the Drive On Championship’s field will not include No. 1 Jin Young Ko, No. 3 Sung Hyun Park, No. 6 Sei Young Kim, No. 10 Jeongeun Lee and No. 11 Inbee Park.
It’s not unexpected amid the pandemic, with players coming into the United States for back-to-back events in the LPGA’s restart in Ohio required to undergo two weeks of quarantine. The Marathon Classic in suburban Toledo is scheduled the week after the Drive On Championship
Thailand’s Ariya and Moriya Jutangugarn also aren’t in the Drive On Championship field, neither are England’s Georgia Hall or Charley Hull.
Overall, the Drive On field will feature four of the top 10 players in the world rankings. Australia’s Minjee Lee (No. 8) and Spain’s Carlota Ciganda (No. 15) are the highest-ranked international players in the field.
A strong American contingent will also include former world No. 1s Cristie Kerr and Stacy Lewis and major champions Brittany Lincicome, Angela Stanford, Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lang.
Canada’s Brooke Henderson, No. 7 in the world, also is not committed to play the Drive On Championship, though she is expected to play the Marathon Classic. Thai sisters Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn also aren’t scheduled to play the Drive On.
After two weeks in Ohio, the LPGA’s schedule moves to Scotland, for the Aberdeen Standard Investment Ladies Scottish Open and the AIG Women’s British Open in back-to-back weeks.