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LPGA heats up with major in desert, PGA starts a new season

LPGA TOUR ANA INSPIRATION Site: Rancho Mirage, California. Course: Mission Hills CC (Dinah Shore Tournament). Yardage: 6,763. Par: 72. Purse: $3.1 million. Winner's share: $465,000. Television: Thursday-Friday, noon-4 p.m., 7-9 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 2-6 p.m. (Golf Channel).

Defending champion: Jin Young Ko. Race to CME Globe leader: Danielle Kang. Last tournament: Austin Ernst won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Notes: What typically is the first LPGA major of the year is now the second, with the ANA Inspiration moving from the first weekend in April to the middle of September, three weeks after the Women's British Open. ... Defending champion Jin Young Ko, the No. 1 player in women's golf, is not playing. She remains in South Korea and last played an LPGA Tour event in November at the CME Group Tour Championship. ... The last defending champion who didn't play was Patricia Meunier-LeBouc in 2004 because she had given birth two months earlier. ... Mission Hills has cleared out some 100 trees. ... Caddies will be allowed to use carts during competition because of extreme heat expected to get as hot as 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). Players can ride carts in practice rounds only. ... Ko isn't the only star missing. Seven of the top 20 in the world are skipping the ANA Inspiration — six from South Korea, and Ai Suzuki of Japan. That means two of the last three winners of the ANA Inspiration will not be in the field, as So Yeon Ryu also is skipping. ... Sung Hyun Park is returning to the LPGA Tour this week. Sei Young Kim played for the first since January on tour in Arkansas two weeks ago. ... Americans have won four of the nine LPGA events that have been held this year.

Next week: Cambia Portland Classic. Online: https://www.lpga.com/

PGA TOUR

SAFEWAY OPEN

Site: Napa, California.

Course: Silverado Resort and Spa (North). Yardage: 7,166. Par: 72.

Purse: $6.6 million. Winner's share: $1.18 million.

Television: Thursday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 6-9 p.m. (Golf Channel).

Defending champion: Cameron Champ.

FedEx Cup champion: Dustin Johnson.

Last week: Dustin Johnson won the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup.

Notes: Three days after the PGA Tour crowned a FedEx Cup champion, the new season begins. ... The field features former British Open champions Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth and Shane Lowry. All of them were eliminated after the first FedEx Cup playoff event. ... Former Masters champion Sergio Garcia is playing. Garcia has six top 10s in the last year, but only one of those on the PGA Tour. ... Twenty players in the field will be at Winged Foot next week for the U.S. Open, a list that includes Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker and Rafa Cabrera Bello. ... Spieth, who failed to advanced out of the opening round of the FedEx Cup playoffs for the first time, is making his debut at Silverado. ... The Safeway Open is one of seven PGA Tour events in California this year, including the PGA Championship at Harding Park and the Zozo Championship moving to Sherwood Country Club in October. ... This is Mickelson's fifth straight year playing the Safeway Open, which is run by his management company. His best finish is a tie for third three years ago. He is coming off a victory in his PGA Tour Champions debut.

Next week: U.S. Open.

Online: https://www.pgatour.com/

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

SANFORD INTERNATIONAL

Site: Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Course: Minehaha CC. Yardage: 6,729. Par: 70.

Purse: $1.8 million. Winner's share: $270,000.

Television: Friday-Sunday, 9:30-11:30 p.m. (Golf Channel-tape delay).

Defending champion: Rocco Mediate.

Charles Schwab Cup leader: Bernhard Langer.

Last tournament: Phil Mickelson won the Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National.

Notes: This will be the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event that allows fans since the return from the pandemic. According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, fans will have their temperature checked upon entry and masks are encouraged but not required. The practice rounds remain closed ... Country singer Colt Ford, who once played professionally, is making his PGA Tour Champions debut on a sponsor exemption. The other sponsor exemption has gone to Gary Nicklaus. ... Fred Couples is making his South Dakota debut. ... Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker is in the field. This ordinarily would have been two weeks before the Ryder Cup, which has been postponed until next year. Now it is the week before the U.S. Open, which is Stricker is playing as the reigning U.S. Senior Open champion. He is the only player in the field who will be at Winged Foot next week.

Next week: Pure Insurance Championship.

Online: https://www.pgatour.com/champions.html

EUROPEAN TOUR

PORTUGAL MASTERS

Site: Vilamoura, Portugal.

Course: Dom Pedro Victoria GC. Yardage: 7,191. Par: 71.

Purse: 1 million euros. Winner's share: 166,667 euros.

Television: Thursday-Friday, 6-8 a.m., 9 a.m.-noon (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Golf Channel).

Defending champion: Steven Brown.

Race to Dubai leader: Collin Morikawa.

Last week: John Catlin won the Andalucia Masters.

Notes: Tommy Fleetwood is playing a week before the U.S. Open. This is his first regular European Tour event since the Dubai Desert Classic in January. ... Ryan Fox and Justin Walters are in the field. Both are in the field for the U.S. Open next week at Winged Foot. Fox was exempt as the leading player from the PGA Tour of Australasia money list. Walters earned the 10th and final spot from a special “U.K. Swing” points list. Walters is a two-time runner-up of the Portugal Masters. ... This is the second of three straight tournaments on the Iberian peninsula. ... Two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal and former Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn are among those playing. ... The tournament dates to 2007 on the European Tour schedule. There has never been a playoff in its 13-year history. ... Past champions include Padraig Harrington, Shane Lowry and Lee Westwood.

Next week: Portugal Open.

Online: https://www.europeantour.com/european-tour/

KORN FERRY TOUR

EVANS SCHOLARS INVITATIONAL

Site: Westchester, Illinois.

Course: Chicago Highlands Club.

Purse: $600,000. Winner's share: $108,000.

Television: None.

2019 winner: Scottie Scheffler.

Points leader: Will Zalatoris.

Last week: Brett Drewitt won the Lincoln Land Championship.

Next tournament: Wichita Open on Sept. 24-27.

Online: https://www.pgatour.com/korn-ferry-tour.html

OTHER TOURS

Ladies European Tour: Swiss Ladies Open, Golfpark Holzhausern, Ennetsee, Switzerland. Defending champion: New event. Online: https://ladieseuropeantour.com/