As professional sports around the world scramble to figure out how to alter their schedules and salvage as much of their seasons as possible during the coronavirus outbreak, professional golf is making scheduling decisions that impact San Diego.
The LPGA’s Kia Classic, which was supposed to be held in March at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, will instead move to September 24-27. It will still be held in San Diego’s north county and now looks to be the last event on the LPGA’s calendar.
Another major announcement could be coming from the men’s tour. According to published reports, the United States Golf Association doesn’t think it will be allowed to hold the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in New York in June so they’re kicking around a few different ideas.
One is to keep it at the same course and move the event to mid-to-late September. But if that’s not possible the USGA is having conversations with courses in California, including Torrey Pines.
La Jolla’s jewel on the coast is scheduled to host the 2021 Open in June so it has already begun the process of transforming the South Course into a major championship track. It could have the grounds ready to host a year early and as we all know the weather in San Diego in September is phenomenal. Pebble Beach, host of last year’s U.S. Open, is also under consideration as a plan B.
If the tournament is move to September on the west coast if could provide a challenge to find enough daylight to get the entire field of 156 golfers to finish their rounds. The 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines is only scheduled to use the South Course but in a situation like this the USGA could utilize the less difficult North Course as well to make sure everyone gets in 18 holes a day, just like the setup for the Farmers Insurance Open.
If the North Course is also in play the grounds crew would have to make some alterations to make it play at least a little more evenly. Over the first two rounds at the 2020 Farmers Insurance Open the North course played an astounding 422 strokes to par easier than the South.
Nothing has been decided yet and the USGA could simply be trying to make sure it has scheduling options.
The last time a major championship was held at Torrey Pines was in 2008, when Tiger Woods beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff for the last of his three U.S. Open titles.