LPGA Tour rookies waiting patiently for golf to return
Drew Hallowell / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Three tournaments into her rookie season on the LPGA Tour, Patty Tavatanakit was disappointed by cancellations brought on by the spread of the new coronavirus.

She had been given exemptions on the Asia swing to play before a home crowd at the Honda LPGA Thailand, and in the HSBC Women's Championship in Singapore. They were among three LPGA Tour events called off because of COVID-19.

That turned out to be only the start of a wait without knowing when she could play again.

The LPGA Tour's last event ended Feb. 16 in Australia (Feb. 14 for Tavatanakit, who missed the cut). The next tournament on the schedule, for now, is May 14 in Florida.

''It's not ideal not playing,'' Tavatanakit said Tuesday from Florida. ''I don't know how many events we're going to play this year. But whatever it is, we all have to take it from there. If there's 10 tournaments, then there's 10 tournaments.''

She at least has full status from having finished No. 2 on the Symetra Tour money list last year, meaning she should get in just about every event but the majors. The 21-year-old UCLA alumna is using last summer to calm any concerns about how much she has to do in a shorter time.

Tavatanakit won consecutive tournaments and had an outside shot at the money title in just 11 events.

''If I have the opportunity in hand, I have a good chance of keeping my card this year,'' she said. ''I'm just worried about when we're getting out of this break.''

Her best move was leaving California for Florida, where she has been practicing with her boyfriend at Isleworth.

''I can't imagine how hard it is to be in LA right now,'' she said.

Even so, the words of Rory McIlroy when he left The Players Championship rang true. McIlroy wondered that day what it would be like to practice without knowing when he was going to play again.

''I actually was thinking about. I was putting for 20 minutes and it was like, 'What am I practicing for?''' she said. ''You just have to be solid about your goals and have a picture of what kind of golfer you want to be, pushing forward and working hard. And I have a clear image of that. I'm a rookie. I'm trying to get up there. I have a lot to work on.''

Tavakanakit at least has high status for a rookie. Jiwon Jeon, who played at Alabama, is lower down the list, having earned a card through the Q-Series. She has played one tournament, the Vic Open, where she opened with a pair of 69s and shot 86 to miss the 54-hole cut.

Jeon was in Los Angeles working with swing coach Ted Oh and preparing for the Founders Cup in Arizona when the LPGA Tour shut down.

''It is very frustrating that I was only able to play one tournament so far, but I respect the decisions of the LPGA postponing the few events for our health and safety,'' Jeon said in an email.

She since has returned home to South Korea and is practicing, preferably outdoors.

''Due to new government regulations for COVID-19 pertaining to using indoor facilities (having to get temperature checked to enter and using the gym, etc.), I am trying to avoid indoor facilities and try to spend time outdoors playing golf,'' she wrote. ''If I have to be indoor, I wear masks.''

LPGA Tour rookies waiting patiently for golf to return
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