The final entry list is out for the season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, and it’s no surprise that several hotshot international players have chosen to extend the offseason.
Danielle Kang, Nelly and Jessica Korda, Lexi Thompson, Brooke Henderson and Sophia Popov are among the big names who have committed to the field.
However the top three players in the world – Jin Young Ko, Sei Young Kim and Inbee Park – are skipping the first start in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The TOC is set to take place Jan. 21-24 at the Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando.
With only a month between the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida, and the start of the 2021 season, several international players opted to stay home for an extended time given quarantine regulations.
“I don’t think I’m going to make it back in time after I do couple weeks in quarantine,” Park said at last month’s CME. “It’s just not going to be I think long enough for me.”
It also didn’t help that the TOC is on an island in January. The Gainbridge Championship has been pushed back to Feb. 25-28. The two Australian events were canceled due to the ongoing global pandemic and the Asian swing of Singapore, Thailand and China has been pushed back to May.
Other winners skipping the season-opener include Lydia Ko, Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn, Minjee Lee, So Yeon Ryu and Michelle Wie West. Due to the limited number of events in 2020, this year’s TOC field also includes winners from 2018 (usually only the past two years’ winners are invited).
It took Hannah Green 40-plus hours to get back to her native Australia following the CME, and then she was required to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks over Christmas.
“Unfortunately, I’m not playing the Tournament of Champions,” Green said in Naples. “I’ve decided to stay in Australia because I haven’t been there since August. I felt like pretty much two weeks wasn’t going to be enough time at home. So I will be returning for the Kia Classic in March.”
Last year’s TOC winner, Gaby Lopez, will return to defend her title. Nasa Hataoka, the player Lopez beat in a Monday playoff, however, will not make the trip back from Japan.
LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam, who on Thursday will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, will compete in the celebrity division.
LPGA Tournament of Champions Field List
In Gee Chun
Mi Jung Hur
Hee Young Park
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/01/07/lpga-diamond-resorts-toc-nelly-korda-lexi-thompson/