The current global pandemic has put a halt on all major sports leagues, with the golf world seeing the cancellations of both the PGA Tour and European Tour until at least June. However, in Arizona there are still 2 professional tours hosting events. These “minor league” operations, referred to as mini-tours, usually offer budding golfers a chance to try their hand at the game and hone their skills, with some eventually migrating up to bigger tours and maybe even the PGA or LPGA Tour. These are completely legal as Arizona governor Doug Ducey has labeled golf courses and golf course maintenance as “essential” industries. The two tours are the men’s Outlaw Tour and the women’s Cactus Tour.
The Outlaw Tour is usually winding down around April, but with the current situation they are instead looking to add events. Outlaw Tour director Toph Peterson has indicated that they will begin broadcasting events through the app Periscope to provide a welcome diversion to fans stuck at home. The events have also seen higher profile entrants, including Alex Cejka, a European and PGA Tour veteran who has won over $12 million on the PGA Tour. Events typically have around 60-70 golfers, and are putting in measures to assure social distancing like playing in 3s and leaving flagsticks in the hole.
The Cactus Tour has seen a real uptick in support and competition as the women’s tour has seen an influx of professionals. Usually full of amateurs and newly professional golfers chasing their dreams, recent Cactus Tour events have seen wins from LPGA Tour members Carlota Ciganda, Haley Moore, Sophie Popov, Sarah Burnham and 2-time major winner Anna Nordqvist. While these golfers know they won’t get wealthy on this tours, it does provide them an opportunity to keep their game sharp with competitive golf while waiting for the LPGA Tour to return.