John Renslow: LPGA has grown into ‘world tour’
Get Into Golf
The LPGA Tour returned to American soil last week. After two events overseas, in Thailand and Singapore, the world’s best female players teed it up at the La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.
Yet, even with the tour returning to the states, the international players continue to dominate with a victory earned by Korean born, Hee Kyung Seo.
A global influence has become an integral part of female professional golf. In fact nearly half of the LPGA Tour’s 2010 schedule takes place on foreign territory, if not overseas. It’s a large departure from the tour’s origin that made travel convenience a priority.
Granted the LPGA Tour has a total of just 26 events on the calendar (compared to the PGA Tour which essentially plays year round), however, following two weeks in southern California, the ladies are off to Jamaica and Mexico.
Back in the U.S. for several weeks, then on a plane to France and England. Next stop, Oregon. Then they’re heading north to Canada. Another event in Arkansas and on down to Mexico again. A couple more tournaments stateside (including Danville, Calif.) and the Tour finishes up the year in Malaysia and Korea. Wow, I’m tired.
Although this has got to be a challenge for the players (and their wallets), it does accomplish a few things and is good for women’s golf. It is promoting and exposing the game to a host of new fans and players. It is moving toward a goal that a certain number on the men’s side have, a “World Golf Tour,” a tour with the best in the world in mind and not necessarily one country.
Ironic that just a couple of years ago, the LPGA was trying to prohibit its players from speaking languages other than English (for television interviews, etc.) and now it’s English speaking players are nearly required to be multilingual.
Many subplots will thin or thicken this year. Will Michelle Wie finally reach her potential and become a leader on the Tour? Who will rise to the top? Will it be one of the young guns like the Pink Panther (Paula Creamer) or Morgan Pressel? Or can Jiyai Shin (also from Korea) lead the tour in earnings for a second consecutive year?
It may be hard to keep track of where they are, but it’s always fun to watch the best in the world.
John Renslow is general manager and director of golf at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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