Thursday, March 09, 2006

2006 - Off to the Future

This is an excerpt from the February 2006 Eye On Golf newsletter. (To receive a copy please leave a message.) This is being posted as groundwork for the future. No telling what might happen with the LPGA.

I just can’t wait for the 2006 professional golf season to begin. “What? Wait a minute! What did you say? It already has? The PGA Tour has already played three, no make that four, well, perhaps five tournaments already. Jeez, did I miss it? I hate it when that happens. Why didn’t anybody tell me? No one really gave a hoot? Gee, what a surprise!

Okay, let me rephrase that opening statement: I just can’t wait for the 2006 LPGA season to begin. Now people are starting to pay attention. Why? BECAUSE THERE’S ATTENTION-GRABBING STORIES ON THE LPGA TOUR! If the purses on the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour were determined by the “interest factor,” the money would need to be exchanged this year. What’s to watch on the PGA Tour this season? One thing: How many majors will Tiger win? So we’ll watch the four majors and maybe Finchem’s Fifth, The Players’ Championship – just to see how many balls get dunked on the 17th.

But the real excitement will happen on the LPGA Tour. It’s the best player on the planet taking on a bunch of cocky teenagers who almost won a couple of major before they could beg Dad for the family car. It’s not like a couple of years ago when the new “young guns” were supposed to take over the PGA Tour and make Tiger a fading memory. This is the real stuff and the right stuff.

Okay, so now you know. I am a big fan of the LPGA; have been ever since the great ladies of the game played near my childhood home in the 1960’s. Back then the LPGA Championship was conducted at Pleasant Valley CC in Sutton, MA. I became an even bigger fan in the 1980’s when covering golf for a local newspaper in Northern Virginia and they played the LPGA Championship at Bethesda CC in Bethesda, MD. And now I may be one of their biggest fans, a fan who looks to the 2006 season with the greatest anticipation. It is a watershed year. The LPGA has the chance to kick the butt of the PGA Tour. It will be the Year of the Kid. 2005 was merely the prologue. 2006 will be it. The golden goose is on the doorstep. The question is: Will Ms. Bivens let the goose in?

She’s already got a few of the golden eggs sitting in the basket. Let’s just look at that Fort Knox collection:
· Paula Creamer played like a veteran in her rookie year and then managed to stir the pot by confronting Annika on a ruling in the final event of the season. Now I know it wasn’t done as a publicity stunt, but…well, let’s just say it worked out well. So let’s pair Annika and Paula together in the first round of the season in 2006.
· Calendar girl Natalie Gulbis now has a new reality show and continues to be a big draw on the male side. Until recently it has almost been impossible to get a male golfer to go to an LPGA event. Amazing how all that is changing.
· The teenage invasion in on and the LPGA needs to grab the reins and go along for the ride. Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lang have passed Q-School and are ready to conquer.

Ed Note: Ms. Bivens appears to be a genius. Seeing the golden golf goose, she granted Ms. Pressel LPGA membership status before he eighteenth birthday. There was a bit of corporate speak going on, something about each case had to be decided on its own merits but the bottom line Morgan will play and Ms. Bivens is beginning to show the Midas touch.

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