Women’s professional golf has never attracted the amount of media interest commensurate with the level of play exhibited.
Annika Sorenstam was one of the finest players ever, male or female. Her demeanor on and off the course was exemplary. Her relationship with fans second to none and her competitive drive was fierce. Unfortunately, most of her career coincided with that of Eldrick the Great.
Going back in time, women’s golf received coverage during the age of Babe Zaharias. She was a world class track and field star, an all-American in basketball, played baseball, softball, billiards, was an expert diver, roller skater and bowler.
She was a late starter in golf, but based on payment received for other sports, she was denied amateur status. No problem. She entered the men’s Los Angeles Open in 1938 and missed the cut.
After sitting out all other professional sports for three years, the Babe regained her amateur status in 1942 and went on to win all of the prestigious titles on that side, before formally turning professional in 1947 and dominating.
In 1950, for example, she won the women’s Grand Slam of the day and between her amateur and professional victories, she won 82 golf tournaments, including 10 majors, and when she wasn’t setting new standards, she was a founding member of the LPGA.
Zaharias died On Sept. 27, 1956, of colon cancer at the age of forty-five, still a top-ranked golfer. Remarkably, we rarely hear of her accomplishments as one of the greatest golfers of all time, one of the greatest athletes of all time and one of the most influential people in the history of golf.
That brings us 2015.
The LPGA Tour is beginning to ride out the years of awkward publicity. Carolyn Bivens, the ousted commissioner, actually gained her wish to force the foreign players to learn to speak English.
Her methods were wrong but time cured the problem. In the meantime, Michael Whan, the current commission is guiding the right combination at the right time. He is also blessed by some of the finest female players in history.
Ever since Canadian Sandra Post became the first international player to win the LPGA Championship in 1968. the flood gates have opened.
Se Ri Pak’s proficiencies led to an explosion in women’s golf in South Korea and the trend toward top level development has continued until the LPGA is represented by players from all over the world.
I do wish Paula Creamer would drop her quest to conquer Augusta National. She got to stay on the grounds, play the course and attend the tournament. Isn’t that enough?
All I see is an unnecessary controversy that can only damage the outstanding work of those behind the scenes who are building the LPGA Tour into a force .
When it comes to ‘Play like a Girl’ the LPGA is a great role model both in golf and in life. Not only are the women good good, they are great ambassadors as well, on and off the course/
The LPGA Tour recently welcomed the latest addition to a sports’ marketers dream in Canadian Brooke Henderson. She is classy, photogenic, and personable and man, she can play.
History will always be full of great stories but the bottom line is always “What have you done for me lately?” The LPGA Tour is ready to answer in a big way.