From Stephanie Wei:
The basic building fundamentals for broad-scale excitement and growth of the LPGA are what brought me here. You’ve got players from around the world. You have fan bases being built across the world. You have superstars from all regions. You’ve got a long-term media partner. If you think of sports that have had burgeoning significant growth, they all start with those basic fundamentals and the LPGA is already a phenomenal entity. But in terms of upside potential, it just seems staggering.
He was actually a little more plainspoken in his statement at the press conference, but not as specific about the tour's global reach as a unique strength of the LPGA.
From John Paul Newport:
"What you've really got with the Tour is the greatest female worldwide competition going," he said. "At women's golf summits going back for years, we've always talked about finding future superstars from all over the world, not just Europe and the U.S.
"Today that's actually happening. A young woman in virtually any region of the world now can aspire to be a professional golfer, and in many cases find a role model from right there in her own base. And that's pretty special. In the world of competitive women's sports, it what sets the LPGA apart."
From Randall Mell:
"The only reason I joined the groundscrew was so I could play for free in the afternoon," Whan cracked. "I'd get up at 5:30 and cut the greens, go home and sleep for an hour and then go back and play golf."
Whan's father and mother both played golf, though his mother took it up later in life.
"My dad always believed that the game of golf was more than just a sport, it was more than just competition, it was life lessons," Whan said. "Sometimes when you're 12, 13, 14 years old, you don't realize you're learning them, but as I think back to the lessons I apply to life every day, a lot of them come right off the golf course."
Where have I heard that before?
Here's hoping that one of the lessons Whan learns from Marty Evans is schedule coordination. From the sounds of this AAP report, the LPGA has already come to an agreement with the LET and ALPG on its February and March schedule:
...the [ANZ] Ladies Masters at Royal Pines will now be played from March 4-7 while the Women's Australian Open at Melbourne's Commonwealth Golf Club has been pushed back to March 11-14....
[Ochoa] is expected to play in two events in Thailand and Singapore in February leading into the ANZ Ladies Masters which will now be played during a break in the LPGA tour.
Not the tri-sponsorship I wanted, but still pretty interesting. Let's see more in this vein from Whan!
[Update 1 (10/30/09, 2:42 am): Nice to know IMG understands that the LPGA is the most globalized professional golf tour in the world. Pretty good expansion of the tour's global tv audience since 1996, too.]