Saturday, January 8, 2011

Why the LPGA Should Move the Morelia Event to San Antonio

By now, most of my regular readers have probably heard that the LPGA is considering cancelling or postponing the Tres Marias event in the 3rd week of April due to ongoing drug cartel violence in Morelia. But I have another idea. Why not move it to San Antonio? After all, Lorena Ochoa has been working hard to bring an LPGA event to San Antonio. With her "step away" from competitive golf looking more and more definitive and the only reason the Tres Marias event was able to stay on life support even when she was playing full-time was how excited Mexican fans were about seeing her play, the rationale for the LPGA to have 2 events in Mexico is looking murkier and murkier. Furthermore, the Futures Tour will be in town the following week, which would cut on travel expenses for lower-tier players and perhaps help the LPGA with infrastructural issues.

I know there is a very short time frame to make this happen, but there are other reasons for making the sacrifices necessary to ensure it does. If the LPGA were to cancel or postpone their 6th event of the 2011 season, then the early-season advantage swings even further in the direction of those LPGAers who can stay sharp on other major professional women's tours and who have the standing to get into the 3 early limited field events in Thailand, Singapore, and New Jersey. Since so much rides on the 1st priority status reshuffle of the season--getting into the top 40 on the money list early in the season can be a significant bump in a lower-runger's status for the rest of it, and even moving high into the post-Category 14 priority status list can change your season--it's vitally important to somewhat level the playing field that the LPGA add a Texas stop to its early-season full-field starts in Arizona, California, and Alabama. Otherwise, the reshuffle is likely to take place after the ShopRite--in other words, just in time to be almost perfectly meaningless for everyone who doesn't break into the top 40 on the money list, as it's limited-field events from after the State Farm the following week in early June all the way through to the 2nd half of August.

If this can't be done and the Tres Marias event has to be moved back to later in the season or called off completely for 2011, at the very least the LPGA should strongly consider making its 1st reshuffle take place right after the Avnet rather than the Sybase. The potential bump in highly-ranked players' position on the money list after that limited-field match-play event would make it even more difficult for lower rungers to make it into the top 40 on the money list. I'm heartened that someone at the LPGA office has already anticipated this possibility, as the 2011 priority status list only states that the re-ordering is "TBD." But I'd be even happier if Mike Whan and crew could continue to develop their lemonade-production abilities by bringing the Tres Marias stop to San Antonio.

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