Tuesday, July 12, 2011

As the World Turns IV

It's been almost a month and a half since my last As the World Turns installment. There's a lot to catch up on!

The LPGA's Waterloo? Yup, the LPGA is coming to Waterloo, Ontario, Canada for at least 3 years starting next season for the 144-player, 72-hole Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. Some changes still remain to be worked out at the host course, Grey Silo, to accommodate fans while protecting environmentally sensitive areas, according to the Canadian media, but that goes with the territory of starting up a new event. Hound Dog guessed that the Wegmans LPGA Championship would be moved up a week to accommodate the June 18-24, 2012, dates for the LPGA's 2nd Canadian tournament, but the rumors out of Rochester...well, wait, this deserves its own subtitle!

Will Oak Hill Be on a Wegmans LPGA Championship Rotation? Chuck Wade and Sal Maiorana note that the Wegmans LPGA Championship will be moved up to June 7-10, 2012, to bring more separation between majors and to avoid conflicting with the U.S. Open, which will take place the week between the Rochester major and Waterloo event. But Randall Mell and Leonard Shapiro noted in late June that there's talk of a rotation of Rochester-area courses in the WLC's future and noted pros and cons, while Bill Bruton nominated Stafford Country Club for as serious consideration as Oak Hill, the Country Club of Rochester, and Monroe Golf Club. Cristie Kerr and Suzann Pettersen would like to see a Rochester rotation put in place, and I agree with them; in fact, I first raised the Oak Hill idea last November! I think the talk of Locust Hill being too easy is overblown--Kerr and Ya Ni Tseng happened to have career weeks in back-to-back years, while nobody else in either field could get to double digits under par--but it sure would be great to keep a major in Rochester (just not always at Locust Hill).

More Major Movement? Golfweek just broke the rumors that the Evian Masters will become the LPGA's 5th major in 2013 and move to the fall. Larry Bohannan, Ryan Ballengee, Armchair Golfer, and http://www.waggleroom.com/2011/7/12/2271935/are-five-majors-too-many-for-lpga-tour">Emily Kay have already commented on this rumor, but nothing they wrote approaches what David Barrett did in response to similar rumors last year. Given the rumors Golfweek passed along of an Asian major on the way, as well--the obvious choice here is the HSBC Women's Champions--I think the LPGA should set some clear benchmarks for a tournament to be granted major status: long-term contracts with guarantees of a purse of at least $4M by 2015 and at least $5M by 2020, a course or rotation that will challenge the world's best women golfers to get double digits under par in 72 holes and the rest to stay at (or get back to) even par, and entry criteria that ensure invitations to the Rolex Rankings top 50 and at least the top 3 money-list leaders from the previous JLPGA, KLPGA, and LET seasons not otherwise qualified, along as much access as possible for non-elite LPGA members who have been playing well in recent weeks or months (such as qualifiers at Opens, qualification through LPGA wins in the past calendar year or through performance at designated qualifying rounds in prior LPGA events, guaranteed spots for at least the top 3 in the LPGA's current Rookie of the Year race, and so on). Heck, if 10 sponsors and tournament organizers will agree to those criteria, I'd have no problem recognizing 10 majors!

Anything I missed? Let me know in comments!

5 comments:

The Florida Masochist said...

I prefer the traditional four majors but I also wish baseball didn't have have interleague play either but I still watch the sport.

My take- The LPGA has to be very careful. You designate a tournament the new major and you could well end up with a folded up major in a few years. I remember someone talking about the Michelob event getting major status and I vaguely recall the same kind of talk for the Ginn Open. We both know where those tournaments are on the LPGA schedule today.

Tony Jesselli (Tonyj5) said...

If I'm reading this correctly, you are stating that the U.S. Open takes place between the Rochester Major and the Waterloo tournament.
That is not correct. The U.S. Open takes place July 2-8, 2 weeks after Waterloo.

The Squire said...

Whan missed an opportunity here (or maybe he made the pitch but it was rejected). If Evian wants major status, the price should have been Evian agreeing to sponsor a second tournament - a domestic US tourney. Maybe one in Hawaii that could serve as a bridge to Asian event.

The Florida Masochist said...

Tony,

MH is referring to the Men's US Open which is always played on Father's Day weekend. That comes between the LPGA and Waterloo. The LPGA tries not to go head to head with the Men's Open. I think the last time they did so was in 2004 at Atlantic City. A amateur(Paula Creamer) nearly won it but it got no attention.

The Constructivist said...

TS, I'm not sure the LPGA has the leverage with anyone to demand 2 events these days. If part-time student Michelle Wie makes like full-time student So Yeon Ryu any time soon, that could change, but otherwise I think it's going to be a series of baby steps to get the schedule breaking 30 (on the right side) again.