Wednesday, July 25, 2012

LPGA Denies Ariya Jutanugarn's Q-School Petition

Ariya Jutanugarn's petition to enter Q-School this year has been denied by the LPGA. Jutanugarn, who is 16 years old, will turn 17 on November 23rd. The LPGA rule states that a player must turn 18 years old by January 1 to be eligible for the qualifying process.

Ariya's primary reason for filing this petition was that her sister Moriya Jutanugarn, 17 and turning 18 on July 28, is going to Q-School and the younger sister wants to play alongside her older sister.

"I feel sad because they tell me I'm too young," Jutanugarn said. "I think I have a chance to qualify at Q-School for the LPGA, I just want to try."

Lexi Thompson, who filed at the same age as Ariya, was granted permission last year by the LPGA.  Lexi went on to win the first phase of Q-School by 10 shots. She then won the LPGA Navistar Classic and was given her LPGA card by commissioner Michael Whan.

My Opinion:

Ariya is a very good player, already better than her older sister. In her two starts on the LPGA this year, she finished T12 at the Honda LPGA Thailand Championship and T22 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

That said, I still agree with the decision. The LPGA will still be there for her a year from now.
Lexi Thompson was an exception to the rule, as she proved by setting a record in winning on the LPGA at 16 years of age. If Ariya had won on the LPGA Tour, then the commissioner would have been forced to do the same.


Anonymous said...

Just strange she's deemed old enough to be invited to play on tour in 2 events (Thailand Honda & Kraft Nabisco), but deemed not old enough to attend Q-School.

e4626516-3e58-11e1-91da-000bcdcb5194 said...

I don't blame the LPGA for doing their best to uphold their age limitation, but they did allow Lexi to register for Q school before she got her win.

The difference seems to be that Lexi had already said that she wasn't going to college - her goal was to play on the LPGA tour. Jutanagarn says she just wants to play with her sister. Not a good reason to allow her into Q school where the rest of the field is fighting for their competitive future.

Anonymous said...

Besides Lexi, the LPGA has granted waivers to Morgan Pressel, Aree Song, and Jessica Korda. Ariya is in good company though. The LPGA also denied similar petitions from In Bee Park and Yani Tseng who both have won majors and have had successful careers.

I can understand the petition because it is easier for the family to support them both if they are playing the same tour. Whan is going to look at the enhancement of the tour. Ariya does not bring enough fans to the table to justify granting the petition.

The Constructivist said...

Sponsor exemptions are just that: invitations from tournament organizers offered b/c a sponsor wants them extended. The LPGA Tour has nothing to do with it.

It's hard to guess what the LPGA's criteria really are, as the stated ones are pretty vague and open to interpretation and there may be unstated ones (like sponsor support, media buzz, or actual/potential fan base) that matter as much or more. But I'd like to think it's really about how ready the golfer is to compete and live on tour. Teenagers who have had a lot of success at lower levels, and even in the occasional pro tournament, may still not be ready for the grind of life on the road, to deal with real struggles/adversity, and to maintain their composure when things are going really bad. (How many adults can handle all that?)

I believe Morgan and Jessica were fairly close to turning 18 when they got their exemptions. I can't recall with Aree, but she's a great example of someone who had trouble physically dealing with the stress of regular competition at a world-class level. I suspect if Aree and Naree had turned out to be world-beaters, the LPGA would have been more open to Moriya and Ariya debuting at the same time....

Jim C said...

Morgan Pressel did not get early admission to Q School based on the rules then in effect. She qualified normally--but her LPGA membership was scheduled to start, not at the beginning of the year--but on her 18th birthday in May. She sued to hav it start early. Unfortunately Pressel ruined it Obviously the LPGA changed their rules to prevent this from recurring.

Anonymous said...

Ariya and her sister are great players. I think it is just a case of bad wording on reason to go to q school.