“Hooks and Slices” will bring you our view on whats happening in the golf world.
This week marks the debut of the PBLPGA Tour at the Evian Masters. That’s the “Post Bivens Ladies Professional Golf Association”. The ladies start the rest of their season with an interim commissioner after the highest profile players on tour forced the beleaguered commissioner out. Carolyn Bivens was hired to move the LPGA out of the minor leagues and into the big leagues of sport. Some of her initiatives worked, others didn’t and Bivens developed a reputation as a heavy handed manager and an abrasive negotiator. The LPGA has lost seven different tournaments since 2007 and there are six tournaments that are without sponsors. With their tour’s future seemingly in trouble, the players took action to take control of their tour.
Now the LPGA starts a critical stretch in their season. With the US Open in the books, they open up today in France at the Evian Masters. The Evian Masters is a high profile tournament with one of the biggest purses of the year. Next week the tour moves to England for its third major of the season at the Women’s British Open. After these two important tournaments, the ladies take a break before starting The Solheim Cup in late August. If the LPGA is to recover from its current dilemma there needs to be some positive buzz coming from these big tournaments. The interim commissioner, Marsha Evans, is trying to piece together the 2010 season and needs to sign some new sponsors to keep the 2010 season viable. The economy is one of the reasons for the LPGA’s situation, but at the same time Bivens burned plenty of bridges in the tournament sponsorship world. If Evans is to land new sponsorship money she certainly could use some big name excitement to use as a selling point. So it’s time for the big names on tour to do their share now. They need Lorena, Paula, Christie, Natalie and most of all they need Michelle Wie to step up and add some excitement to this tour. Michelle moves the needle like no other player on the LPGA and now would be the perfect time for the tour for her to break through with a win.
The ladies have a great product. The play on the LPGA is excellent and the players are accessible and very fan friendly at their tournaments. If the stars of the tour can give the commissioner a little something to sell over the next few weeks, it could go a long way in getting some sponsorship support for year’s schedule.