Major Change, The LPGA Championship
by Jeff Skinner
The major season continues today as the LPGA tees it up at their second major of the season, The LPGA Championship. Locust Hill Country has hosted the LPGA for the past 33 years but this is the first time the tournament has been designated a major. Corporate sponsor, Wegmans, came to the aid of the LPGA and signed up for major status when McDonald’s bailed on sponsoring the LPGA Championship.
It should be an easy transition for the LPGA; after all, The LPGA Championship was started in 1955 and is second only to the US Women’s Open as the longest running tournament on tour. Wegmans long, successful history with the LPGA and a classic golf course make this a natural setting for a major championship.
It does present an odd situation for the “defending champions.” Anna Nordqvist won last year’s LPGA Championship and Jiyai Shin won last year’s Wegmans, so we have two defending champions, sort of. Both golfers will be in the elite field of golfers with Shin making her first appearance since her appendectomy a little over two weeks ago. Shin hopes to compete with the world’s best and defend her Wegmans title and if she can her doctors should share the trophy with her.
Speaking of the world’s best, the new number one golfer in the world, Ai Miyazato is looking to add to her collection of four LPGA titles already this season. Her run is the type of streak that Annika and Lorena would go on in their prime. Miyazato plays a finesse game that is well suited the narrow fairways and doglegs of Locust Hill.
We don’t have to go far to look for Miyazato’s competition, all of the top golfers in the world are in the field. Suzann Pettersen has played excellent golf this year but has not been able to close out a win. She still gets angry and emotional over poor shots and she’ll need to control her emotions this week in order to win.
If the Americans are to challenge for the LPGA Championship trophy, Cristie Kerr is their best bet. She’s number five in the world and already has a win this season. Michelle Wie may be the popular pick but while she does have three top tens this year, her past two tournaments were a T46 and a T52. The tour gets a boost this week as the very popular Paula Creamer tees it up in her second tournament since thumb surgery. She’s healthy and ready to chase down her first major.
With the PGA Tour in a post major week at the Travelers, The LPGA may be able to get some headlines if they have an exciting weekend with some familiar name on the leaderboard.