by Jeff Skinner
Note to the LPGA and Commissioner Michael Whan: Check the calendar when making your tournament schedule. The women of the LPGA are hosting their season finale this weekend at The CME Group Titleholders but it certainly will be upstaged by the men as they play The Presidents Cup in Australia.
More eyes will certainly be on the men but that doesn’t mean the Titleholders won’t be worthy of watching. The LPGA put together a new format for their final tournament this season. All the tournament winners qualified as did the second and third place finishers each week. That makes for a very talented and interesting field that will be vying for a $500,000 winner’s check. Only the U.S. Women’s Open pays more to the winner.
World number one Yani Tseng will try to earn her eighth LPGA title and twelfth worldwide win. Tseng leads the world in just about every category this year and she’ll be doing her best to bring home another championship.
Trying to keep her from that victory is an assemblage of the world’s best female golfers. World number two Suzann Pettersen wants a shot at Tseng and America’s best player Cristie Kerr will lead a strong contingent of Americans.
The LPGA may be promoting this as the finale of the season but it really could be looked at as the start of new generation for the LPGA. With the U.S.A. desperately needing a high profile winner this could be the starting point for a changing of the guard.
Lexi Thompson is in the field and will start her first season as a card carrying member of the LPGA next year. Thompson has been crowned as the “Great LPGA Hope” and a good finish here will jumpstart her 2012 season. Michelle Wie will be finishing her studies at Stanford next spring and will be able to concentrate on the LPGA full time. These two young women have the opportunity to be the much needed shot in the arm that the LPGA needs.
Michael Whan and his team are busy looking for new money to get a full season worth of tournaments for these women to play. His job would be much easier if Thompson and Wie perform. Yes, there is plenty of money in Asia and the tour realizes that but to keep the tour viable and significant in the U.S. they need American faces to win on home soil. Wie and Thompson may just be the hope of the LPGA.