Votaw LPGA Players Meet to Map out Future

By Associated PressMarch 7, 2002, 5:00 pm
LPGA Tour Commissioner Ty Votaw considers this weekend one of the most important events of the year, even though the women won't be playing a tournament.
Players will gather in Phoenix for a mandatory meeting that starts Friday. The goal of the summit is roll out a five-year plan aimed at allowing the LPGA Tour to better compete in the sports entertainment business.
'This will not be an explanation of things in the past, rather mapping out and designing the future course and sharing that vision,' Votaw said. 'We're not looking for players' approval. We're making sure they know what they have to do.
'We must be more than just professional golf played by women.'
Votaw declined to discuss details of the plan, only that it will not include 'drastic, gimmicky, short-term things.'
The LPGA is coming off a banner season in which its television ratings increased, Annika Srenstam turned in one of the greatest years by becoming the first woman to break the $2 million mark and the first to shoot 59. She also set a record for scoring average.
Still, the offseason was marked by uncertainty.
The LPGA reduced its schedule to 31 tournaments to have consistently stronger fields on better golf courses with bigger purses. That eliminated the Florida Swing for the first time since the Tour began in 1950.
The 2002 season began with Srenstam beating Lorie Kane in a playoff in Hawaii. Also last week, Anheuser-Busch announced it no longer would sponsor the Michelob Championship at Kingsmill, but instead sponsor an LPGA event starting next year.
'That's a reflection of what we're trying to do,' Votaw said. 'We're looking at significant purses and markets that have supported golf.'
Earlier this week, The Office Depot Championship in Los Angeles raised its purse by $100,000, making it the 25th tournament with at least $1 million in prize money.
'We wanted to have an average purse of at least $1 million, and we've already got that,' Votaw said. 'We wanted every event to have at least a $1 million purse by '03, and with only six to go, we're well on our way to accomplishing that goal.'
Votaw said the three-day summit will focus on tournaments, the relationship with fans and players understanding their roles in making the LPGA Tour become more successful. He said the five-year plan would be unveiled Saturday, with the rest of time devoted to educating players on tournament business and corporate sponsorship.
'We'll be asking many of our players to be leaders,' he said. 'There are going to be disagreements. I only hope that what happens is that people know what the plan is, what environment they're competing in and what they will have to do.'
The LPGA Tour resumes after the summit with the Ping Banner Health at Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix, where Sorenstam shot her 59.
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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

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JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

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Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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