The future of the LPGA will find its shape in Houston
At the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship at Houston in just two weeks, LPGA members will decide who among them will work closest with Whan to help rebuild the tour.
What’s going to happen outside the ropes in Houston may be even more important than what happens inside.
Michelle Ellis said Wednesday that she will seek a second term as LPGA president. Seven player directors will decide her fate in a vote before the Tour Championship. First, though, the LPGA membership as a whole must choose who will serve on the board of directors. Juli Inkster and Christina Kim, two dynamic leaders with strong voices, will see their terms expire this month, though Kim is going to be presented for a new term. Once the membership votes on the board, the player directors will pick their president.
The week will also mark the first time Whan meets the membership in a players meeting. Plus, the 2010 schedule will be released. It's a big deal with so much player angst surrounding the rebuilding of the schedule. Players are especially eager to hear what the future of the LPGA Championship will hold, where it will be played next year and who's going to be the title sponsor. When acting commissioner Marty Evans took over in July, just 13 tournaments were under contract for next year. Eighteen have been announced so far with the tour projecting that 22 to 25 will be on the schedule. There were 34 events on last year's schedule, 27 on this year's.
“Given the circumstances, the economy, I think everyone’s happy and proud we’ve been able to pull that many tournaments together,” Ellis said. “It’s a great stepping stone for us to become bigger, better and stronger.”
Ellis wants to be part of that building. She presided over one of the most critical transitions in the history of the tour with a player revolt forcing out Carolyn Bivens as commissioner this summer. Ellis did so while dealing with personal heartache that tested her on mutliple levels. Ellis spent most of the summer in her native Australia helping her family tend to her ailing father, who died of cancer at the start of September. Her game suffered as she steered the tour's board through its leadership transition and her father's illness. The eight-year veteran endured her worst year on tour, failing to make a single cut in 13 LPGA starts. LPGA vice president Sherri Steinhauer termed Ellis' dedication to the tour 'absolutely amazing' given the hardships she faced this past year. Steinhauer said Ellis sacrificed her game for the tour's greater good.
'I've learned a lot, we've all learned a lot this year,' Ellis said. 'It's been a bit of a roller coaster, but all we can do is take what we've learned and try to make ourselves better.'
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
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.
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.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18