New LPGA Playoff Rocks


Maybe that executive search team should have been looking closer to home. Maybe somebody should go back one more time and try and convince LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw not to leave his post at the end of the year.
Hes having a pretty good 2005 so far. If there was such a thing as a Lame Duck Hall of Fame, Votaw would be a first ballot inductee.
It got even better Tuesday in Maryland where, in advance of the Thursday start of the McDonalds LPGA Championship, Votaw made news.
The LPGA is going to have a playoff system. Interesting idea. They have beaten college football to the punch. No upset there. But last time I checked the playoffs worked pretty well for the NBA and the NFL.
Heres how it will work for the women:
Starting in 2006, the LPGA season will be divided into halves. Players can earn points to get into the 32-woman field for the event at Trump International that formerly hosted the LPGAs Tour Championship.
A total of 15 players from each half of the season and two wild cards will advance to the playoffs. Following 54 holes of stroke play, the two players with the lowest scores will play 18 holes, head-to-head, with the winner carting off a million bucks. That number, by the way, represents almost double the highest payday currently available on the LPGA.
They will call this brainstorm the LPGA Playoffs at The ADT.
Said Votaw Tuesday: It is an innovation that will energize our yearlong schedule and generate significant fan and media attention throughout the year as players compete for playoff spots and the speculation about whos in and whos out builds throughout the season.
Among other things, winners of the four womens majors will automatically qualify and players with the best performance in the Asian swing in the fall will qualify.
Votaw also introduced a new branding campaign called These Girls Rock, which will attempt to capture more of the publics imagination.
Two thoughts:
The girl who rolls the rock (read: putts well) will have the best chance in the playoffs.
And: If Annika Sorenstam doesnt make the final two of the first annual playoffs, interest will wane.
On the other hand, what if we got Michelle Wie vs. Paula Creamer? Or Sorenstam vs. either Wie or Creamer?
In any of those cases, interest would spike considerably. In the meantime, my interest just spiked for the LPGA. And, I repeat, maybe somebody should go back to Votaw and beg him to stick around at least a little bit longer.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt