Is women’s golf better off with a pack of players dueling for No. 1 or a dominant star leading the way? Senior writer Randall Mell and editorial director Jay Coffin offer their takes.
By RANDALL MELL
I’d prefer a dominant star who captures the public’s imagination on and off the course.
The game swells in popularity beyond its traditional boundaries when that happens.
One star-power personality trumps a dozen very good players.
Annika Sorenstam appeared to lack charisma when she first ascended to the top of the women’s game. She was cool, reserved and her discomfort in the role made us uncomfortable, but that all changed when she teed it up at Colonial against the men. Something magical happened with her first tee shot there. She instantly gained star power. People began connecting with her in a way they never did before, and, more importantly, she began connecting with them. She understood her role and began embracing it in a way she never did before. She grew more comfortable leading her tour and grew more sure of herself. She became a strong figure on and off the course with her opinions mattering immensely.
But I’ll take a pack of charismatic personalities dueling for No. 1 over a dominant player who lacks charisma and star power.The LPGA could use a Colonial moment, the emergence of a star folks will switch on their TVs to see.
By JAY COFFIN
After such a long spell of having one dominant player at the top with Annika Sorenstam preceding Lorena Ochoa, I’m ready to see a wide open race for the No. 1 position in women’s golf.
We’ve had three women find the No. 1 ranking since Ochoa retired, I wouldn’t mind seeing another three ascend to the spot before the year is over. It’d be good for the game and good for a change.
In order, Jiyai Shin, Ai Miyazato and Cristie Kerr have tasted the top in the past three months but the likes of Suzann Pettersen, Yani Tseng and Anna Nordqvist all have the same potential to be Queen of the LPGA Mountain. And this list doesn’t even include marquee stars like Paula Creamer and Michelle Wie.
Kerr was just dominant at the LPGA Championship and deserves the No. 1 ranking. But would it be so bad if Ai Miyazato won the U.S. Women’s Open this year, captured her first major, fifth tournament of the year and along with it the No. 1 ranking again? What if Shin won the Women’s British Open and was able to jump over both Kerr and Miyazato?
The LPGA needs as many stars as it can find. Let’em all duke it out for glory and not just step aside to watch one woman dominate.