LPGA players 'OK' with fifth major opportunity


EVIAN LES-BAINS, France – Cristie Kerr carved one shot after another through the light rain on the practice range built into the side of the mountain above Lake Geneva Tuesday at the Evian Championship.

There’s a strange new feel to this week for players like Kerr, who are used to playing Evian in the heat of July. The weather’s different here in September. It’s colder and wetter. The temperature was forecast for a high of 66 on Tuesday with a low in the 40s at night. Rain is expected again Wednesday and Thursday.

There’s something else monumentally different about this week. For the first time, it's now a major championship week.

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How do players feel about breaking with tradition with the addition of a fifth major?

Almost uniformly, they like it.

“I’m definitely not against a fifth major,” said two-time major championship winner Cristie Kerr. “They just have to be careful. You don’t want 15 majors. You want them to be really special.”

To accommodate the Evian Championship as a major, the LPGA moved the event to September, spreading out its biggest events with the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April, the Wegmans LPGA Championship in early June, the U.S. Women’s Open in late June and both the Ricoh Women’s British Open and Solheim Cup in August.

“I’m OK with it,” Angela Stanford said. “But you’re talking to someone who hasn’t won a major. It just gives me another chance.”

Paula Creamer won the Evian Masters here in ’05.

“I never thought I would be in a game with five majors, but I’m OK with it,” Creamer said. “It’s another chance to win a major.”

Kerr said she loves this event and likes the idea of playing it as a major a heck of a lot better than not playing it at all.

“Some people may like having five majors, some may not, but the majors have never really been set in the history of the women’s game,” Kerr said.

She’s right.

The women’s major championship lineup has changed so much over the years, ranging from a single major per year in the beginning to two majors every year, to three and then four and now five.

The Women’s Western Open, the Titleholders and du Maurier Classic were once majors. The U.S. Women’s Open was started as a major in 1946. The LPGA Championship became a major in 1955, the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 1983 and the Women’s British Open in 2000.