Sure, theyre struggling for sponsor dollars in a brutally tough economic climate. And, yes, theyre minimized by the presence of Tiger. So why the optimism?
Because the core of young talent is more appealing than at any point since Nancy Lopez and Jan Stephenson carried the womens game 25 years ago.
Players like Beth Bauer, Lorena Ochoa, Grace Park, Natalie Gulbis, Laura Diaz, Suzann Pettersen and Angela Jerman all have enough game to win consistently, but in terms of the sell, they all seem to get it. Theyre dedicated to fitness, they dress well, they smile and theyre media friendly.
Ive been in enough grill rooms to know how many of the men view the womens game, and it isnt always flattering. Men are men, and some would prefer to watch Playboy bunnies in soft spikes.
Of course, its terribly unfair. The women are out here on a daily basis for the same reason as the male pros. They want to shoot 67. And thats an honorable pursuit. If youre hung up on the attractiveness factor, go watch a fashion show.
That said, itd be foolish to suggest that the LPGA wouldnt benefit from the presence of a telegenic superstar. And the pool of potential candidates is growing impressively so that very soon, those who enjoy good golf and those who want to look at pretty people will both be satisfied.