Fair Procedure


Bookmark and Share
Golf Channel promos have been blasting Christina Aguileras hit song Keeps Getting Better for the past couple of weeks. The lyrics make one wonder: Who will be the Supergirl next week as we turn our attention to the McDonalds LPGA Championship?
Its going to be difficult for it to be a European; let me explain why:
The women have four major championships, and just like the men, three are on U.S. soil. If we look at the mens majors ' the U.S. Open and Open Championship out of the mix, because both are technically open fields ' and just look at the Masters and the PGA Championship we find that in todays game they are relatively accommodating. The Masters exempts the top 50 in the world rankings and gives special exemptions to international players. The PGA Championship invites the European Ryder Cup side and players from a special PGA Championship points list.
The tournaments are better for it, attracting more publicity around the globe and bringing the game to newer audiences, not to mention giving deserving professionals a chance to compete on the world stage. But the same has not happened in the womens game.
The U.S. Womens Open and the Womens British Open have exemption categories which are skewed toward the LPGA. But they are both open tournaments, where anyone can legitimately qualify. The Kraft Nabisco and the LPGA Championship, however, are closed shops, where its very difficult to get in if you are not a regular LPGA member. Is this fair?
The Kraft Nabisco invites the top 3 from the Rolex Womens World Ranking, not otherwise qualified, and exempts the top 2 players, not otherwise exempt, from the previous years LET money list. It also exempts the top 2 from the Japan and Korean money lists, but that is only a total of nine players, from a field of 97.
The McDonalds LPGA is an even tougher ticket, with only the top 3, not otherwise exempt, from the Rolex Womens World Ranking getting into the field. Surely there is room for the current top 10 on the LET money list, the previous Solheim Cup side and the top 50 from the Rolex rankings. This would allow players like Marianne Skapnord and Melissa Reid, the top 2 players in Europe, to showcase their abilities and allow the American audience to see potential European Solheim Cup players ahead of the matches in August. By opening up these major tournaments a little more, the LPGA would attract more countries to the fray, increasing the possibility of international television and sponsorship revenues. The tournaments would also grow a little more in stature and become more international.
Next season the LPGA takes full ownership of the LPGA Championship, so there is the potential for the tour to revise its entry criteria. Maybe they can crack open that closed door just a little.
Email your thoughts to Tom Abbott