It was the first time Bivens had made herself available to the media since the English proficiency gaffe in August and the packed house of journalists were eager to follow up with questions regarding that debacle, as well as the 2009 schedule, which had been speculated about ad nauseam over the past month.
She entered the room on crutches from a recent foot surgery and the throngs were waiting to see if the LPGA was going to limp into 2009 just as its leader had limped into the interview room. Nearly 40 minutes later, it was clear that the tour would feel the effects of the economic downturn in the U.S. and that, although several events would not return to the 2009 docket, the LPGA seemingly has weathered the storm at least for now.
Its no secret that the road ahead, particularly 2009, is going to test our mettle, Bivens said. The state of the global economy and the economic crisis were all facing has resulted in a slightly different tournament landscape. Its not something that comes as a surprise.
Here is a smattering of events that came out of the chat with the commish:
Of the 31 events, 13 are held outside the mainland of the U.S. There are three in Mexico, two in Hawaii and one in Canada, Thailand, Singapore, France, England, China, South Korea and Japan.
Purses will be around $55 million, about $5.25 million down from this year.
Ginn Resorts will have one event, not two as it has the past two years. It was announced earlier this year that the Ginn Tribute wouldnt return to South Carolina but that the company would focus its efforts on making the Ginn Open in Orlando a better event. However, the purse, one of the tops on tour over the past three years, is listed as TBD.
The Samsung World Championship will move from October to September but the course and city have not yet been determined. The China LPGA in late October does not have a venue and the Stanford Financial Tour Championship will be played in Houston but the course is not known.
Im sad that it wasnt able to work out, said unofficial tournament host Donald Trump. Thats the way it goes sometimes.
The tour says it simply couldnt come to terms with an agreement, but ADT officials told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that the LPGA upped its renewal pricing which caused the security systems company to re-evaluate the value of the overall event. ADT was also quick to point out that the decision was not based on cost cutting measures, but that it was increasing its marketing budget over the next couple years.
Besides, some players are not all too comfortable with the idea of opening a season for a $1 million first-place prize. Sure, the money is nice, but most rarely are in top form early in the season.
To come out of an offseason to play for $1 million would be interesting, Paula Creamer said. The same effect could be different.
Sure were uncomfortable with that, Bivens said. We want to fill holes.
Whats come out of all of that is offers in some cases for some pro bono work from some pretty impressive groups and organizations, Bivens said. And were taking them up on it.
So were actually going to make this more extensive than wed ever intended to in the very first place. And our goal is to come out of this a year to 18 months from now and have a model program.
And with that, what many believed would be a contentious Q&A session, turned into just another model news conference.