I watched a little of the LPGA tournament at Ko Olina this weekend, and it got me wondering where the LPGA will be 10 years from now. A few years ago it seemed the LPGA was nearly knocking on death's door, but under Michael Whan it has certainly started to breath some new life. But where is it going?
The number of tournaments are up, but almost 1/2 of them are now outside the US, with almost 1/4 of the tournaments now in Asia. Many of the new sponsors are now coming from Asia, such as Kia, Lotte, ISPS, Hanna Bank, Sime Darby, and Honda. The number of players on tour are increasingly Asian, and most of the top players are now from Asia.
It feels that development of new young female players is much stronger internationally than in the US, especially in Asia where there are strong programs set up to "build" successful players. In the US we still rely on college programs to create aspiring pros, but by definition those programs aren't geared to building a pro athlete, they're geared to building a successful student athlete.
I'm not at all jingoistic about this and I very much take a global perspective on business, so I really don't care whether the LPGA evolves from a US-centric organization to an organization anchored elsewhere. But it seems the handwriting is on the wall that the LPGA Tour in the future will be completely different than it was just 10 years ago - will the "A" in LPGA stand for "Asia"?
Curious what other's thoughts are......