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Clambake

LPGA in 10 Years?

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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......

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Interesting topic for discussion.  I don't follow the LPGA Tour enough to know if the current trends are a result of a push in Asia for more women to play golf professionally or if there's been a significant reduction in interest here in the states.

I've noticed that many U.S. LPGA players are also part-time models or some other vocation that uses their physical assets to supplement their income.  Is this due to their lack of golf skill, lack of prize money, combination of both or other reasons?

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Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

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?

Something I've noticed (though I could be wrong) is that about five or six years ago, the LPGA had a lot of young talent and a good deal of buzz about the Tour, but they were hurting financially. Today, from what I understand, they're in a slightly better financial position, but I can't remember the last time I saw the LPGA on SportsCenter, let alone a local sports station (like you would see when Sorenstam and Ochoa were winning). I think the lack of young, promising Americans has hurt the LPGA here somewhat from a buzz standpoint, and that has probably hurt sponsorship. [quote name="Clambake" url="/t/57469/lpga-in-10-years#post_704124"] 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.   [/quote] That's not something I see changing much over the next 10 years. It's much harder to make a living on the LPGA Tour then it is on the PGA Tour, especially long-term. Without some sort of college education, they'd be really short-siding themselves.

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Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

1 Tseng, Yani $958,126
2 Miyazato, Ai $629,783
3 Yoo, Sun Young $508,855
4 Shin, Jiyai $326,713
5 Choi, Na Yeon $310,972
6 Stanford, Angela $304,452
7 Feng, Shanshan $277,128
8 Ryu, So Yeon $259,450
9 Kim, I.K. $259,218
10 Lewis, Stacy $249,246

LPGA tour money list so far this year.  I couldn't pick any of these girls out of a lineup.

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Originally Posted by Mr3Wiggle

1

Tseng, Yani

$958,126

2

Miyazato, Ai

$629,783

3

Yoo, Sun Young

$508,855

4

Shin, Jiyai

$326,713

5

Choi, Na Yeon

$310,972

6

Stanford, Angela

$304,452

7

Feng, Shanshan

$277,128

8

Ryu, So Yeon

$259,450

9

Kim, I.K.

$259,218

10

Lewis, Stacy

$249,246

LPGA tour money list so far this year.  I couldn't pick any of these girls out of a lineup.

I could identify 5 players if I was watching it on TV and they didn't put their names up.  In Asia it might be a different story.

Def seems like in 10 years there will be an LPGA major in Asia.  I think there are a lot of great talent but no one is that exciting to watch, except maybe for Yani.  This isn't the fault of the players, they're just trying to shoot good scores, but the LPGA needs someone like a Michele Wie.  A player that stands as an athlete, hits it far and can dominate.

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Originally Posted by Mr3Wiggle

1

Tseng, Yani

$958,126

2

Miyazato, Ai

$629,783

3

Yoo, Sun Young

$508,855

4

Shin, Jiyai

$326,713

5

Choi, Na Yeon

$310,972

6

Stanford, Angela

$304,452

7

Feng, Shanshan

$277,128

8

Ryu, So Yeon

$259,450

9

Kim, I.K.

$259,218

10

Lewis, Stacy

$249,246

LPGA tour money list so far this year.  I couldn't pick any of these girls out of a lineup.

You are not trying if you don't know Yani Tseng. She's 23 and has won 5 majors and 15 tournaments.

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Originally Posted by MSchott

You are not trying if you don't know Yani Tseng. She's 23 and has won 5 majors and 15 tournaments.

If she looked like Michelle Wie I'd know who she was.  Full disclosure though, the only women's sports that I even bother watching are tennis and gymnastics.

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Originally Posted by mvmac

I could identify 5 players if I was watching it on TV and they didn't put their names up.  In Asia it might be a different story.

That's certainly true - it is a very different story in Asia.     I happened to be in Taiwan on business last July when Yani was winning the Women's British Open, and it was all over the TV, newspapers, and a topic of conversation with almost everyone we met.     It was very reminiscent of when Tiger won the Masters in 1997 - even non-golfers were talking about it in awe and amazement.      The top Taiwanese, Korean, and Japanese women golfers have a level of celebrity and fame in their home countries that we in the US associate with our greatest football, baseball, and basketball stars.

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Do they have something like the president's cup for the females?  Japan invited many LPGA members years ago to tournaments and exhibitions.  I think Helen Alfredson even learned Japanese

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Do they have something like the president's cup for the females?  Japan invited many LPGA members years ago to tournaments and exhibitions.  I think Helen Alfredson even learned Japanese

Solheim Cup.

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The LPGA will certainly be even more global in 10 years....wait til China gets on board.

Young US girls aren't under the scrutiny and disciplined upbringing as their Asian counterparts to excel in golf and other things in life.

Look at the current world women amateur ranking....only 2 US gals....the opposite for the men.

Let take an example....Brittany Lincicome is likely the most talented US player....and i don't believe she has ever said she wants to be #1...she's rather tweet about taking a nap in the afternoon......how many regular 20 something gals can nap in the afternoon.

But Brit's goal are likely to make enough money per year to lead a life she chooses.....her life...her choice.

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Originally Posted by jamo

Solheim Cup.

... which I attended when it was held here in sunny SD.  The event was not very well attended despite all the stars that were competing, which tells you a lot.

The trend that we have seen for a while, increasing domination by non-U.S. players, will likely continue.  Golf does not appear to attract young athletes here in the U.S. to the extent that it does in many other countries.  I don't know why that is exactly.  This is a shame, as of course the interest of U.S. companies in supporting women's golf is to some extent a function of the success of American players.

LPGA golf is played at a high level and is compelling to watch, as anyone attending the Solheim would have seen for themselves.  I wish it well in the future but I have my doubts about the relative success of U.S. players - let's hope they prove me wrong.

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