Anna Rawson, LPGA Savior, Leads After Round 1

If the whole “YOU MUST SPEAK ENGLISH” mandate from the LPGA was just a ruse to give the ladies some much-needed PR — even if it outraged everybody — if this keeps up, the tour could become relevant in the time it takes to hastily dial (213) 785-7675 into your cell phone.

Anna Rawson

That’s right, runway model and golfer Anna Rawson is tied for the lead after the first round of the Bell Micro Classic. This wouldn’t be noteworthy if not for the fact that she’s currently 150th on the money list and she’s extremely attractive. The former makes it sort of a compelling story, the latter makes it front-page news. Or at least it should.

Rawson, a former Southern California star from Australia, had six birdies and a bogey on The Crossing course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Magnolia Grove complex. She has missed the cut in seven of her nine tour starts this year.

“I just hit fairways and I hit it close a lot, and then I made the putts,” Rawson said. “I’ve kind of been playing that way for the last four weeks and I haven’t been making any putts. I think the new putter that I got on Monday really helped.”

Seriously, this is about the best thing that could happen to the women’s tour. Forever mired in a ratings slump — in part because of inane schemes to boost viewership, but primarily because there hasn’t been a dynamic player who has been both successful and widely marketable — Rawson fixes all that if she can be competitive.

Of course, if it were easy Michelle Wie would be — wait for it — the next Tiger Woods. Instead, she’ll try to earn her tour card via qualifying school after several fail attempts at doing so through tournament winnings.

Taking the glass-is-half-full approach, if Wie and Rawson could emerge as the LPGA’s version of Tiger and Phil Mickelson (without Lefty’s ample rack … obviously), it would go a long way in solving the tour’s irrelevancy issues. That’s a humongous “if”, however.