With everything that happened over the past 48 hours, I’ll excuse you if you weren’t paying much attention to the LPGA Tour. Which is the problem: nobody really is. Despite having young & talented players, pushing the sex appeal angle as hard as they can, and taking draconian steps to improve the tour’s visibility (remember English Only-Gate?), the tour is sinking to WNBA levels of irrelevancy.
(Anna Rawson might have more free time to secure domain names.)
This became painfully evident last week, when word came out that the tour was being forced to cancel its event at Kapalua in Hawaii scheduled for October because of the lack of a title sponsor. Which means that the tour schedule might have only 10 stops in the U.S. next year, including none in Hawaii, Arizona or Florida. But - to paraphrase “This is Spinal Tap” - that’s OK: those aren’t big golfing areas, anyway.
Anna Rawson usually knows how to get publicity for herself (even if it’s not because of her game) - the saucy LPGA golfer is quick with a quote and also quick to pose for pictures in skimpy, revealing outfits. But DEADSPIN passes on word that she’s getting publicity for all the wrong reasons, as she is having to defend herself after making some less-than-PC comments about lesbian golfers to an Australian radio station.
Specifically, she was asked about how much women’s golf has changed in recent years. Unfortunately, her answer didn’t involve deeper fields, a higher caliber of players, the influx of worldwide talent. Instead, she chose to reflect on how writers and male fans perceive the sport, using a word describing a barrier that holds back water in Holland quite descriptively:
If you were to take a look at the LPGA’s money list for the 2008 schedule, you’d see a lot of foreign-born players populating the top of the list. Korean women, in particular, seem to be taking the sport over. Nine of the top 20 women on the LPGA money list are Korean, while only five were born in the United States.
On the surface, this is a good thing for the LPGA. It means that the sport of women’s golf is growing around the world, which will in turn make the sport better. Still, there’s some downsides to having so many foreign-born players on the tour, and that’s that nobody can understand what anybody is saying. Which is why the LPGA has told it’s players that they better learn to speak English, or they can get off the tour.