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Old 04-30-2012, 11:12 AM   #1
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BRING THE U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN TO AUGUSTA NATIONAL?
Bamberger: While the Zurich was being played on CBS, the LPGA event in Mobile was being played on Golf Channel, and it was a great event: Stacy Lewis closed with a 69 to beat Lexi Thompson by a shot. I'm not going to ask you which you were watching. I will ask you this. The LPGA is looking to get something going, Lexi and Stacy are part of the solution. But what about this: a women's event, like the U.S. Open, at truly iconic courses. I'm stealing this from a friend and want to know what you think. How about a rotation for the U.S. Open that includes Cypress Point, Torrey Pines and THE AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB? Can you feel it folks? Can we get something started here?
Herre: A Women's Open at Cypress would be brilliant. The ladies will be playing the Open at Pinehurst in a couple of years.
Gorant: Definitely. They've started doing some of that -- the Old Course, Torrey Pines, Pinehurst No. 2 coming up -- and it lifts the whole enterprise. They should boycott Augusta though.
Shipnuck: The world is full of wonderful 6,500-yard courses that are way too short for the men but perfect for the best women. It starts with Cypress, but how about National, Somerset Hills...
Godich: Merion.
Van Sickle: Crystal Downs. Colonial. Whistling Straits.
Godich: Colonial is a shotmaker's course with a rich history. It is too short for the men, but would be perfect for the gals.
Morfit: Crystal Downs. Like it. Looks good on TV -- even crazier than Whistling Straits.
Van Sickle: Only problem with Crystal Downs is that there are no medium or large-sized cities in sight. Where are the fans going to come from? The answer -- they aren't.
Gorant: Probably Riviera, too.
Van Sickle: These all sound great, but when you get down to it, the only site that's really going to get people to watch a Women's Open who otherwise wouldn't is Augusta National. Women's golf is a niche in the game of golf, which is a niche sport. They're a niche of a niche. I'd love to see some sponsor drop big bucks on the tour to promote the game, the way Nabisco once did and Mazda once did. But it's just like women's college basketball -- you can't make fans go to the games unless they want to. Pat Summitt made fans want to go with her team at Tennessee.
Wei: Augusta National? That's the funniest thing I've heard in a while.
Herre: I can't get past the incongruity of having a Women's Open at ANGC. It would be wrong on multiple levels.
Godich: I guess you'd feel the same way about Pine Valley?
Morfit: I am very curious to see how the Women's Open at Pinehurst works out, the week after the men have theirs at Pinehurst. That's almost how tennis does majors, obviously. Maybe there's something to it.
Hack: Can you imagine Wimbledon without Martina and Chris and the Williams sisters? I can't. Would love to see Yani and Lexi duke it out at Amen Corner.
Bamberger: Now that's what I'm talking about, Damon. I'm saying right here and right now, the U.S. Women's Open should go to Augusta National once every four years, and the other three should be other iconic clubs. Had there been golf in the Olympics in '96, there would have been a women's competition at Augusta. Why not a U.S. Open in late May or early June? Weigh in, please!
Godich: It would be smart of the Lords of Augusta, deflecting some of the talk about the membership issues.
Van Sickle: I asked Ty Votaw a similar question years ago when he was LPGA commish and he said, yeah, he agreed, if only it was that easy. They've started doing it with the Women's British. I'd love to see Pebble, Cypress Point and Merion, for starters. Throw in Shinnecock Hills. Oakmont proved way too difficult for the ladies, so they moved the tees way, way up and ruined the mystique. How about Firestone and the Stadium Course? Don't think Augusta National will go along -- it'd just be another opportunity for the media to discuss the membership policies -- unless it resolves that issue to the public's satisfaction.
Shipnuck: There's a handshake deal to bring the Women's Open to Pebble. It's long past the time to get that on the schedule.
Van Sickle: Why wait for Pebble? Sign it up for Spyglass Hill to get the ball rolling. Same ritzy neighborhood.
Hack: Know how Billy Payne would become the Branch Rickey of golf? Hold an LPGA major at Augusta and make the winner the club's first female member. You talk about ratings.
Wei: I'm sure Billy Payne is very concerned about the LPGA's ratings!
Bamberger: He is, or should be. His goal is to grow the game.
Van Sickle: As long as we're talking about things of equal likelihood, What if the Moon catches on fire, falls from the sky and lands on Trump Tower?
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: What would you think of a U.S. Women's Open rotation that included iconic courses like Augusta National? Is Augusta a good choice? What courses would you select?
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:13 PM   #2
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Buzz...thx

Another meeting of writers yammering.

They should talk more about suggestions/ideas how to grow the LPGA.

If the gals can play the prestigious clubs...IMO....it's not necessarily going to grow the LPGA much....nobody will still watch.
Besides, these clubs don't want to open their door to the public too often....that's why they are prestigious.

I don't think it's necessary to play the USWO at these clubs...although it would be nice.
The USWO can attract galleries pretty well anywhere in the country.

At least in my life time...no way is Augusta going to host a women's event....it takes away from the prestige and mystic of the Masters and the club....minimal access.

I think the focus for event location should be to get them as close as possible to large metro areas and also with Asian demographics....go where your customers are.

The KIA should move near LA, with a large Korean population.
SF might do well at Harding.
Get a Texas event and an event(s) near Chicago, Philly/Pittsburgh....the LPGA Championship should move to these areas...the attendance in Rochester has been dismal....but this won't happen til a new sponsor is found...Wegman based in NY state.
FYI....Wegman is rated among the top as a grocer retailer....never been but read good things.

For selfish reasons....I'd like to see a return to Seattle.
Paging Paige.....she's bright and good looking.
Partner w/ Whan and bat your eyelashes cold calling on Microsoft, Safeco, Costco, Symetra, Weyhauser, Starbucks, etc.
There must be some U of Wash alumni in executive positions at these companies......network, network, network.
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:36 PM   #3
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Is the answer really big markets for attendance? Is Rochester that bad for attendance? Is that true.

I thought (could be wrong that as far as attendance some of the small markets were good (Toledo, Corning, Kingsmill) and are returning to Toledo and Kingsmill. Corning was lost not for lack of attendance but for financial problems at the Corning Co. Not much else in that part of upstate NY.

Iv been to the Shoprite in southern NJ. It is near AC but that is not a big population area either, too far from Philly. I thought the attendance was good. Was there last year. If anyone is nearby it is a great tournament to go to. Must be one of the easiest courses to walk (is dead flat), and lots of good viewing areas.

Forget about Augusta. Why give them more respect then they deserve. They had nothing to do with it. They need to thank Bobby Jones everyday of their lives for giving them this gift.

Give me Bethpage Black, Torrey Pines or St. Andrews. Places we can play too.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:04 PM   #4
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IIRC...there was dismal attendance LPGA Champ on Thurs-Fri last yr...and this is a major.

Yes, the events you mentioned could attract a fair gallery.
I think Bivens had a hand in Corning's downfall....I think she wanted them to move the timing of the event and up their purse in a poor economy.
Tidbit....a pro said Corning's practice range was the smallest on tour.

Ya sometimes size doesn't matter.
I think Sybase is 45 mins from NYC....they had poor attendance last yr and I might expect the same this yr.
The best days to go are Thur-Fri and most are working...and if you get a bunch of no names on the weekend....TV ratings and fans drop like a stone.
I like match play...but think they should change this to stroke play....LPGA is having a hard time attracting fans as is.

And Phoenix had under 40k weekly attendance...yes Sunday was rainy...but the WM Open can get 100k+ on a Sat.

I forgot about Bethpage...good catch....do they have tees around 6500-6700 yds?

I wish Bandon had the infrastructure to hold a female or male event......on my bucket list...hopefully soon b4 I'm using a walker.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:22 PM   #5
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Buzz real good post from you as usual. I have no opinion at this time.
I have a retired professor lives near me we sit and talk for hours.
As dirty Harry said a man has to know his limitations.
To prove I have some smarts I mostly listen to this fellow.
I get to learn and drink beer you can't do that in a college class.
In conclusion as stated at this time no opinion.
Waiting for yours and others that know more about these courses etc.
Interesting topic.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:54 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Van Sickle
Van Sickle: These all sound great, but when you get down to it, the only site that's really going to get people to watch a Women's Open who otherwise wouldn't is Augusta National. Women's golf is a niche in the game of golf, which is a niche sport. They're a niche of a niche. I'd love to see some sponsor drop big bucks on the tour to promote the game, the way Nabisco once did and Mazda once did. But it's just like women's college basketball -- you can't make fans go to the games unless they want to. Pat Summitt made fans want to go with her team at Tennessee.
This is true.

Originally Posted by Godich
Godich: It would be smart of the Lords of Augusta, deflecting some of the talk about the membership issues.
This is so false. It would inflame the membership issue not deflect it. People would decry the hypocrisy of a club that hosts an LPGA event (OK, USGA women's event technically...) but won't allow women members.
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mr3putt View Post
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IIRC...there was dismal attendance LPGA Champ on Thurs-Fri last yr...and this is a major.

Yes, the events you mentioned could attract a fair gallery.
I think Bivens had a hand in Corning's downfall....I think she wanted them to move the timing of the event and up their purse in a poor economy.
Tidbit....a pro said Corning's practice range was the smallest on tour.

Ya sometimes size doesn't matter.
I think Sybase is 45 mins from NYC....they had poor attendance last yr and I might expect the same this yr.
The best days to go are Thur-Fri and most are working...and if you get a bunch of no names on the weekend....TV ratings and fans drop like a stone.
I like match play...but think they should change this to stroke play....LPGA is having a hard time attracting fans as is.

And Phoenix had under 40k weekly attendance...yes Sunday was rainy...but the WM Open can get 100k+ on a Sat.

I forgot about Bethpage...good catch....do they have tees around 6500-6700 yds?

I wish Bandon had the infrastructure to hold a female or male event......on my bucket list...hopefully soon b4 I'm using a walker.
Good points. I agree that Sybase should switch to stroke play to better attract fans. If the LPGA wants to have a matchplay event I think it would be better at a site in a small population area where any LPGA event will be a novelty, not in the nation's biggest metropolitan area.

Maybe the LPGA also needs something like the 16th hole at the WM Open or the 17th at TPC Sawgrass. People watch these events just to see the action on these holes.

I'd like to see the LPGA Championship moved to a different site every year as a way to add excitement and bring in new fans.
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:36 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Blue View Post
Good points. I agree that Sybase should switch to stroke play to better attract fans. If the LPGA wants to have a matchplay event I think it would be better at a site in a small population area where any LPGA event will be a novelty, not in the nation's biggest metropolitan area.

Maybe the LPGA also needs something like the 16th hole at the WM Open or the 17th at TPC Sawgrass. People watch these events just to see the action on these holes.

I'd like to see the LPGA Championship moved to a different site every year as a way to add excitement and bring in new fans.

Been to the match play alot. Problem is Match Play. Personally I like it but that doesn't matter. Names or no names it is difficult on the weekends. Basically on Sunday you only have 4 people playing. You have to follow the whole thing. It is a tough walk. You get the hard core fans. Strange thing is that when the match play was in August (when it was relly hot) it got a good crowd. Yes thursday is the best day to go.

This used to be a stroke event and was played in New Rochelle NY. Been to that plenty of times and attendance was good. Then there was some weird problem with the course, sponsors etc that I don't remember the details. The ended up playing the HSBC matchplay there for it's last year and the Sybase stroke event was moved somewhere in NJ (at a nice course closer to NYC) after skipping a year I think. This had good attendance (especailly for Annikas final tour) at the other NJ site. Then for what ever reason they made this into a Match Play event and moved it to Hamilton Farms in NJ. Supper Nice course but a little removed from NYC. Attendance is actually better on the Thursday and Friday. There are enough matches that you can be a stationary viewer and there are matchs the whole day so you have people comming and going the whole day.

I can't speak about the Wegmans LPGA, but I had been going to the Mc'ds LPGA championship in Bulle Rock for the last few years that they had it there and I thought it was a good venue and had good attendance. Of course Bivens destroyed that, but give credit to Wegmans for helping out. They were dedicated to the LPGA and wanted a tournament and the LPGA needed some way to save the championship and maintain a tournament.

Corning I know that Bivens played hard ball with the Corning Co. and probably destroyed that, but things are tough in that area, but it was a well attended tournament. They are community events.
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mr3putt View Post
And Phoenix had under 40k weekly attendance...yes Sunday was rainy...but the WM Open can get 100k+ on a Sat.
Myself I am bad at estimating the crowds. I would think that 40K for the week is OK. 10K a day.

I went to the 3rd round of the Open when it was at Saucon Vally club in PA, I thought there were a lot of people there but others said it wasn't well attended. I know others from here were there, what did they think of that attendance?

Maybe I am accepting of lower expectations.
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:13 PM   #10
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I think the Wegman's is a great tournament....I've been to it more than a few times. It is in a pretty good area to draw crowds located equal distance between Buffalo and Syracuse and all three cities have a zillion golf courses, both public and private.....and all good. I used to drive from Buffalo to Rochester to both play golf and watch the tournament. During the tournament I drove to and from my parents house in Buffalo on a daily basis...a little less than two hours. Also drove many a time to courses in the Finger Lakes area and Syracuse, too. Some of that was done during my college years....before the NYS Thruway was built to rip off drivers.

Rochester was a big money town a few years back, and all the top money men were Eastman-Kodak execs and Xerox execs. I haven't been there is some time, but with xerox gone and E-K bankrupt I imagine there's a big difference.

Mr. 3Putt...Rochester is home to Wegman's and I know it is growing over many states. I have had the opportunity to shop in Wegman's before I moved from Buffalo and I defy anyone to find a better grocery (etc) store anywhere in the country. They have been the #1 employer in the country for several years now.

Anyway, I think, if Whan can wangle an increase in the purse, that Rochester just might be a good championship site over the long haul.

Geez, and I'm a firm believer in brevity......

Viva Annika



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