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Old 03-30-2012, 08:39 AM   #1
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Good story/good solution

Thought y'all might be interested in this story

LPGA's biggest problem is scoring barrier, not language barrier

  • Brandel Chamblee, SI Golf+ Contributor
Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 | 12:33:05 PM
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In 2011, Yani Tseng was the only player on the LPGA tour with a scoring average below 70.

In 2008, Carolyn Bivens, then LPGA commissioner, issued an ultimatum to the 121 international players with LPGA cards: Speak English, or else. It was a knee-jerk reaction to the perceived problem of too many foreigners on tour, in particular South Koreans, and their inability to interact with U.S. fans and media. Under the proposed mandate -- it was quickly rescinded after it met with a maelstrom of criticism -- players failing oral evaluations beginning in 2009 would have faced suspensions. Bivens was hoping to spur interest in her tour, but she missed the point: The problem with the LPGA isnít that players canít speak English -- itís that the playersí scores arenít speaking for them.

In 2011, one player on the LPGA had a scoring average below 70 (Yani Tseng, 69.66), and 78 players failed to notch a scoring average below 73. Compare that to the menís side, where 19 players cracked 70, led by Luke Donald at a sizzling 68.86, and not a single player had a scoring average above 73. These statistics arenít a knock on the women -- believe me, theyíve got serious game -- but rather on the setups they play.

In a world filled by tweeters with short attention spans and newspapers short on column space, LPGA scoreboards should bleed red to generate more fan interest; instead, the ladiesí tour is applying a tourniquet with long, taxing course setups. PGA Tour setups average about 7,400 yards, while the women play courses around 6,500. Hereís the problem: The biggest hitter on the LPGA last year was Tseng, who averaged 269.2 yards, almost 50 yards behind the menís top bomber, J.B. Holmes. (Indeed, Tsengís average distance would have ranked dead last on the PGA Tour.) If you take the 50-yard differential between Tseng and Holmes multiplied by the 36 full shots generally struck during the course of play, you get a better idea of the yardage thatís appropriate for the LPGA -- somewhere in the 6,000-yard range.

Shorter setups would lead to lower scores, and as far Iím concerned, the lower the better. If the ladies outgunned the men, fans would have no choice but to marvel at the talents of women shooting in the low 60s. Such numbers would be in sharp contrast to the opening event of the 2012 LPGA season, the Australian Open, where only six sub-70 scores were posted all week.

In early 2010, I noticed easier course setups on the PGA Tour relative to previous seasons. I asked a Tour official if this was intentional, if the Tour was trying to draw attention to the talents of its players and away from some of the tawdry storylines casting a shadow on the game that year. He smiled. That same year two players went on to break 60, three shot 60, and another four carded 61s. I remember almost every week in the studio we had a ď59 watch.Ē

The LPGA could stir up similar excitement with more playable setups, and its players could come to be identified with the same kind of eye-popping scores that we now associate with Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby. Itís a simple formula to grasp, no matter what language you speak: More birdies = more buzz.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:52 AM   #2
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He is correct in a certain respect, but I do not think that there is a solution.

What I see is a complete disconnect with the top players say 1-15 and the rest of the field. The top players are so much better then the rest of the field and are so consistant. Lets face it the bottom half of the lpga is just not that good, when compared to the top. There is just not enough talent from top to bottom as there is in the PGA. And I think that the divide is growing.

You can't make the courses shorter. Certainly 6000 yds is too short. There are too many big hitters for that. 6300-6500 is fine. Perhaps they need some lessons on course setup from the PGA.

You need to strike a balance. It can't be too easy and it can't be too hard. No one wants to see either week after week. How to do that, I don't know.
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Old 03-30-2012, 02:38 PM   #3
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Disagree with the article.

If the gals played courses at 6000 yds....all the long players would hit AW's into many of the par 4's and likely 3 if not 4 par 5's reachable by 80% of the pros.

Yes, there will be lowers scores and everyone wants to see birdies.
e.g.) no one likes a 1-0 hockey game....but I don't think people want to see a 9 - 6 game neither.

Golf viewership is male dominated.
Once the gals go down to 6000 the guys will say this is a joke....these gals are so bad the have to play from the men's white tees....because they have no game.

IMO....the guys play courses too short.....from last week on par 4's from 440-465 yds we saw TW hitting 3 iron & 7 iron...but the male audience would not laugh because only the best male weekend golfers can reach these types of par 4's in reg....likely with driver & hybrid.

IMO.....female golf viewership will increase when there are 5-8 extremely good looking pros with unique personalities who dominate the leader boards.
But no journalist/reporter will write a column as above because of the PC world we live in and creating a fire storm with the Martha Burkes' of the world.

Let's just enjoy the LPGA for what it is...a game that attracts a niche market.
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:27 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mr3putt View Post
Golf viewership is male dominated.
Once the gals go down to 6000 the guys will say this is a joke....these gals are so bad the have to play from the men's white tees....because they have no game.

IMO....the guys play courses too short.....from last week on par 4's from 440-465 yds we saw TW hitting 3 iron & 7 iron...but the male audience would not laugh because only the best male weekend golfers can reach these types of par 4's in reg....likely with driver & hybrid.

.

Agreed. Generally I play at 6200-6500 at the White Tees. That is the right distance, so I can relate directly to the distance that the gals play at. 5900-6000 is to low. I am certainly not a long hitter (I can get it out there at times). Maybe that was the distance 20 years ago for them but not today.

Problem with the men is that many of these courses are pushed to the max distance for them. They also have such an ability to shape shots that they are able to shorten the course buy taking risky short cuts with such incredible long shaped shots. There is also a risk reward with this, just ask Bubba Watson. The average person can no longer relate to the game that they play.

Let's just enjoy the LPGA for what it is...a game that attracts a niche market

Absolutely.
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:29 PM   #5
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You guys make good counter points to Brandel's observation. At first glanced I agreed with Brandel but I've been swayed. I enjoy seeing pro's handle adversity.
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:45 PM   #6
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When I first read the article, I also agreed. But, like xman, most of the courses I play are about a 6500 yards on average, so relating to the game the LPGA pros play is easy for me. Anything shorter would seem way too easy.

It's a double edged sword. I agree that lower scores might attract some viewers, but on a couse too short, most viewers would say "So what?"
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by bravedave View Post
You guys make good counter points to Brandel's observation. At first glanced I agreed with Brandel but I've been swayed. I enjoy seeing pro's handle adversity.
I have seen a lot of the LPGA live in person, and what I observe is that there is a great divide between the players. You can't look at it as just a numbers game. The bottom of the lpga is just not that good and they will bring down any average.

Also he forgets that the used to say that the scoring was too low. Double digits winning every tournament.
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:47 PM   #8
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Chamblee is basing his opinion on some false assumptions.

It's not important to have lower scores. It's important to have a higher percentage of good players. The LPGA is bloated with players who will never contend in a tournament. This weakens the entire Tour and the perception of women's golf in general.

Shrinking the courses to 6000 yards is counter-productive. Doing this will make a statement that women can only play professional golf on watered-down courses.

If the LPGA wants to grow its fan base and elevate its product, it has to do two things:

1. Reduce the number of exempt players and reduce the field size of full-field tournaments. Send the non-contenders to the Symetra Tour. Send the lower players on the Symetra Tour back to college or mini tours. This will raise the quality of play on both tours.

2. Stop latching on to and over-promoting players like Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie or Jessica Korda who have brief flashes of brilliance but are not the elite players on the Tour. It has to start actually promoting the top players even if they are not Americans or not pin-up beauties.

Fans will respond to good players playing well on hard courses. They always have.

Last edited by Blue; 03-30-2012 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:51 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by MarinePaul View Post
When I first read the article, I also agreed. But, like xman, most of the courses I play are about a 6500 yards on average, so relating to the game the LPGA pros play is easy for me. Anything shorter would seem way too easy.

It's a double edged sword. I agree that lower scores might attract some viewers, but on a couse too short, most viewers would say "So what?"
That's the cool thing about most of us avg men who play and also watch the LPGA. The actual game that they are playing relates to us, though they do it a heck of a lot better.

Just waiting for the first warm weekend around here to get out and play.
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Blue View Post
Chamblee is basing his opinion on some false assumptions.

It's not important to have lower scores. It's important to have a higher percentage good players. The LPGA is bloated with players who will never contend in a tournament. This weakens the entire Tour and the perception of women's golf in general.

Shrinking the courses to 6000 yards is counter-productive. Doing this will make a statement that women can only play professional golf on watered-down courses.

If the LPGA wants to grow its fan base and elevate its product, it has to do two things:

1. Reduce the number of exempt players and reduce the field size of full-field tournaments. Send the non-contenders to the Symetra Tour. Send the lower players on the Symetra Tour back to college or mini tours. This will raise the quality of play on both tours.

2. Stop latching on to and over-promoting players like Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie or Jessica Korda who have brief flashes of brilliance but are not the elite players on the Tour. It has to start actually promoting the top players even if they are not Americans or not pin-up beauties.

Fans will respond to good players playing well on hard courses. They always have.

Good points. Too many players for the number of tournaments that they have now.

Also remember when people used to complain that the star players did not play certain events, now they all play almost every event, making it tougher for the others.
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