SBD/Issue 163/Sports Media

Why Did LPGA, Golf Channel Not Air Lorena Ochoa's Final Event?

Ochoa's Final LPGA Event
Not Televised In The U.S.

There were "ongoing discussions" between Golf Channel and the LPGA about getting weekend coverage of the Tres Marias Championship once Lorena Ochoa declared it would be her final tournament, but the event "was not televised in the U.S., or even streamed live on the internet," according to Len Shapiro of the WASHINGTON POST. The event was "never included as part" of the LPGA's package with Golf Channel, and Golf Channel Managing Dir of PR Dan Higgins said of adding coverage, "It was not our call; it was the LPGA's call." LPGA Chief Communications Officer David Higdon: "We did approach (the Golf Channel) to see if they would be interested. But the quality (of the international feed) was not acceptable to them. From our standpoint, we felt it was really important to get it on." Higdon indicated that the LPGA also "approached several companies about the possibility of streaming the international feed live over the LPGA Web site, and that fell through, as well." He said, "Ever since (Ochoa) announced her retirement, we were literally scrambling for two weeks to get something. But we just were not able to get it done." Shapiro notes Golf Channel, which "purports to offer blanket coverage of all things golf, did not even bother to send a reporter or a cameraman to the Tres Marias tournament." However, Golf Channel Japan "managed to dispatch a reporter and a camera crew" to Mexico once it was clear eventual winner Ai Miyazato was in contention. Shapiro wrote the LPGA would be "wise to start approaching other national American networks about the possibility of televising more tournaments in the future" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/6).

HOLES IN THE LPGA'S GAME? In Virginia, Tom Robinson wrote the LPGA as a "viable entertainment vehicle is sadly adrift," and it "wasn't exactly speeding down the relevancy highway" in the first place. The Michelob Ultra Open, which had "one of the biggest purses on the sputtering ladies' tour, is no more," and now Ochoa is "gone from the tour at age 28." The LPGA's "hole-filled schedule calls for one full-field event in the United States in the next six weeks," and after the U.S. Open in mid-July, it "disappears from domestic soil until Aug. 20 (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 5/4).

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