Danica Patrick's contract with Izod IndyCar Series team Andretti Autosport expires after this year, and in Indianapolis, Bob Kravitz writes the series "absolutely, positively, imperatively needs to keep Patrick." Kravitz: "On a list of a thousand things IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard needs to do in the coming years, finding a way to retain Patrick for his series ... should be top priority." She is the only driver "who can move the needle" in the series, and IndyCar "needs her far more than NASCAR needs her." Kravitz: "And if this is all about winning and not just money and marketing, she needs IndyCar far more than she needs NASCAR" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/20).
LOOKING FOR THE NEXT STAR: In S.F., Ron Kroichick wrote the PGA Tour "needs marketable players to step forward -- preferably American players, because the tour targets a U.S. audience." Rickie Fowler is "exactly what the game needs to connect to the next generation of fans." The 22-year-old is "on the fast track to stardom and oh-so-cool in many ways" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/19). Golf Channel's Erik Kuselias said, "Golf was bigger when they had Tiger Woods. The LPGA was bigger when they had Annika Sorenstam. In an individual sport, you need stories and dominance and people to root for or against." Kuselias: "If you're trying to grow the LPGA and you're trying to grow the PGA Tour, you want someone to step up that people can embrace" ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 5/18).
STANDING OUT FROM THE CROWD: In New Jersey, Tara Sullivan wrote LPGA member Paula Creamer is "more than just the present of her sport." Creamer "can be its future. And this game needs a brighter future." The LPGA is "searching for new headline stars," and Creamer is "one in a handful of young American golfers with the potential to be the next breakout one." She is an "outstanding golfer with an engaging personality" (Bergen RECORD, 5/19).
BACK TO A FAMILIAR PLACE: In Montreal, Dave Deibert reports UFC is "eyeing a return" to Montreal just a couple weeks after "drawing more than 55,000 fans to its debut in Toronto." UFC Dir of Canadian Operations Tom Wright Wednesday said that the organization "is targeting early December for its fifth visit to the Bell Centre." Deibert notes outside of Las Vegas, Montreal "has become UFC's most consistent market" (Montreal GAZETTE, 5/20).