Early-Season Wins By LPGA's Young Stars Give Tour Glimpse Of Future Possibilities
The players the LPGA is "relying on to be the marketable faces of the tour over the next 10 or 15 years are winning golf tournaments today, not waiting for a few years to settle into their careers and then be marketable," according to Larry Bohannan of the Palm Springs DESERT SUN. Seventeen-year-old New Zealand native Lydia Ko is a "star and hammers away at so many demographics for the tour," while 24-year-old Michelle Wie "has always been the player the LPGA hoped would rise to the top." Meanwhile, Lexi Thompson is the "young face of American golf at just 19 with four wins," including a major at this year's Kraft Nabisco Championship. The LPGA "is a global tour," but still "plays more tournaments" in the U.S. than any other country. Thompson could "be that star for years to come," which is "exciting news for the women's tour and those who watch it" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 4/28).
WATERLOO MOMENT: In Canada, Randy Steinman reported negotiations are "ongoing" to bring the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic back to the Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Ontario, "for another two years." The original agreement was for three years plus an "option for an additional two years." At this point, there is "no final contract in place" for '15 and ’16, although it "appears a new deal is close" (CTVNEWS.ca, 4/29).
LINING THINGS UP: GOLF WORLD's E. Michael Johnson reports Charlotte-based Park Sterling Bank is putting up a "million-dollar bonus" for three Symetra Tour events in North and South Carolina. The events, held between May 8-24, have "suddenly become more significant." But there is a "hook," as a player "must win all three to get the million." No player "has won three consecutive events on the Symetra Tour in 25 years." But the bonus opportunity is "almost unfathomable," as the top money winner on the tour last year earned just $47,283 (GOLF WORLD, 5/5 issue).