LPGA Legends – an Underappreciated Tour
I’ve heard many women complain about this over the years, and I must admit that it’s true. When men “mature,” there are perks that are largely denied their female counterparts. It’s possible to be a sixty year old James Bond, for example, or to receive a million other age-encrusted accolades that are not normally given to women, unless she is able to hold someone’s fascination in the “wise Krone” genre.
Maybe it’s just that the women currently playing on the LPGA’s Legends Tour had their day in the sun during a stretch of years in which I wasn’t watching the LPGA that much. I certainly hope that’s it, and not the other thing. When Player, Nicklaus and Player became legends and left the normal tour for more erudite company, they were deemed cooler than ever, but the women of the LPGA Legends Tour are deemed by some as simply “finished.” That’s too bad, first because it’s just too bad, and second…they’re not finished at all.
I was shocked to read that between February and November of this year, there were nine events on the Legends Tour, and a whole lot of them used the word “charity” in the titles. I was further embarrassed to not recognize many of the names playing this year. Others, I recognized, but didn’t really know anything about them. On one or two, I did a little better.
I hope they’re having fun on this tour. The venues certainly should offer a lot of pleasure, criss-crossing the country to courses such as the Nancy Lopez course in The Villages, Florida and French Lick Indiana, featuring events such as the ISPS Handa Classic, two Walgreens events and the inaugural Legends Tour Championship.
Somewhere, then, I skipped a generation. If you told me that a tour had been created for Mickey Wright, Babe Didrikson and Patty Berg, or even the next generation, I would have said “Aha! Now that’s interesting!” But these days, I find myself saying…“Who?”
For example, Sherri Turner won the Harris Golf Charity Classic last year, and is defending her title at the Falmouth Country Club in Portland, Maine. It’s a 36 hole, stroke tournament, and I searched my memory banks, feeing certain that I’d heard of Sherri Turner, but I couldn’t really put my finger on the name. You’d think that with my interest in the game, I’d know who was doing the winning. It turns out that she won the LPGA Legends Swing for the Cure as well, and was a three time winner on the LPGA Tour.
Turner won last year by defeating Rosie Jones and Val Skinner – ok, I have some familiarity with those names, but nothing too distinct. That is almost certainly more my fault than theirs. OK, Jane Blalock is playing this year – I’m almost certain I used to watch her. Pat Bradley – ah, there’s a big name…no problem there. Patty Sheehan, JoAnne Carner, Donna Caponi and Hollis Stacy – yes yes, I remember…I guess. Oh, and Nancy Lopez – thank goodness, another big name.
Forty of these legends are meeting in Maine to see if Sherri Turner can repeat. For those of us who stopped paying attention to them after they left the “younger” tour, we’d be well-advised to take a refresher course. They still play competitive golf. For those of us who missed the boat entirely, it’s time to do some studying. I, for one, can’t be a true spokesman for the game if my brain is missing an entire tour.