LPGA Growing Despite Bias

Naysayers on Women’s Golf Making Conclusions Based on Ignorance

The inane antics of Hank Haney delivered against the LPGA last week  have been followed by another round of stupidity after the U.S. Women’s Open. Yes, the tournament was was won by a woman named Lee, which to the unthinking mind means that Haney must be a genius. Such is the same intellectual flimsiness with which we often elect world leaders. My decision to avoid revisiting the Haney debacle was delayed for another thirty seconds as I browsed through a few comments on the way out. Here’s a good one – “No one really watches women’s golf. It’s not ‘relatable’ to people in the U.S.”

A popular game in a foreign country may not be ‘relatable’ to another country’s taste, but this is golf, an international game. So, there must be something else that is not ‘relatable.’ What could it be? Women playing it? Very likely.

The observer seems to be saying that no one watches women’s golf  because he doesn’t watch. To get some statistics on the first claim, I turned to LPGA Commissioner Micheal Whan., and data from an individual LPGA tournament.  Whan cites the fact that the women’s schedule has expanded to 33 annual events, and that prize money has risen  to 67 million by 2018. This year, that number is expected to top 70 million for the first time.
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The LPGA Classic at Thornberry was described by commentators as an “economic driver” (pun absolutely intended). Spectators from the U.S. and Canada numbered around 60,000. Whan reminds us that in the larger picture, the tour now enjoys more than 400 hours of broadcast time. In the world, that number increases, covering 175 countries. It looks to me as if women’s golf is ‘relatable’ to quite a few people our blog respondent has never met or considered.  If spectators are indeed showing up, there must be another reason for the baseless claim. It’s worth asking again. Could the problem be that women are doing the playing?

When someone is being investigated, a phrase often heard is “follow the money.” The same principle works well in determining whether an enterprise is financially successful. A list of the most familiar sponsors of LPGA tournaments includes names such as Walmart, Honda, HSBC,  KPMG,  Evian, Buick, and Shoprite. There are many more of equal or greater clout. If the women’s tour is boring, ‘unrelatable,’ and unpopular,  why are these sponsors so willing to produce LPGA tournaments year after year, and why do they yield such good results? There must be a recent proliferation of dim-witted board members to support such an ‘unrelatable’ and unprofitable game.

Here’s another – “Haney expressed his opinion. Is that illegal now?” Of course not, nor is our right to respond. My mother always told us that she would not interfere in our business, but that if we asked, she had full license to answer. If someone is paid to spew stupidity on the airwaves and enough of us speak up, it may be bad for his employer’s business. Sorry folks, that’s the way it works.

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Others, who have taken  to calling the tour the KPGA save some vitriol for American players who have apparently dropped the flag.  One adds that American players are more interested in being social media stars than winners. That’s another feature of the internet age, in which I can go online and rate my brain surgeon, regardless of my own credentials. This comment gives me the impression that if American women were to win every week, perhaps the LPGA would suddenly be more ‘relatable’ and popular. So, is the problem women, foreign women, women of other races, an ill-considered charge of anti-Americanism, or all of it? Are these the real problems hidden within the Haney habitat?

For the mind biased against the LPGA and all it represents, a lot of letting go will be required in order to reach a provable reality, one which I believe Michael Whan possesses. Facts matter, and one can deny them for only so long before being unmasked.  For the moment, though, I’ll just go with Karrie Webb on the Haney thing  –  it’s a “tired old message… and it needs to stop.”

 

 

 

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