Thursday, November 15, 2007


It doesn't seem all that long ago since the LPGA Tour was losing tournaments from its schedule and having great difficulty replacing them.
Now the wheel has turned full circle and the world's No 1 women's pro tour already has 33 tournaments and a record amount of prize money lined up for 2008.
The total purse of $55 million does not include the Women's World Cup or the Wendy's Three-Tour Challenge.
The final figure is likely to go up when the LPGA adds two more tournaments in Mexico City.
Missing from the provisional 2008 schedule is the Women's World Match Play Championship, which appears to have withered on the vine after a two-year run.
Little more than 10 years ago, it was something special for an LPGA event to have a prizefund of $1million. Now, there will be 13 tournaments that offer at least $2 million in 2008.
So what's the secret of the LPGA rising up from the so-called doldrums - without the help of Michele Wie?
Who can tell except perhaps that there far more young, attractive players on the tour than there were 10 years ago - and the American sports pages like that. Publicity generates interest and attracts sponsors.
Next year's LPGA Tour will have an event that could set a trend that players like Tiger Woods would like on the US men's Tour. There will be a special draw for the final round of the ADT championship.
The 32-player field will be cut to 16 players after two rounds on Friday, and in a change from last year, the scores will be erased for the third round. Then comes the cut to eight players after Saturday, with the scores again wiped clean for the final round.
This year, however, players will be able to pick their Sunday tee time.
Whoever has the lowest score will have the top pick of when she wants to tee off, whether that's the first group or the last.
"I don't think I'd go off in the last group ever, if I were given the choice. There's too much pressure attached to it," said Australian Karrie Webb.