The Solheim Cup was the most tweeted, blogged, and overall the most talked about event for the LPGA of the season, and for a sport that is struggling to keep sponsors, it was pretty vital. LPGA tournaments are dropping like flies these days. Classic events are going away and new ones are not springing up in the near future.
But last week, the ladies showed that they can be interesting, play well, and even at times, be more entertaining than the men’s game.
So what should the LPGA do to capitalize on last week’s success?
Well, the format of last week’s Solheim Cup is a very popular one. Everyone loves a good Ryder Cup setup. You start chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A!,” and Americans who have never seen golf of any kind before automatically are glued to the set and are bigger experts than Dottie Pepper.
And, don’t forget, the power of how the rest of the world likes to root against the US (not necessarily out of hatred for our country, but more of a “I hate the Yankees because they spend so much money,” kind of thing”(I was referring there to the New York Yankees, not Americans as Yankees there)).
I am aware there is already a Women’s World Cup of Golf, but they didn’t have me plan it, so obviously, its all wrong. The LPGA schedule, unlike the men’s schedule, is full of holes. Plenty of room to take a shot at another event here or there, and here is my masterplan.
Alright, so you got that US team? Add Canada in with them, and name them something thing like Northern North America. We can work on names later. The European team is fine as is. Asia can easily put together a team, and probably trounce the rest of the world with very little effort. South Korea has 47 players on the tour alone, and its a little bigger than Indiana.
Then take Mexico (Lorena Ochoa), South America, Australia, South Africa, and any Antarcticans if they happen to spring up and create a 4th team called, World, or something. So you got 4 teams so far,and you give them a bit of a golf icon as their captain to spark a little more interest:
The Northern North: Golf Icon Captain guy, Lee Trevino, he seems right for this role, maybe because he was in Happy Gilmore.
Europe: GICG, Seve Ballesteros, hands off the ladies, Seve.
Asia: GICG, YE Yang? Nah, not yet, Vijay Singh maybe.
And everyone else… World?…yeah. GICG: Gary Player seems like a perfect fit.
So everyone plays eachother once. That is three weekends right there. Plus you can have the events either separate, or have all four teams play at the same course. After the four teams have played, they are seeded based on how badly the Asians beat them, and a playoff situation is set up. 1 plays four and so on.
So say Asia is number one and Europe is number four: They would play in say, Seoul for the right to play in the championship while the US and Mexico played at Brookline to get there, too.
It would set up a cool scenario of not only trying to win to get to the championship, but golfers and fans having to TV-watch like other sports do in the playoffs (obviously the timing would be a bit messed up by the 13 hour difference between Seoul and Massachusetts, but bear with me).
Moving on. They play the championship at some predetermined location, and the champion of the first year guarantees the championship being played on their turf the next year. This is key because anyone who has ever missed a 4 ft putt in the Ryder cup will tell you, home soil is a little friendlier.
The champion wins a lot of pride and flag waving, but really that is why sponsors will love this. You do not need a huge purse, and people will come to these events if they are scheduled right. People will even watch them on TV.
Also, with golf’s addition to the Olympics this will be a great tuneup. Who wouldn’t like to hear Nick Faldo say, “Michelle Wie going after her first gold medal, but she has to take on Anna Nordquist, who beat her mercilessly in the World Cup last year.”
It sets up different types of matches and easier to follow TV coverage, and gives LPGA fans and non-fans an easier time trying to find something they haven’t had in the last few years, someone to root for.
The other alternatives I have seen for the Ladies’ circuit to get their sponsors back are more about wearing tight outfits, and teaching supermodels to golf. So, I think this is a viable alternative. Not that I wouldn’t want to see Gisele pout like Sergio after knocking one in the water on 18, or even just grabbing her ball out of the 18th hole, but I would prefer just good golf.
The Solheim Cup brought the best out of the LPGA players, fans, and even perked up the sleeping sponsors. It was much more interesting than a Tiger-less Wyndham Championship.
There is no reason the LPGA cannot create something similar on a more regular basis.
Just name it after us, The First Annual Blue Duck Ladies World Cup. Quack.