Bienvenue! My name is Jamie and I like golf. I grew up playing tennis in eastern Massachusetts, but fell in love with the game after watching Se Ri Pak defeat Jenny Chausiriporn at the 1998 U.S. Womens Open. I studied Hospitality & Tourism Management (with a focus on Event, Tourism, and Convention Management) at the Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Tennis is my first love, but golf is a very close second. I believe style should equal substance, and the latter is nothing without the former.
The LPGA announced today that Rolex is the new presenting sponsor for the LPGA Tour Championship set to take place in Houston in November. Interim commissioner Marty Evans is doing an awesome job in securing title sponsors and events for the LPGA. It’s certainly an encouraging sign, even if she has stated she has no plans on remaining in the position permanently.
The LPGA Tour Championship has completely shifted formats for 2009 after having an exciting and successful run with the ADT Tour Championship Playoffs. The tour championship was limited to 30 players last year which featured a point system to qualify, and broke the season into two distinct halves, and of course the million dollar paycheck to the winner is certainly worth mentioning. The field was cut to the top 16 after 36 holes, and scored wiped clean for the third round. At the end of the 3rd round the field was cut in half and the slate wiped clean, creating a shoot-out for the 8 ladies remaining in the competition.
In a stark contrast, the 2009 LPGA Tour Championship will feature the top 120 players on the LPGA and the shoot-out drama is no longer present. After 36 holes the typical low-70 players will make it to the Saturday with another cut after the third round to the top 30.
It’s quite interesting they’ve expanded the field to the top 120 this year, as even before they adopted the playoff point-qualifying entry system in 2006, the tour championship was typically a 30 player field. I’ve always been a fan of a tour championship being at least semi-exclusive, so I’m not entirely onboard with this 120 player field going on this year. With the talent pool being so big, and so many chances for a surprise winner on tour (i.e. Anna Nordqvist, Eunjung Yi, M.J. Hur), I simply don’t think it’s necessarily a completely fitting end to see someone like Sarah Jane Smith (just as an example) have the week of her life and emerge as tour championship winner.
To me, this week’s Samsung World Championship feels more like a tour championship then the actual LPGA Tour Championship.