News & ToursFebruary 13, 2009

A great day for the LPGA

The LPGA celebrated one of its better days in awhile on Thursday, starting with the news that a Korean broadcasting entity, JoongAng Broadcasting Corp., was bringing a tournament to the Los Angeles area in 2010 and picking up the sponsorship of the Phoenix event and concluding with the 66 that Michelle Wie shot in the SBS Open at Turtle Bay in her debut as a member of the LPGA.

It isn't often the LPGA can upstage the PGA Tour, but the leaders of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am are who again? (Robert Garrigus and Dustin Johnson).

J Golf, a division of JoongAng Broadcasting, will have exclusive Korean broadcast rights to LPGA events, while agreeing to underwrite the Los Angeles tournament for five years.

"This is the largest contract signed in the history of the LPGA," LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens said.

The LPGA historically has struggled in the Los Angeles market, but given the Asian population in Southern California and the influx of Koreans on the LPGA, having a Korean broadcasting partner is a boon, as would be a resurgent Michelle Wie.

A glimpse of Wie's impact should she assume a starring role was provided by the Golf Channel on Thursday. When it signed off on its LPGA telecast, Wie was still on the course, yet the Golf Channel promised frequent updates on her round. A small step to be sure, but for once a step in the right direction.

-- John Strege

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