124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Is winning becoming foreign to Americans?

July 13, 2009

When Brittany Lincicome outplayed fellow Americans Cristie Kerr and Kristy McPherson down the stretch and won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April, Kerr called it "great for American golf."

What then to make of how the LPGA's American contingent has responded since? Only one American player has won in the nine ensuing tournaments -- Kerr, who won the Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill in early May. The last three tournaments, four of the last five, and five of the last seven have been won by South Koreans, including Eun-Hee Ji's victory in the U.S. Women's Open on Sunday.

This much is clear: It should not be viewed as a detriment to the LPGA. As the tour has been hemorrhaging tournaments on the home front (none of it due to foreign domination, incidentally), Asian companies have been increasing their sponsorship support. At this point, midseason for a tour in turmoil, it has taken on the form of a lifeline.

As to how Americans ought to respond to this foreign domination, what McPherson said at the Kraft bears repeating. "Americans have to step up and play better golf," she said.

-- John Strege