Ron Sirak, who covers the LPGA for Golf World, is enjoying some down time in advance of the U.S. Women's Open next week, but that did not prevent him from laying out the LPGA's grim story via Twitter. Here are some of his posts in the aftermath of the news that Kapalua has canceled the Kapalua LPGA Classic this year:
Kapalua is 3rd LPGA event skedded for this year not to occur, joining Ginn Open and Bell Micro, which LPGA says will be held in the spring.
Cornjng is out for 2010, Michelob, Wegmans and Owens Corning, do not have contracts for next year. China tourney looks iffy for this year.
Recession a huge factor is demise of these events. But so are increased fees LPGA has put on tourney owners, including TV and sanction fees.
October cud be off month for LPGA. Bell Micro pushed back to 2010, Kapalua out and China iffy. They are on consecutive weeks in October.
My count has 10 full-field domestic LPGA events, as of now, for 2010, and that is generous since two of those do not have sponsors.
Question is: Will significant number of LPGA members play more on JLPGA and LET next year if tournament schedule continues to shrink.
Should LPGA merge with JLPGA and LET to form a world tour? Should PGA Tour take over LPGA? Should someone with deep pockets like IMG buy it?
Sirak also calls this "the most important year in the 59-year history of the LPGA." The recession has pushed the tour to a crossroads, but it hasn't helped itself with "increased fees LPGA has put on tourney owners, including TV and sanction fees."
-- John Strege