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Friday
Jan282011

Pressel: "I feel this is the wrong time to have an event with a mock purse."

Randall Mell tells us about Morgan Pressel issuing a statement(!) on the Founders Cup, Commissioner Miek Whan's Monopoly Money event in Phoenix. Thanks to reader George for this.

“I am certain that all LPGA members are deeply appreciative of the pioneering work done by our founders, and I am all for honoring them in a special tournament. Likewise, like all our members, I have a strong commitment to charitable endeavors, including my own personal fundraising efforts. The LPGA contributes to charitable causes, as far as I know, through virtually every Tour event, in an amount similar to that provided by the proposed Founders Cup.

“That being said, I feel that the event belittles all other events that donate similar numbers to charity and still provide a full purse. They are attempting to hold an event with a short budget. If the event donated closer to 2 million dollars to the charity, that would really be something substantial, considering there is no purse. Unfortunately, with the vast amount of resources that are being used, it does not match the charitable contribution. I feel we have better ways to honor our founders, donate to charity, not alienate any sponsors and increase the value of our brand.

"Futhermore, with a shortened schedule and a lack of full-field domestic events, I feel this is the wrong time to have an event with a mock purse,

Mock!

when so many of our players are having a hard time getting into tournaments and making a reasonable living. I am leaning towards not playing the event, but am very unhappy that myself and others have been placed in the uncomfortable position of looking uncharitable and unappreciative if we choose not to play. In summary, the Founders Cup is not a bad idea, but the ramifications of this format should have been given more thought and planning before moving forward so quickly.”

Beth Ann Baldry Tweeted earlier today the Commish is encouraging everyone to "think like a founder."

Has the Brand Lady been replaced by Think Founder Man?

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Reader Comments (44)

This statement is well said. I'd love to know just WHO is standing to make a little cash on this, who thought it up & what is the TRUE purpose in this. Corporations are corporations are corporations......
01.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnd.....
As I said before, Louise Suggs and Patty Berg and The Babe may have played virtually for free on occasion, but it probably wasn't on purpose. This is borderline nuts.
Christie Kerr out with a fairly critical statement as well. Ai Miyazato on the fence about playing.

If all the top players decline to play they may have to cancel this thing. Not good. Matter of fact I think the the players are going to have to end up taking one for the team and showing up...too much collateral damage if they don't.
01.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
This event should be cancelled ASAP.
01.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteven T.
That's some quality PR gibberish somebody wrote on Pressel's behalf.

Translation: If there's no prize money, I'm taking the week off.

Can't say that I blame her.
01.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMJS
Egypt and the LPGA Tour have something in common right now.
01.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
Given the state of their tour, it really was a hair-brained idea.

But I agree with Del - if no one shows then it really doesn't help the image of the LPGA.
01.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterPA PLAYA
If you think about it the comments by Pressel, Kerr and Inkster, several of the most prominent American's on tour (not that their opinion counts more than any non-American), pretty much puts Whan into a lame duck position.

No matter what happens from here it's going to look bad for him.

If all the big names don't show up, that's a huge loss for Whan. If in the end they all capitulate and do show up in order to save the event it will be obvious that they are doing so pretty much against their will which puts Whan in a really bad spot and his credibility with the players takes a massive hit. Going forward he'll be operating from a position of real weakness.

As much as they don't want to do it I think some of the senior players need to gather the rank and file and all agree to show up this one time and take one for the betterment of the LPGA Tour. But at the same time send an extremely stern message to Whan not to F-UP like this again or he has a serious problem.

This has the potential to get really ugly, and divisive. Last thing the LPGA Tour needs...

I just cannot believe that Whan didn't do a better job of vetting this with the players in advance. This is a page right out of Commish Blivet's Big Book of Failure.
01.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Question: LPGA events normally have a $1 - $3 million purse.

This event plans to donate $500K to charity.

Where is the rest of the money going?
01.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarge Geneverra
To my understanding there is no "rest of the money".
01.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Marge: Where is the rest of the money going?

Actually, one article I read said that the only money going to the charity is the proceedes of the tournament which is estimated at $500,000. BUT, that is before the LPGA pays a stipen to each player for travel and per diem - which I hear is $1000 per player. That will leave a maximum of $356,000 for the charity and that is only if the estimate of proceedes of $500,000 was correct - which I very much doubt. It normally takes two or three years for a tournament to actually make ANY money for charity.

It is a terrible idea from the start - true sign of desperation and even worse, a sign that who ever is advising Whan needs to be on the unemployment line. As one of the LPGA tag lines use to say: POSITIVELY AMAZING!
01.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterknowitall
If MP wrote her own statement, good on her. If not, she's smart enough to hire a thoughtful, persuasive agency. The LPGA should cut its losses and cancel now.
01.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterEast End Golfer
This event will only open the Pandora's Box. How long before other sponsors say, "Me, too!" That they'd love to donate the million to charity (less expenses) and put the other $1-2 million in their pocket.

Granted the "Founders" might have played a lot of times for "free" to legitimize the sport. However, I'm sure their intention was never to make it a standard for the tour. If the USA can't support this tour, than the players should go where ever the money is. Obviously, Phoenix is not one of those places.

The players would be better off doing what the rest of us do, pool their own money and divide it among the top three finishers.
01.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterGene Oberto
What a joke. They are professionals- they play for money.
Good on Pressel for calling out these clowns- who I'm guessing aren't working for free this week.
"Think like a founder"- code for, "please buy into our scam so we can goose our bottom line as we race towards irrelevance."
01.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterjjshaka
Oh, this makes me like Morgan Pressel even more...she's a feisty one. Perhaps this saga will end up being good for the LPGA. Controversy can be good these days, it's like free advertising. If all the big names give this thing the finger it might send the message that they are too good to be playing for free...which I believe to be true. It will be a sad day when a LPGA purse is smaller than a Futures Tour purse, apparently that day will soon arrive.
01.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRM
Which reminds me. There are a lot of Founders still active. Has anyone asked them what they think of this idea and Whan's expropriation of their iconic status? Beth Ann Baldrey, here's your chance.
Not added in proof: Beth Ann, sorry I misspelled your last name.
On January 5th Morgan's breast cancer foundation raised $502,000 in one day, pretty damn impressive: http://www.lpga.com/content_1.aspx?pid=27159&mid=2

@ East End Golfer, I could have sworn Morgan was represented by IMG and was going to have a huge laugh to see them describes in such glowing terms. A lot of IMG haters around here would have a conniption! But alas, her IMG agent recently left to join Wasserman Media Group (Arn Tellem, mostly known for repping NBA players) and Morgan followed suit at the beginning of 2011. Oh well ;)
01.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Amen C , you almost had me do a spit take with my coffee this morning...funny stuff.

Good comments all around boys. its an interesting argument and the viewpoints here are provocative..
01.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterbrad hamilton
The pro game is absolutely a mess. I'm actually loving this.

This is my favorite part:

"...when so many of our players are having a hard time getting into tournaments and making a reasonable living."

Hmm, let me see here. What can we possibly do to prevent this?...

- Play better?
- Stop being a pro golfer?
- Live off your endorsements?
- Ask to go to the Nick Bolleteri tennis academy instead?
- Scrape together a new definition of 'reasonable living'?
01.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterdsl
DSL, Why would you love watching the LPGA fall apart? I don't know enough about the inner workings of the LPGA to know what the real issues are, but I would love to see golf become more like tennis where there is interest in both the men's and women's game.
01.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRM
I'm with you RM. In some respects I enjoy the LPGA Tour as much or more than the PGA Tour. If you haven't been to an LPGA event lately try to do so, it's a great time. And the worst part about seeing them struggle is they arguably have the best collection of talent ever (golf and otherwise!). Had high hopes for Whan but this fiasco really gives me pause. What a shame.
01.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Actually outside of the top few women in the game (and the recognizable personalities) there aren't a lot of endorsement dollars on the LPGA tour. And the women towards the bottom of the money list (who still retain their cards) really aren't pulling in more then middle class, if that, after expenses.

Now if you want an LPGA tour that only has 50 people on it your comments make sense, but that seems rather small and restrictive to me.
01.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterseak
Sorry, dsl, it's pile on time.
I think seak has it right re. the money and RM and Del are right about the quality and entertainment value.
I watched a bunch of LPGA coverage last year and, bad broadcast values aside, it was compelling viewing.
The world's awash in sports coverage and the LPGA has ended up undervalued, imo, but giving the product away...that's 'borderline nuts' as KLG states above.
01.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterdbh
I can't believe Presell, Kerr, and Creamer actually I take that back I can believe them for all 3 of them are spitting in the face of the founders. They wouldn't even have a tour if it wasn't for these women who not only played, but set up the course, did scoring, pr, and everything else for harldly any $$$. So here comes 1 week (4 days actually) to honor them and give back to the LPGA foundation and these ingrates are complaining? Why is it that the players who are on the fringes of the tour are signing up and playing and the ones who don't need the $$$ are complaining and EMBARRASING themselves and the tour with their selfish immature behavior. The problem with this tour is the archaic thinking of people like Pressel, Kerr, and Creamer who have no business acumen and think companies are lining up to spend 2-3million on an LPGA title sponsorship...how can she even look into Louise Suggs eyes and say I know they are paying for my R/T airfare, hotel, and most of my F/B expense for me and my caddy, but sorry that isn't good enough. When I start hearing other tournaments and sponsors complaining than I will perk up - newsflash Morgan - Mike Whan got there blessing before he announced this. Only thing he forgot to cover for was your insanity and selfishness...and your stupidity to share these feelings publicly and not realize the damage you have already done...please do me a favor and don't attend..
01.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterlpga believer
believer, love your enthusiasm. But what exactly does this have to do with the "founders"? I haven't heard a single one opine on the subject.

I've never been a big Pressel fan but if you look at her charitable fund raising track record I find it difficult to see how anyone could call her selfish.

I'm curious to know where the information that Whan consulted with the other tournament sponsors was sourced? Can you point us to that information?
01.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Who moved my cheese?
01.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMRP
Ok, the solution should be for everyone to show up. Take one for the team. Look good PR wise. Smile, be nostalgic for the "romanticized good ol' days" then get Mike Whan in a room, shut the doors and royally bitch him out for subjecting them and the tour to ridicule and division and beat the crap out of him.

My take: yes they should participate, but this sets up major complications down the road.

For example, take the Aaron Rodgers autograph controversy a couple of weeks ago...video showed him :"blowing" off a cancer survivor at the airport, Yahoo sports showed the video and Rodgers looked like a pampered, elitist ahole athlete...until it was later reported that A Rod had signed numerous articles for her in the past and isn't a prick.

This is Prussell's point...it will be harder for the LPGA players to turn down future requests without looking a little uncaring even though as some point out above, they have done numerous acts of private charity without fanfare and credit. All of those good deeds done "privately" go down the drain if you don't show up "publicly" and honor the "founders" as you will be ridiculed and criticized by bloggers and the uninformed public. Whan is committing emotional blackmail of sorts.

Its like you sign 100 autographs and the 101st guy that gets denied reports to a blog that so and so is an ahole cuz he wouldn't sign my jersey.

I think what this tells me is there is a serious communications gap between management and players.

This could have been done and with all players on board publicly with all this dirty laundry aired out in private.

The fact that it has come out like this bodes ill for future harmony and success of the tour.

Thanks to all the thoughtful posters...
01.29.2011 | Unregistered Commenterbrad hamilton
@ Brad..."I think what this tells me is there is a serious communications gap between management and players".

Bingo.

That's stunning to me given what went down with the previous Commish.

Whan has f'd himself, and good.
01.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Holy crap! The women have their own tour now?
01.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAverage Golfer
This is a joke right? Playing for no money is against the golf religion. What? The LPGA has a socialist leader! Ha ha call Chavez maybe the tour can move south. Another dumb idea. This tour is dead.
01.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterVwgolfer
@Believer: Get Louise Suggs on the phone and ask her what she thinks. And then ask her to make a public statement. If, as one of the Founders, she thinks this is a good idea and her contemporaries agree, every one here will go along with her with more or less enthusiasm. And please respond to Del's question about Whan vetting this with the Founders; we seem to have missed that. Unless you are Mike Whan after climbing out of a bottle of Grey Goose...In that case, never mind. We understand both your grammar and your point.
@ lpga believer..after re-reading I really do want to tip my hat your way -- that was one helluva rant. Fact is my advice would be that you completely ignore those of us asking questions and comfortably perch yourself up on that outcropping with a view that 99% of us have absolutely no hope of ever approaching. Bravo believer!!!

@ Ky...just having a really nice quiet laugh imagining a ruddy faced Whan blasting away at the denizens of geoffshackelfordinpartnershipwithgolfdigest.com!!!!!! Thanks for the vizualizaton :-)
01.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
lpga believer - Ah, Grasshopper, some of the other tournaments ARE questioning WHY is it that the LPGA TOUR is pressing players to play in a tournament with a MOCK purse. These other tournaments are paying 100% of the purse and supporting charity but some of the top players skip their tournaments and the LPGA doesn't seem to care or offer any help in getting them to play.

Whan did tell the players about his CONCEPT for a Founders Tournament - but none of the details. Players thought the idea of playing a tournament and having the charity dollars go to the LPGA Foundation was a great idea. As you may remember, when it was first announced, ALL the PURSE was going to the LPGA Foundation. NOW - it is only the proceeds of the tournament which is estimated at $500,000. It will be much less in my opinion.

One last question - who OWNS the Tournament and operates it? The LPGA Tour! Who will get paid first? The LPGA Tour!

Mr. Whan and his crew have lots of explaining to do and they need to come clean with ALL the details. JMO
01.30.2011 | Unregistered Commenterknowitall
Maybe Tiger ought to play in it to improve his image, and to help his confidence level. He just may win.
01.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterNubi
Does anyone really believe such a stunt would have been pulled had the lpga been in a healthy financial state.

I don't think so!

Right now, Whan is making Bivens look good!
I was actually speaking about all of professional golf. Not just the women.

It's supposed to be hard to make a 'reasonable living' playing golf! After Tiger (and, to a lesser degree, Annika) came along, everyone forgot that.

If you can't make a 'reasonable living' playing golf, then you need to play better or move along. Play well and the money comes, even if there are fewer events. Play poorly and get out. Teach lessons, move back to your parents' McMansion, whatever. That's what golf was. I want it back and these little setbacks in the pro game will get us there quickly.

If there are no sponsors, there's no event this weekend. If the top names don't come to your event, don't sponsor it. Once that happens enough, I guarantee we'll see the players and the networks change. Suddenly, they'll be forced to improve to take advantage of the fewer opportunities they have to make their 'reasonable' living.

Anyway, a bit of a detraction there. Nonetheless, I think it's valid when talking about the specific quote I highlighted in my earlier comment.
01.30.2011 | Unregistered Commenterdsl
Hosni might need something to run in the forseeable future...
01.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
Morgan's statement is strong.

I had originally hoped that Whan had something about this event that had not been revealed, and that it would be a real publicity coup for the LPGA: now I am concerned that it will be a publicity disaster. If Whan has some great surprise that will rocket the LPGA to the forefront in the minds of American (and worldwide, sorry) golf fans, he surely needed to let the top players on the tour in on what was going on.

the PGA is on the verge of really having some of its best days ahead, player wise: they need to get it together, and if Whan has some 'reason' why his is going to propel the LPGA to another level, he needs to get Morgan, etc on board
01.30.2011 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
The LPGA owns and operates the tournament RR Donnely pays thebig expenses (since no purse) that is TV followed by hotel (which knowing the market the resort probably cut a sweetheart deal for the LPGA), and operational elements. With less than 4 months to sell in a market that has been notoriously bad for corporate sponsorship of golf events - proceeds are going to be derived from pro-am team sales and tickets. The LPGA is trying to simply not lose $$$ here, just like the Tour Championship at Grand Cypress also no title sponsor, throw the Bob Hope from the PGA in that bucket as well. My problem is Morgan and the rest of the ladies know perfectly well what the situation is and for her to act like she has a problem with the way it was handled and to do that in public shows me she doesn't have a clue on how a PRO tournament is run, nor care about the purpose of the tournament. Therefore my problem is stop opining about Whan and how this is going to further damage the LPGA. If you look at the top 10 or 20 players there is 99.9% attendance at all tournaments frankly because the schedule is what it is that has never been a problem like the PGA tour, and don't forget their is an LPGA board that players sit on that these types of tournament decisions that Whan makes goes through, so stop with the bait and switch crap...
01.30.2011 | Unregistered Commenterlpga believer

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