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Creamer Raises The Bar On Injured Spectator Swag

John Paul Newport, writing about the state of the LPGA Tour and hopes of a rebound, noted the player accessibility and friendliness in his WSJ column. And this bar-raising move by Creamer.

Compared with the PGA Tour, the players at LPGA events are much more accessible and the atmosphere more intimate. Before each tournament, the Tour staff distributes cheat sheets detailing which companies are writing the checks that week, what those sponsors hope to achieve through their relationship with the LPGA (each event is unique, Whan says), and to whom the players can write thank-you notes. On Thursday, when an errant drive by Creamer hit a spectator, Creamer not only apologized but gave her the watch off her wrist, instead of the more customary signed glove.

Signed glove, schmove.

Joe Passov also couldn't help but notice the contrast between LPGA and PGA Tour players. Reporting from the R.R. Donnelley Founders Cup, he suggests we "go out and see an LPGA event this year. At the very least, watch one on television. These girls are good—and they’re good people."

Examples Passov cites:

-- Paula Creamer departed the interview room after her 68 that left her tied for seventh and insisted on holding the door open for a photographer and his assistant. Can you picture Monty doing that?

For a writer maybe, definitely not for a photographer.

-- Natalie Gulbis closed with a spectacular birdie at 18, but it followed a horrific nine at 17, which guaranteed a missed cut—yet posed for every fan photo requested.

Just like Tiger!

-- Lexi Thompson finished with a disappointing bogey, but she smiled for 15 straight minutes while signing a plethora of visors, flags and paper scraps.

I asked Lexi how it felt to be a rock star. “It’s so much fun out here," she said."It’s great.”

I then queried whether dealing with all of these new fans gets in the way of playing or preparing. “No, not at all,” she responded. “It’s part of being out here. In fact, it’s my favorite part of it. To think that people have taken the time to come out to watch us play is great.” How refreshing. And Lexi Thompson just turned 17.

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Reader Comments (26)

They are right on the money. I have attended 4 LPGA events in the past few years. At first I took my daughter to the LPGA Championship in Baltimore @ Bulle Rock, but when they moved the event, we decided to make a road trip. Last spring, we went to the Atlantic City (Shopright) tourney, and it was really nice. My daughter is 9, and we followed Paula for 18 both days, along with watching various others. Paula is one of the more popular in terms of gallery, but we still got a spot on the ropes on every tee and every green. Paula's mom and dad were following, and they (esp Mom) were friendly and chatty to us and the others that were following. Paula made a birdie on one hole, and gave my daughter a pink ball. At the end, we got autographs, and Paula thanked my daughter for following her, looking her in the eye and smiling. Very nice. One other funny little thing - before the auto signing, I realized we had no sharpie, so I ran over to the merch tent (which was about 20x20 ft) to buy one, and I almost bumped into Yani, who was standing there chatting with a couple of fans right int the middle of the merchandise area. I also went to the US Open last summer at Congo, and while that was really cool to go to, it was nowhere near as fun. Especially if you have a daughter, but even without, I recommend it highly. My only fear is they will get too popular, and ruin the vibe.
03.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Our one and only LPGA experience was at the US Open in 2008 at Interlachen, when the Devdog was just a Devpuppy. However, he was old enough to sense the charms of Paula Creamer and we watched her putt and chip for 30 minutes, no more than 6-8 feet away. He got high fives from Lorena, and we followed several groups all around the course. Quite the fan-friendly atmosphere as BrianS showed.....
03.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRickABQ
Could it be the lower testosterone levels?
03.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMacDuff
Less money, less attention, less pressure, less people. I would love to attend an lpga event, sadly none close to me. I wish they got more coverage.
03.17.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Or maybe it's just a case of better appreciation, better awareness, and better manners all around? Yeah, I think that's it.
@Ky, don't disagree with you, per se, I just think more of the things I mentioned tend to lead to less of the things you mentioned. Women also have ego's, are competitive, have bad moods, are selfish etc, and we ll have diff personalities, both on and off course. Women, while different, are not inherently any better or worse then men (and this is coming from a woman).
03.17.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
I also attended an LPGA event and noticed how much more approachable the women were than the men on the PGA. ...BUT They have to be since their tour is rarely on regular TV and has far fewer tournaments.
03.17.2012 | Unregistered Commentermorphy
Pretty cynical morphy. Shouldn't it be part of the professional golfer's cv to be able to interact with the paying punters? Sadly, most of the male pros don't.

Can't fault Paula Creamer though (apart from her obsession with pink): consummate professional.
Great stories. What did Wie do?
03.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLPGA Fan
Well, you'd certainly teach one of these ladies' swings before you'd teach a kid Tiger's.

What can I say, we watch all the time at our house and in person.
03.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGolfFan
Want even more access? Go to a Futures Tour event. These women are almost looking for someone to talk to. Absolutely no crowds, our event has a kids clinic where they give lessons and talk. Really is amazing more golf fans do not take advantage of both LPGA and Futures Tour. Good Stuff.
03.17.2012 | Unregistered Commenterwatupg
Female athletes are a different breed from other celebrities and certainly male athletes. They treat their fans better and seem to truly appreciate their elevated status. What is particularly great about most female athletes is how kind and attentive they are to children, particularly little girls. Female participation in sports makes the world a better place.
03.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterIceberg Slim
personally I prefer to attend an LPGA event as opposed to a PGA Tour event.

aside form that, just stunning that someone could find a way to use this story to cast Tiger in a negative light. but it does reveal an incredibly amazing idiot savant like ability to focus!
03.17.2012 | Unregistered Commenterflummoxed
Its almost all about the benjamins baby! The women want more and the men play for too too much.
03.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterArdmoreari
used to go to the Big Apple Classic at Wykygyl and got to the Women's US Open in Mt Holyoke a few years ago. Great fun, much more fun than any of the men's events.
03.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterF. X. Flinn
I got to play cricket after the event at royal pines on the gold coast 4 years ago with about 30 of the ladies and assorted staff with free drinks.
03.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKeith86
I would want the player's car, if I got hit.
03.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCal
I've not been to an LPGA event, but I've been to a few Futures Tour events to watch a friend play and her husband (also a friend) caddie. No ropes, no pretension, just a chance to watch some pretty good golf up close. Want to know what the yardage was on a particular approach? Walk out to the sprinkler head after they hit. They're lots of fun.
03.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSeitzWseit
Switching back and forth between pga playoff and lpga and Jane Crafter was interviewing Ryan O'Toole. She asked her if she was more comfortable this year and Ryan said "she liked to shoot the shit" with the other players. Her and Crafter played it off. Tom Abbott immediately apologized and said she must have mis-spoke. Looks like she can expect a call from Mr. Whan.
03.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKevin
The vibe at LPGA events is very enjoyable. After a three-year absence, the women are returning to Kingsmill in Williamsburg, Va. I'm looking forward to attending.
03.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike T.
I'm sure the Tour coaches them and reminds them to interact with the fans as much as possible. It's pretty common in most of the less watched sport leagues. When the MLS first came out they had players signing autographs and shaking hands next to the exit gates following the match. All of the MLS teams still have their players make a tour around the field afterward to wave at fans from the field and express thanks for the patronage, and many still have a few players selected to be out signing autographs and shaking hands at the gates. You go to an EPL match and the moment the final wistle blows, following a few handshakes amongst the competitors, the players are straight back into the locker room and that's about the end of it unless the team just advanced from the championship or if they're about to be demoted to it.

It's just a fact of business, smaller market sports leagues are going to have to make up for the lack of star appeal with better PR and customer service. That's why minor league baseball teams have all the silly contests and giveaways to fans that an MLB game lacks.
03.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKRoper
The helicopter arrivals at the Tavistock Cup just serve as a reminder of the difference between pros and average Joes. Good for you LPGA.
03.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAverage Golfer
@LPGAfan. Wie graduated from Stanford you clown. That's what she did.

What's with bashing the guys for no reason. There are plenty of PGA players who shake hands, take pictures, and sign autographs. Did you forget about when Phil gave a fan $200 cash for hitting his watch with a ball? I don't know about you but I would rather have a signed glove or ball than a watch worth a few hundred bucks that I could but at any jewelry store in America.
03.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAaa
When I went to the Women's open in Co. Springs, Paula was the only one who acted stuck up. She had an armed guard with her all day and when I finally got a chance to ask her for an autograph she snubbed me. Every player I met was so nice and if they couldnt sign they were nice about it but not Paula. Now I cheer for everyone else to beat the "chubby grump" in pink.
03.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMax
I have volunteered at many LPGA events. Paula and Natalie are the most popular and they respond equally well. At this year's PGA Merchandise show in Orlando, I met Natalie at the WINN grips pavilion where she signed posters with her picture and also had photo taken with each fan. She was thrilled to know that I worked at the largest Golf retail chain in the country and sold WINN grips almost every day. Another lady I would hold lot of future for is Blair O'neal. When she gets in to LPGA she will be a great draw.
03.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChandra
Max - I am sure there are two sides to that story since your version is extremely odd. You probably were rude and hitting on her. As far as the security she had, not surprising since she typically has had it at multiple events I have attended. She is one of the most fan friendly players on tour so you might want to check your approach when attending. LPGA gals are benerally very friendly and it is a pleasure to watch them. They are very good also which gets lost sometimes in all the chatter.
03.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave

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