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.