LPGA Commish Carolyn Bivens penned a guest column in the Star Gazette News of Somewhere to help kick off Corning Classic play, and after days of deep analysis, I now post it for your brain teasing pleasure.
You are not only spectators and volunteers of this event, but you're also fans of women's golf who contribute to the growth of the LPGA. Thanks in no small part to your support, our organization is riding a remarkable wave of momentum. For those of you who come out to Corning Country Club this week, or even tune into The Golf Channel telecast, you'll be witnessing the LPGA Tour at the height of its popularity. You also will see a showcase of some of the greatest, most engaging and entertaining athletes in the world of sports today.
And, their interpreters too!
Yes, I am a little biased, but it's a fact. The world is finally discovering what many of us have known all along -- that female golfers have incredible charisma, power, strength and talent. From young talents such as Morgan Pressel and Seon Hwa Lee to American standouts Christina Kim and Natalie Gulbis -- the future of the game is so bright. And those young phenoms are playing right alongside Grace Park, Laura Diaz and Mi Hyun Kim, who are all in the prime of their careers, as well as accomplished veterans Helen Alfredsson, Pat Hurst and Lorie Kane.
It's an incredible mix of youth, culture, experience and talent that is translating into little girls showing up at a golf tournament with fun, stylish golf outfits "like Natalie," into record-breaking visitors to LPGA.com and into more fans tuning in or coming out to watch a tournament, many of whom have never been engaged with the LPGA or golf before.
That excitement is only multiplied by several initiatives that are new to the LPGA since the Tour last came to Corning. Fans of the LPGA are already very familiar with the "These Girls Rock" campaign, which is all about showcasing LPGA players as great golfers -- some of the best golfers in the world.
This year, we also launched the LPGA Playoffs 2006, the first-ever playoff system in professional golf. Throughout the season, your favorite players will attempt to qualify for the season-ending ADT Championship and a chance at the $1 million first-place prize, the largest paycheck in women's golf history. And also earlier this year, the five major women's professional golf tours unveiled the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings, which provide a definitive answer -- and spark lively debate -- regarding the question, "Who are the best women golfers in the world?"
Yes, the debate has been lively. Right up there with, "what's the Schwab Cup?"