Bivens v. George

Vartan Kupelian paired up the LPGA and Champions Tours in a comparison story, primarily to see if Carolyn Bivens could outdule Rick George in the inane quote department. You be the judge.

"We don't compare ourselves to them at all because what we do is unique, the way we've positioned our tour, hitting a different group of people who are going to watch this," George said.

But that doesn't necessarily mean a single demographic.

"We're always trying to hit different demographics to grow our fan base," George said. "It's important for us to continue to look at different demographics it's not all geared to one segment of the population."

Demographics. Yawn. The Brand Lady offers slick analogies.

"We appeal to a totally different audience, different sponsors," Bivens said. "It's as different as the NBA and professional bowling."

Oh but this is may be her best.

Bivens compares the bumps off the course "to changing tires on a car going 100 miles an hour."

That's why she gets the big bucks.

We've heard this nonsense before, but it's still breathtaking.

Bivens' goal is to "monetize the success and interest" in the LPGA and making money often means rubbing people the wrong way.

"Somebody has to stand up and say, 'This is what we're doing and where we're going,' " she said.

"I didn't take the job for the money. I didn't take the job to be voted Miss Congeniality. I don't like the controlling person I read about -- it's not who I am."

And just to show he's in his own unique world too, George says...

"Our attendance continues to get better, not as much as we'd like but better," he said. "The sponsor base is stronger than it has been. We're in terrific shape and with an eye toward the end of the year when seven prominent PGA Tour players are coming out."

Coming out? Oh right, you mean...gotcha.

Kupelian spoils George's optimism pretty quickly.

That's not always the perception. Television images show small crowds more often than not, and exposure of the Champions Tour is well down the pecking order in newscasts and newspapers unless the over-50 set is in town. It's easy to reach the conclusion that the Champions Tour is floundering until someone stops to consider that the seniors are divvying up $52.7 million in prize money annually -- a veritable windfall of lottery proportions -- and sponsors continue to pony up.

"An endorsement of what we're doing is that we've had eight (contract) renewals in 10 months," George said. "And we anticipate more. The perception should be that the Champions Tour has really solidified its position and our opportunity now is to grow."

They're growing! And they're interacting...

"If you look at the Champions Tour today, the way our players go out of the way to interact and engage, is better than any sport, not just golf.

"We think we're one of the best business-to-business marketing opportunities in all our sports. We haven't lost focus of one of the integral pieces of our business -- interaction with sponsors' guests and clients and the fans who come out."

Hmmm...George wins with that last minute run that is sure to give Champions Tour players chest pains.