Sports Outside the Beltway

Steve Elling of CBS Sports is jealous

That is the only conclusion I can draw from this diatribe of his.

The LPGA, in yet another sideways bit of marketing savvy, elected to stage Evans’ press conference on Wednesday at the Sugar Land City Hall, off-campus from the site of its season finale. Maybe they hoped players wouldn’t notice the details of the schedule if they handed it out elsewhere.

Unless you’re dumb or a non-jealous LPGA fan living in a cave, you would know already that the LPGA schedule was given to players at a meeting on Tuesday night. That’s why it was reported by the likes of Ron Sirak, Beth Ann Baldry, and Associated Press on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Some LPGA players leaked the new schedule out to certain members of the media.

It sounds to me as if Elling wasn’t one of them and that’s why he wrote what he did.

I got a couple of other problems with what Elling wrote.

Setting aside the bombast and bluster, the LPGA season next year will likely consist of 24 tournaments, the fewest since 21 were staged in both 1970 and ’71, a rollback spanning nearly four decades as the tour prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary next year.

More alarmingly, only 13 of the tournaments will be staged in the United States, the smallest number ever. If it wasn’t the LPGA, with that kind of minimalist American presence, they’d be calling it a mini-tour. A mini-tour with major underpinning issues.


Out of sight, out of mind? Playing abroad means even less media attention in the States and mostly tape-delayed TV coverage as the Golf Channel becomes the tour’s primary broadcaster in 2010.

Before a golf writer complains about the tape delay coverage of the LPGA or its foreign based schedule, they out have something drummed into their heads. Firstly GC’s contract with the PGA Tour which includes Nationwide events. They get first placement on the broadcast schedule over the LPGA.

Secondly, and more pertinently to Elling’s remarks, of the 11 foreign LPGA tournaments four of them are still played in North American time zones. Yes Virginia, Canada and Mexico are on the same clock as the United States of America.

As for the other 7, the Women’s British Open is broadcast by ABC who puts it on tape delayed. Which I have repeatedly complained about in the past.What’s your solution Steve? Play the British Open in Newport RI or Portsmouth NH?

Of the last six events, if they aren’t on tape delay, look at the hours they would be broadcast. Three, Four a.m. in the morning. How many golf fans are going to rise for that? The 2003 Solheim Cup went on the air at 4 a.m. in the morning but since it was without Michelle Wie almost nobody in the golf media noticed.

The tour instead created a season-ending LPGA Championship, signed Stanford Financial as the title sponsor, made it a full-field event and moved it to Houston, where it will be played for the first time this week. Now the radioactive part.

Allen Stanford, who wanted the tournament played in Houston, where his company has a large corporate presence, was tossed in jail. No replacement has been found to foot the title sponsorship bill, the format of the tournament has been criticized, and the event is running opposite the European Tour’s big-money Race to Dubai finale. Nice timing.

The ADT has been played the same weekend in November going back to 2003.(At least. I didn’t check 2001 and 2002 because I’m in a hurry.) Which is the same weekend the 2009 Tour Championship is played. When do you suggest they play the tournament? Next weekend is Thanksgiving.

One last bit of Elling derangement.

Twelve months ago, Bivens announced that the popular ADT event outside Miami,

Steve, you’re from Florida. The City of West Palm Beach where the ADT was played is not considered outside of Miami. When you were working at the Orlando Sentinel, were your offices outside Daytona Beach or Ocala? Those are Florida cities closer to Orlando than West Palm Beach is to Miami.

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