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Struggling LPGA Tour Explores Routes for Positive Change

PRATTVILLE, AL - OCTOBER 1:  Natalie Gulbis watches her drive from the 10th tee during first round play in the Navistar LPGA Classic at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Capitol Hill on October 1, 2009 in  Prattville, Alabama.  (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)
Will LeivenbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2009

I don't know how to react anymore to these reoccurring headlines appearing on the Internet golf sites that another LPGA sponsor has dropped their support.

Finding an answer to why this has been a consistent issue appears simple to some and like finding your way out of a labyrinth to others.

Economic downturn? Over-emphasis on the PGA Tour? Sexist attitudes invading the realm of golf?

Whatever it is, this is a habit benefiting no one.

Personally, I have nothing against the LPGA. In fact, I am appreciative and captivated when watching the talented, passionate golfers of the LPGA.

However, I also admit that while I preach about enjoying women's golf, I don't follow their events closely by any means.

For example, sometimes I'll be online exploring the Web and have the epiphany that it's Thursday, and I will instantly open a new tab and relish in ESPN's coverage of the current PGA event. Why don't I don't feel compelled to, or even think about, the women's event being played?

Does anyone else understand where I am coming from?

Aside from the hype regarding Michelle Wie a few years ago that never quite came to fruition, the dominance of Annika Sorenstam and the present command of the game by Lorena Ochoa, I am oblivious to the state of the LPGA Tour. Scratch that: I am oblivious to it aside from the incessant, depressing news updates like that the "Kingsmill sponsor has just pulled out."

A few weeks ago I read about a LPGA Tour player/model who has been taking modeling photos with golf clubs in hand, leaning on her golf bag, or with something golf-related in the background. She feels that this will boost viewers desire to stay connected to the state of the LPGA Tour.

Another piece of news that caught my attention was the proposal that, just like at baseball games, LPGA players should have a song of their choosing played in the background when it's their turn, at least on the first tee and as they stroll up the 18th.

This idea is meant to lure in viewers by sending a personal message from the players to the audience. Not bad, in my opinion, but, then again, it totally puts into question the tradition and etiquette that golf is based on. However, sometimes respect for tradition needs to be overlooked because a desperate situation like this requires change of the status quo.

There may be no correct route, but that also means that the LPGA Tour is bound by nothing. This may be he most exciting time for the LPGA in its history because they have the opportunity to experiment with diverse paths of alluring an apathetic audience.

There is no doubt that this is an overwhelming and scary task, but hopefully it will be pursued by a passionate group of LPGA supporters compelled to revamp and redefine the temptation and caliber of women's golf.

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