NANCY'S BLOG - New feature on my website - News, Views & Opinions
Great GOLF GIFT IDEAS:
I wrote this for Mother's Day in the U.S. but will work for Father's Day or a gift for any friend. These are all easy gifts to shop for. Here are my top choices:
- -- Buy partner or good friend a golf lesson from the best golf instructor at a club near you. If never played golf before this will be great introduction. And, if already a golfer, then there will be lots of topics that to focus on.
- -- Buy a golf club or even a set of new clubs. Surprise tha special person with a gift certificate for new clubs. And, don’t forget the golf shoes.
- -- Take a golf lesson yourself! This may sound like a strange gift for “her,” but nothing makes golf more special than to play with members of your family or good friends. Some of my best memories are playing golf with children and the golf trips my husband and I have taken.
- -- Give a special person the gift of your “time” and go to the golf course or range. Those few hours on the golf course will always be special.
- --If you give the gift of golf, it will keep on giving.
I like to remind current and future golfers of my advice that recently medically documented: “Be Happy, Be Healthy, Live Longer, Play Golf.”
LPGA TOUR MAKES DEEPER ROOTS IN KOREA - (May 23, 2018)
The city of Busan in Southeast Korea will host a new tournament in October 2019 with BMW sponsorship.
The Busan course will be owned and managed (I think) by the LPGA in a similar model that the PGA Tour uses for its TPC courses. The course will undergo some restoration by famous US golf course architect, ReesJones. Incheon, Korea (on the northeast coast near Seoul) will be the site of the 2018 UL International Crown Tournament October 4-7. In an interview I had with Commissioner Mike Whan back in November, he explained that it was important that the Korean LPGA Tour players experience the enthusiasm of their fellow Korean galleries and crowds especially given the historic role that Korea has played in women's golf.
I'm already looking into plane routes. I think as a golf writer and advocate for women's golf, I would also find the Busan experience thrilling to be a part of. The LPGA message is "A Global Tour Like No Other." But I'm thinking that "It's a Small World After All" might also be appropriate!
IN A FOLLOW UP LPGA MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT....ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT LPGA GLOBAL AND FINANCIAL GROWTH (posted on my Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nancy.berkley.98
I often write about Commissioner Mike Whan's marketing skill. But it only succeeds if a financial base supports it. That's why each and every new sponsor is so important to the future of the LPGA Tour. In a recent LPGA media release, the Commissioner reported the following: "We've added 20 title sponsors and over 20 official marketing partners during [the last six years]. Don't know too many sports that could claim that."
Commissioner Whan then added: "The last two years have been unprecedented for us but if this is as good as it gets, then shame on us," said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan, who is continually looking to push the envelope, enhance business relationships, grow the tournament schedule and increase exposure and opportunities for the entire LPGA membership. See full media release at http://www.lpga.com/…/2018-lpga-nominated-in-two-categories…
That sounds like a plan to me! I'm on board and will enjoy writing about the Tour's future growth. I've been writing about women's golf and girls' golf for over fifteen years. I have never observed this level of leadership and management of the LPGA Tour. And I am sure there is more ahead.
Half Season Update: Volvik Championship May 24-27 at Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan
We are almost half way through the LPGA Tour season at the LPGA Volvik Championship. Although each tournament has a dollar-amount prize for the top finishers, the LPGA Tour has added several "season-long" competitions that have helped to make each tournament more important. Good work, Commissioner! Follow this list:
- Depending on her performance, a player may move up or down on the Rolex Rankings. see http://www.rolexrankings.com/rankings. If a player moved up, her name is green; if she moved down, her name is red; if she stayed at same place, her name is black. Use the search by country tab also.
- Where she ranks on the Rolex Rankings will affect whether her country is one of 8 country-teams participating in the UL International Crown in Incheon, Korea in October. see current UL Crown standings at
- Her performance could help her win the innaugural "LEADERS Top-10 Finisher" ($100,000 to the player with the most Top-10 finishes on the 2018 season.)
- Race to the CME Globe Championship in November at season's end. See current standings at http://www.lpga.com/race-to-cme-globe. There is both a winner of the CME season-long points race AND a winner of the last tournament who receives one million dollars.
- Many season-ending awards such as the Vare Trophy and the Rookie of the Year at the final closing celebration of the year. Two new events have already been added to the 2019 season that involve team competition in addition to the 2019 Solheim Cup in Gleneagles, Scotland. September 9-15th. And that's why the new LPGA marketing message is "A Global Tour Like No Other."
FIVE RECENT UPDATES: Lots of News on the LPGA -- You may have missed some - time to catch up!
UPDATE #5. The 2019 LPGA Tour will begin in Orlando, Florida with the inaugural Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, -- Jan. 17-20, 2019, at Tranquilo Golf Club (Tom Fazio design) at Four Seasons Resort Orlando in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The field will include LPGA winners from the 2017 and 2018 seasons AND 45 celebrity participants and 10 amateurs, who will be paired with LPGA players for all four tournament days. The format will be 72 holes of stroke play for the LPGA players with no cut, while the amateurs will compete using a Modified Stableford scoring format. (The Stableford format awards points for eagles, birdies, and pars -- amateurs and celebrities will be allowed to use their handicaps.) Just when I was about to complain that the LPGA Tour was not innovative enough.... this came along! But, the LPGA Tour has to make sure it doesn't lose the core values of its Founders as it adjusts to fans who are looking for something different. I have confidence in Commissioner Mike Whan that this new "mixed team" format will serve to enhance the talent and skill of the players on the LPGA Tour, which is always the Commissioner's guiding principle.
UPDATE #4 -- FIRST OFFICIAL TEAM COMPETITION IN LPGA TOUR HISTORY NEXT MAY 2019
From LPGA News Release: The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) announced on May 10th a new official LPGA Tour event coming to Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region next summer. The Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, a 72-hole team event, will debut at Midland Country Club from July 17-20, 2019. The partnership between Dow and the LPGA is initially for five years. The 72-hole, stroke-play tournament will feature 72 two-player teams competing in both foursomes and four-ball with a $2 million purse.
“We are so thrilled to bring this event to the region to further showcase all that the Great Lakes Bay area has to offer,” said Jim Fitterling, chief executive officer-elect of Dow. “The impact of this event will extend far beyond the golf course, as this unique partnership offers a great platform to build our community and explore the intersections between golf, our business, and life, especially in the areas of careers and inclusion.”
SEE WWW. LPGA.COM
2018 LPGA Dow Partner to Bring New Team Competition | LPGA | Ladies Professional Golf Association
Event will be the first official team competition in LPGA Tour history MIDLAND, Mich., May 10, 2018 – The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA)...
UPDATE #3 - BUICK SPONSORS SHANGAI TOURNAMENT. The 2018 October 18-20 tournament -- the first LPGA event in Shanghai, China -- now has a name and a sponsor. (A tournament in Shanghai has been on the 2018 LPGA calendar with no name or sponsor.) Buick's five-year sponsorship confirms the LPGA's commitment to the countries of Asia and its market position as a "global tour". Congratulations to Commissioner Mike Whan and the LPGA marketing team for their dedication and hard work. And thanks to Buick! (My first car just happens to have been a Buick)
2018 Shanghai To Host First LPGA Event In Five-Year Deal With Buick | LPGA | Ladies Professional Golf Association
Buick LPGA Shanghai to be a Global Flagship Event of Women’s Golf SAIC-GM Buick Brand, WME | IMG China and the LPGA announced at a special press confe...
UPDATE #2: "LEADERS TOP 10" -- The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) announced March 12 that LEADERS Cosmetics, a global leader in facial masks and skincare products, has extended its relationship with the LPGA through 2020, and its designation has been broadened to Official Cosmetics Partner.
As part of this expanded relationship, a ‘LEADERS Top 10’ competition has been launched, with the LPGA player who records the most top-10 finishes at the end of the season taking home a $100,000 bonus. [ARIYA JUTANUGARN WON THE KINGSMILL SUNDAY MAY 20 - SO SHE IS IN THE RUNNING FOR THE "TOP 10" BONUS]
NEWS UPDATE #1 -- LEADERSHIP AWARDS: June 12-13, 2018 -- for the second year the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Foundation will partner with the Turner Family Foundation of the Twin Cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota) to continue to develop the next generation of female leaders when the first of five LPGA Leadership Academies on the 2018 schedule is held next month. Women's leadership programs are in the news for all the right reasons: Our personal values are established when we are young.
I grew up in St. Paul and went to the University of Minnesota. (One of the great LPGA Founders, Patty Berg, was born in Minnesota.) I will be going back to St. Paul next week to award the first student award under a scholarship my family and I recently established at my high school: St. Paul Central -- the oldest high school in the state and the high school that has graduated more Rhodes Scholars than any other high school in the country. I think the school taught "leadership" -- we just didn't know it at the time . Many thanks to the Turner Family for continuing our Twin Cities traditions. Congratulations to the award recipients.
For more about leadership see an article I wrote (It's a real favorite!) ... "Why Women Golfers Must Be Leaders -- and It's Not About Hitting the Ball" at
NOT JUST ANOTHER GOLF DAY!!!! IT'S THE ANNUAL...
WOMENS GOLF DAY -- JUNE 5, 2018
Register Your Location Now and Be Part of the Global Movement
Women's Golf Day is set to have its best year yet and we're making it easier than ever to sign up your location. WGD created an incredible global community in two years and has the support of almost every major golfing governing body and organization.
Register Now https://womensgolfday.com/location-registration/
Enjoy the memories of this famous Belgian golfer, Florence Descampe -- now 48 years old, who played on both the LPGA and the Ladies European Tour (the LET) -- retired at age 27. The good times and the not-so good times... frankly described in an excellent interview ... very touching with its honesty. https://www.lady-golfer.com/news/florence-descampe-think-good-years-tour/.
BREAKING NEWS: New Team Format on the LPGA Tour in 2019.
THE GREAT LAKES BAY INVITATIONAL is innovative in that 144 LPGA golfers playing as two-person teams (72 teams) with a $2 million purse. -- will be the first "official team competition."
Hmmm? Isn't the International Crown a team competition-- and isn't the Solheim Cup a team competition? Yes! But the difference is important. In the UL Internaitonal Crown, there are 32 LPGA Tour players and in the Solheim, only 12 on Team USA (and some on Team Europe). In contrast, the Great Lakes Bay Invitational will include 144 LPGA players in the field over 4 days of play and that has never been done. (It will make my History of Women's Golf Timeline at http://nancyberkley.com/774892.html
I hear your next question: Won't 144 players take forever? Not really because the tournament will use both Foursome and Fourball formats. The Foursome format is alternate shot -- that's quick. The Fourball does have all each two-person team playing the hole, but it is the "better-ball" score of the twosome; and it is not unusual for only one team member to be playing out the hole if the other is really in trouble -- and that speeds things up -- and makes it exciting. See an article I wrote about the formats at:https://www.womensgolf.com/foursomes-fourball/
This will be the second innovative format on the LPGA 2019 schedule. The first in January is a mixed women/men/celebrity format -- details still to be announced
MY OPINION: And in another article about the new DOW Chemical Team event, LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan explained background for the new LPGA Team event and why he is not pushing for a womens/mens event.. According to Global Golf Post... "[Mike Whan] also still preaches the virtues of a future mixed-team tournament where, in Whan’s words, “fans can see Lexi Thompson and Bubba Watson partnering and reading putts for each other. That’ll be great.”“
But if I know the Commissioner, and I think I do, he won't launch a mixed team event until he knows he's got it right. In interviews he has always told me the product of the LPGA Tour is "the LPGA player." Everything the LPGA does must be to make the LPGA player look better than ever. He won't take a short-cut that short-changes the LPGA players. That's my opinion.
SHORT GEOGRAPHY LESSON: ABOUT THE GREAT LAKES IN THE U.S. -- site of the first LPGA "Team" Event.
The new 2019 LPGA Tour "team" event -- the Great Lakes Bay Team Invitational sponsored by DOW Chemical -- is located at the Midland Country Club near the shore of Lake Huron one of the five "Great Lakes" in northern United States. The Great Lakes is the largest group of fresh water lakes on our earth (thank you, Wikipedia). I grew up in Minnesota and often visited Lake Superior, the lake farthest west. Heading east is Lake Michigan (Chicago is on Lake Michigan), Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. A river system connected Lake Ontario out to the Atlantic Ocean. Early settlers from Europe entered the US from the Atlantic Ocean using the Great Lakes and rivers to settlements in northern United States. The Great Lakes border Canada. Michigan - where the DOW has an amazing number of golfers and fans... especially since those beautiful links are covered with snow for much of the year.
SOLHEIM CUP SEPTEMBER 2019 GETS BIG NEW SPONSOR: JOHN DEERE COMPANY .
John Deere, one of the world’s leading golf course equipment suppliers, is confirmed as the latest big name partner to commit to The Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, Scotland, September 9th – 15th, 2019.
There are TWO "international" competitive events on the LPGA Tour in alternate years: The Solheim Cup and the UL International Crown. They are "team" events (country vs country) and I write and report on both. They are expensive events to stage and produce and sponsors are important. Thanks to the John Deere company for stepping up as sponsor early.
The 2018 UL International Crown October 4-7, 2018 (an LPGA Tour sponsored event - eight countries with 4-person teams compete in different match play formats) is still relatively new on the LPGA Tour. To see what 8 countries are likely to compete for the 2018 Crown see http://www.lpga.com/tournaments/2018-ul-international-crown-team-standings (currently: Korea, US, England, Japan, Australia, Thailand, Sweden, Chinese Taipai). Also see an article I wrote about the 2016 Crown at https://www.womensgolf.com/lpga-international-crown-rio-olympics/.
In 2019 - September 9-15, the Solheim Cup -- Team USA vs. Team Europe -- will be held in Scotland. I have attended and written about Solheim Cup 2015 (in Germany), 2017 (in Des Moines, Iowa) and look forward to 2019 in Scotland. This is a really big, great tournament with a long history. The Captains for each team have already been selected: Juli Inkster for Team USA and Catriona Matthew for Team Europe. See the home site for the tournament at http://solheimcup2019.com/. Here is one article I wrote about Solheim 2017 that explains the format https://www.womensgolf.com/solheim-cup-2017/. And one of my favorite articles is about Louise Solheim, who along with her husband established the PING golf company and who have generously funded the Solheim Cup -- see https://www.womensgolf.com/louise-solheim/
And almost forgot the Olympics which now includes golf will be held in summer 2020 summer in Tokyo, Japan (at a course about an hour south of Tokyo). For some background see my article about the return of golf to the Olympics at https://www.womensgolf.com/olympics/
It's easy to understand why the new marketing message of the LPGA Tour is "A Global Tour Like No Other." LPGA Tour players will be in all the international events and many also play on European, Asian, and Australian tours that will represent their countries in the Olympics. A good time to learn world geography!
VOLUNTEER OF AMERICA TEXAS CLASSIC -- May 3 to May 6 (outshttps://www.womensgolf.com/solheim-cup-2017/ide Dallas, Texas at the Old American Golf Club) -- What is the sponsor selling? Why advertise to golfers?
In an interview with LPGA Commissioner last November I asked him why a "volunteer" organization would sponsor an LPGA Tournament. There is no product to buy. It's not about "profits". The Commissioner didn't waste a minute answering my question. He explained that the TV audience for women's golf had the most important ingredient to offer: Time!
Now it all made sense to me. Although more young golfers are coming into the game -- and more millennials -- the TV fans for golf are "probably" not out coaching little league teams or taking kids to parks. The TV audience probably (not gathered statistics yet) includes many viewers who are retired or partially retired -- and have time! There are some other factors at work in our society that also promote volunteer-ism and "giving back".
Interestingly, this is the only event on the LPGA Tour that promotes the role of volunteers. (You can't buy this sponsor's product in a store!) I will have more to say about Volunteers of America because it has an importat history and seems to be able to produce some of the best spots about women's golf of any sponsor.
The short pieces are intimate and dramatic insights into the mind of serious women golfers; Don't leave your TV to go to the kitchen when these spots come on! Let me know if you agree.
STACY LEWIS announces she is having a baby. And her sponsor KPMG responds with great news. Below is a copy of my Facebook post.
CONGRATULATIONS TO STACY AND HER HUSBAND.
KPMG, THANK YOU!. On behalf of all working moms for launching "LPGA FAMILY LEAVE" for KPMG-sponsored players and leading the way. Mothers are great golfers....Nancy Lopez. Julie Inkster, Christie Kerr -- . And team Europe 2019 Solheim Captain Catriona Matthew to name just a few. Perfect role for Stacy in the announcers booth over the next month's. @KPMG. #whatareyoushootingfor.
Here is a portion from an article for GOLFWEEK magazine written by star supporter Beth Ann Nichols:
"As Lewis began to tell friends, family and sponsors the happy news, she got an unexpected follow-up phone call from KPMG. The way most sponsorship contracts are written, Lewis said, players get paid based in part on the number of tournaments they compete in. For example, if she had to play in a minimum number of 20 events and played in only 10, she’d get half the pay.
“(KPMG) called me a couple days later and said they wanted to pay me for the whole contract, regardless of the number of tournaments I played in,” said Lewis. “They see me as a member of their team and their family and they wanted to treat me like any other female in their organization that has a baby. Which I was pretty blown away by, shocked to get that phone call really.”
To read the entire GOLFWEEK article go to
KPMG, a leading worldwide accounting firm, is a strong supporter of women's golf and sponsor a "major" tournament on the LPGA Tour: the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. June 28-July 1. At this tournament, the final four players for each of the 8 teams competing in the UL International Crown will be announced based on the current Rolex Rankings.
P.S. Just to note that the next President of the PGA of America will be Suzy Whaley -- the first female president of The PGA.... and the mother of two talented daughters (golfers, of course!).
For another article about the impact of the KPMG decision see the Business Insider at:
HAVE YOU NOTICED? More Women's Product-Sponsors on the LPGA Tour
There are more sponsors of the LPGA Tour that make and sell products specifically for women? The LPGA has had a long sponsorship-history with Pure Silk shaving cream for women (and Barbasol shaving cream for men.). But read on...
The current LPGA event in San Francisco is sponsored by MEDIHEAL which sells a cosmetic face-mask product to improve the look, feel and health of our complexions. Next season, another skin care manufacturer LEADERS (also a face-mask product) will sponsor a first-time women/men/celebrity event in January. Both MEDIHEAL and LEADERS ares successful Korean-based cosmetic manufacturers that sell their products all over the world. . (Before writing this post, I spent some time interviewing an esthetician to understand the face-mask products and learned about their increased popularity in the U.S..)
To see MEDIHEAL and LEADERS come on board as sponsors of the LPGA suggests that more women are watching more LPGA Tour golf.-- all over the globe The recent announcement that UBS and Prudential Securities will be sponsoring programs for working women to learn the game adds to the good news. And so much more to come this season -- the US Women's Open, the KPMG Women's Championship, the UL International Crown and the grand finale Race to the CME Globe in November. I'm already thinking 2020 Olympics in Tokyo! (this will also be posted on Nancy's Blog at http://nancyberkley.com/nancy-s-blog.html.
This blog post first appeared on my Facebook Page -- Follow me on Facebook and Twitter -- go to Home Page for click-on icons.
WHY WE WILL BE SEEING MORE GREAT WOMEN GOLFERS FROM THE U.S.
As I read about this wonderful new young woman golfer, Alexa Pano, (from Coral Gables, Florida) I am reminded of Lexi Thompson at a similar age.
Read the Global Golf Post article at http://read.nxtbook.com/global_golf_post/local/20180423_fsga/index.html#alexa_pano_feature
But this article (long but worth every paragraph) suggests that it's not just one American girl but a significant trend among talented US girls taking up golf. The numbers of young golfers (from the National Golf Foundation) confirm this especially because the NGF now includes girls and women who play less than a full nine or 18 holes -- what beginners do!
The new measurements suggest that golf is a growing sport in the US and with the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, support from Annika, TopGolf and new golf ranges, there is really nothing to stop the trend. [I always remind readers, that these are the children of the children who went to school in the US after Title IX was enacted and girls were provided comparable opportunities to play sports.]
With the upcoming release from the NGF about the numbers of golfers, I expect that this trend will be statistically confirmed. I have written several articles about the girls golf. See "Is Junior Golf Really Good for Kids?" at https://www.womensgolf.com/is-junior-golf-good-for-kids/
And there is a new program for children ages 2 to 5 . http://littlegolftrain.com/. The Little Golf Train is taught by certified instructors in a program developed by Dr. Patricia Donnelly. Here is the Little Golf T.R.A.I.N.™ Mission Statement: "To provide children ages 2-5 with a research-based, holistic, early-learning environment and introduce them to the fundamentals of golf and accompanying life skills. To foster a love of the game of golf through a developmentally appropriate curriculum rooted in evidence-based research. To provide golf professionals with turn-key resources to help build a safe, fun and effective early-learning environment for children ages 2-5."
And look at the wonderful programs (with sites all over the United States) at : http://www.uskidsgolf.com/ AND at the LPGA/USGA Girls Golf Program at many sites all over the country https://www.girlsgolf.org/ And the PGA of America has introduced a league program that merges teaching and competition see https://www.pgajrleague.com/. And one of the first junior programs introduced years ago is still growing and thriving: The First Tee at https://thefirsttee.org.
Your young golfer may not win a gold medal at the Olympics, or play in the Solheim Cup, or win a USGA tournament, or top the leaderboard at an LPGA Tour event. But she will learn a game that teaches not only golf-skills, but also life-skills. And nothing is really more important than that in the end.
WHERE IS THE LPGA TOUR PLAYING NEXT? EASY-TO-DO ADVICE FOR WOMEN GOLFERS
One way the number of women's golfers (and girls also) will grow is by watching more of the LPGA Tour on television. There is more TV coverage than! Just watching a few holes and listening to the announcers is a lesson in itself. Many golfers are encouraged to try the game from watching the professionals. The really good news is that there are many more programs for new golfers than ever.
STEP ONE: Go to the LPGA website (www.lpga.com and then go to the Tournaments tab and download the schedule. http://www.lpga.com/tournaments/download-lpga-schedule
STEP TWO: Print the schedule out and put it up on the women's locker room bulletin board and on your club's main bulletin board. and certainly in the Pro Shop (women are the best customers!)..
STEP THREE: I suggest you "CHECK OFF" the tournaments played so women can easily see what's next.
STEP FOUR: If your golf shop only shows men's golf tournaments on the shop TV, teach them how to record an LPGA tournament and replay it in the pro shop. [If your proshop is not showing women's golf tournaments on the TV, better read "ADVICE FOR WOMEN GOLFERS (my all-time favorite article) https://www.womensgolf.com/women-golfers-leaders/
STEP FIVE: If you have a really good golf professional at your club or a great Women's Golf Committee Chairperson, suggest this tournament format: Pick a Pro for Your Partner. Have your pro select about twenty-plus of the top pros who will be in the field of an upcoming tournament; members should try to each pick a different pro as their partner. The Winner will be announced after the tournament: Net score of your member plus score of the pro she picked. And then print out the final Leaderboard from the lpga.com site and your member who was smart enough (or lucky enough) to be her partner. What this simple fun tournament teaches is how to use the LPGA website and how to get to know the LPGA players and to watch the LPGA Tour on TV (live or record ed).
WHERE ARE THE ROLEX WORLD RANKINGS (HOW DO I USE THEM?)
AND WHERE IS THE UPDATE ON THE UL INTERNATIONAL CROWN???
Check out the Rolex Women's Golf Rankings at the Official Rolex Website
I like this page of the Rankings because it shows which players moved up and which moved down. At bottom of page use the scroll button to page 2 and notice that Azahara Munoz of Spain moved up 15 places after the last tournament!!
She could help Spain move into the UL International Crown. This is also a good page to search by "country".
To see the leaders in any country, put the name (abbreviation) of the country you want to see -- and there are all the golfers ranked. So much to see on this site!! [The Rolex Rankings are also used to determine the two players from 30 countries that will compete in the 2020 Olympic golf competition in Tokyo. ]
TO SEE THE STANDINGS FOR THE UL INTERNATIONAL CROWN -- GO TO www.lpga.com and Tournaments tab and "Standings for UL Crown -- or click on http://www.lpga.com/tournaments/2018-ul-international-crown-team-standings.
Now that the previous LOTTE Championship sponsored by Hershey is over and the Rolex Rankings have been updated, the eight countries (with 4-person teams) are: Korea, US, Japan, England, Australia, Thailand, Sweden, and Chinese Taipei. See the current top 4 players from the countries using the Rolex Rankings page. Who will join me Oct 4-7 in Incheon, Korea for this great tournament? ALL THIS COULD CHANGE AFTER THE LA OPEN.... stay tuned.
BREAKING NEWS - April 11, 2018: LPGA TOUR ANNOUNCES A NEW AMATEUR TOURNAMENT AND QUALIFICATION FOR THE LPGA TOUR -- "THE Q SERIES"
WOMENS AMATEUR GOLF IN THE NEWS...AGAIN! Last week before the Masters began, the Masters Chairman announced the 2019 Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship with 72 women golfers -- 30 of which would play the final round on "THE" hallowed Masters Course on Saturday before the Masters begins and before the Drive, Chip and Putt finals on Sunday. It is not clear to what extent and when Mike Whan LPGA Commissioner was informed of the new Masters women's amateur.
A major issue emerged: The first major of the LPGA season in 2019 is the ANA Inspiration in Palm Springs and it concludes on the Sunday before Masters week. Amateur women golfers might have to decide whether or not to play in the ANA Inspiration or qualify for the new Masters Women's Amateur. Didn't seem fair to women! (But the Masters is generally arrogant -- it now has 4 women members! Hardly a commitment to women's golf and golfers! )
I predicted in another Facebook post that Mike Whan -- who in my interviews with him is always motivated by an overall. thoughtful strategy for the LPGA Tour and women's golf -- would meet with his Board and carefully decide how to deal with the Masters conflict. I was right!
Today, April 11, (a week after the Master's announcement of a women's amateur event), the Commissioner went further and announced a new amateur tournament later this year (yes, this fall) -- the "Q-Series" that would make it easier (actually double the number) for amateurs to qualify for the LPGA Tour. The new LPGA amateur Q-Series tournament will be played on two great courses at Pinehurst (famous designs by architect Donald Ross) see https://www.homeofgolf.com/
And from today's announcement: Quote from Commissioner Mike Whan:
"What I like most about the Q-Series is that it will be a true test for how players will qualify for the LPGA tour," said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. "The playing status earned by competitors at Q-Series will be a direct reflection of eight rounds of head-to-head competition on a demanding test at Pinehurst Resort."
There was no mention of postponing the ANA Inspiration to accommodate The Masters.
To read more about the new LPGA Q-Series - see a good summary at
ABOUT "AMATEUR" STATUS AND ROLE OF THE USGA
The United States Golf Association (the USGA) sets the rules for "amateur status". I confirmed with the LPGA that the LPGA follows the USGA rules for amateur status. To see the USGA rules of Amateur Status see: http://www.usga.org/rules/rules-of-amateur-status.html#!rule-01The USGA is a great supporter of amateur golf. Last year, the USGA introduced a US Women's Amateur with a schedule of qualifying rounds at sites all over the world. There is also a "four-ball" tournament for women's amateurs. And most importantly, the US Women's Open is open to amateurs who qualify at qualifying sites all over the world. (Many LPGA Tournaments also allow a certain number of women amateur golfers to play in LPGA Tournaments (provided they waive any prize money).
MORE... about amateur womens golf and marketing women's golf....
Just to refresh the opportunities open to female amateur golfers conducted by the USGA, see http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/schedule.html
February 2018: The PGA of America annnounced a new special 2019 "International" Women's Tournament -- the 2019 Women's PGA Cup -- for it's female PGA Professionals (probably amateurs - but may be some exceptions). The link below includes a nice video from Suzy Whaley, the next President of The PGA.
The following countries are tentatively committed to play in the 2019 Women’s PGA Cup: Australia, Canada, Great Britain & Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden and the United States.
The site of the inaugural competition will be announced at a later date.
This PGA of America tournament format is similar in some ways to the LPGA Tour UL International Crown tournament with eight-country-teams -- each with four players. The 2018 UL International Crown will be played in Incheon, Korea the first weekend in October.
See this link: https://www.pga.com/pga-of-america/golf-buzz/pga-of-america-launch-womens-pga-cup-in-2019
WHAT'S THIS ABOUT? -- SLOW PLAY -- "BEING PUT ON THE CLOCK" LPGA -- ANA INSPIRATION THIRD ROUND - Mission Hills, Palm Springs, California.
The top two players in the third round were paired: Sweden's Pernilla Lindberg and Korea's Sung Hyun Park. They were "Put on the Clock" and Park's game faltered as she tried to speed up. Here's my opinion about the issue:
What is "Being Put on the Clock" all about? The LPGA has rules about "slow play" -- (so does the PGA Tour, but they differ) -- the LPGA rules were made a little tougher about six years ago.
In order for a group to be put “on the clock”, the group must be in violation of two rules: (1) They have violated “time par” which is the amount of time allocated to the play of each hole; this is customized for each course and takes into account playing conditions, and (2) the group must be “out of position”, that is there is too much space between them and the group in front of them. Even though only one player in a group may be the "slow" player, the whole group is "on the clock".
In today's Round 3 of the ANA Inspiration tournament, the two-some of Pernilla Lindberg (Sweden) and Sung Hyun Park (Korea) were first warned about being slow and then were "put on the clock". Although I watched the match, I will have to back and replay it to see who actually was "slower." Once "put on the clock", Park lost her rhythm and did not play as well. Lindberg did not seem affected by the slow play warning and played the final holes very well to take the lead. Why the difference? In my opinion, Lindberg was the more experienced tournament player and knew how to speed up. And Lindberg from Sweden is also an excellent skier who has probably speeded down many trails. Park is less experienced in tournament golf and just had a harder time adjusting to a faster routine. Park also does not have a coach -- she relies on her own innate talent. Perhaps a coach would have helped her learn and practice playing faster. The final match on Sunday April 1 will be one to watch!
BRAND MARKETING #101 -- the NIKE Lesson
Strong television ratings for the 2018 Masters owe it to Tiger Woods and the strength of the "Tiger Brand". Modern-brand "celebrity" marketing was invented and popularized by NIKE -- beginning with basketball's Michael Jordan. The great LPGA Tour player, Lorena Ochoa, now has brand status as a new line in Mattel's famous Barbie Doll Collection. As a result, I would expect to see more Latina-American golfers in the LPGA/USGA Girls Golf programs and then on more women's amateur and professional golf tours.
Commissioner Mike Whan has announced a new 2019 LPGA Tour event next January that includes women, men and celebrities. That's how great personal brands are built. The game of golf needs more of them!
P.S. I wrote this post before I read the Wall Street Journal April 9, 2018 article "Nike Needs to Run After Women." The new Nike skort worn by Michelle Wie this season with longer ruffled back is a great and welcome new design.
KIA CLASSIC (March 22-25_ -- I WAS FOLLOWING LIZETTE SALAS... AND NANCY LOPEZ
TO BE HONEST: I was following Lizette Salas at the LPGA Tour Kia Classic at Carlsbad. It was forty years ago in 1978 that Nancy Lopez made history winning five tournaments in a row. I remember the impact on women's golf of Nancy Lopez and her Latina heritage. And then in 2017, I was lucky to sit next to Azucena Maldonado in the media room of the Solheim Cup. She was following Lizette on Team USA. I learned that in 2008, Azucena had established the Latina Golfers Association and I knew our paths would cross again.
Today, I caught up with Azucena during the final round of the Kia Classic -- Lizette was very close to victory. I asked Azucena to bring me up to date on the Latina Golfers Association.
FROM AZUCENA MALDONADO, Founder of the Latina Golfers Association:
"It’s a new dawn and today young Latinas look to Lizette as the evolving face of golf in the United States and she gives them hope that it won’t take that many years to see more Lizette’s playing professional golf. In fact the pipeline is going strong with Lee Lopez now on the tour and many U.S. Latinas playing collegiate golf ready to start the quest to earn their LPGA tour card. As the founder fo the Latina Golfers Association I love to shine a light on Lizette and the Salas family. She is a role model for our community and works with us to grow the game of golf. Lizette works fervently to realize her dream to be the best woman golfer in the world and she works as diligently to encourage girls and women to learn to golf to enhance their lives. Lisette is living the American Dream and she wants other girls to do the same - by learning how to play golf!"
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan has worked hard to achieve a "global Tour." But worth noting that a "global heritage" -- one that Lizette embraces as a Latina -- enhances the global character of the LPGA Tour. Not just about where you live, but where your heart lives also.
USGA NEW RULES OF GOLF OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED
TO GO INTO EFFECT JANUARY 1, 2019.
"The following are the main changes to the Rules of Golf taking effect January 1, 2019 that are expected to have the most impact on the game and to be of most interest to golfers. The items covered on this page are organized into eight categories, and within each individual item, you will find the main reasons for the change. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us any time.
Ball at Rest | Ball in Motion | Taking Relief | Areas of the Course
Equipment | Playing a Ball | When to Play During a Round | Player Behavior
The new rules are very well explained on the USGA site with both text and videos. I recently reminded my caddy that he could not touch the green with the flagstick to show me the line of my putt, BUT after next January 1, that will not be a penalty. That special drop technique (arm out straight at shoulder height) will also be gone and replaced with a new more relaxed "drop rule". And, several new rules about bunkers -- players will be able to remove loose objects (like a leaf) in a bunker.
In the interest of speeding up play, one of the most important new rules is this one: "It is recommended that you play “ready golf” and make each stroke in no more than 40 seconds." No more conversations about who is farther from the flagstick!
The new rules should "relax" the game and speed it up.
FROM THE FOUNDERS CUP -- SATURDAY MARCH 17 --ROUND 3 --MEDIA CENTER INTERVIEWS:
Excerpts from just two players in the LPGA Media Center Interviews because of their historical significance -- chance to share some history. This is a very long post on Facebook -- read it here also on http://nancyberkley.com/nancy-s-blog.html
Q. TO INBEE PARK: Phenomenal start to the round; 6-under through five holes. You shot a 29 on the front nine. Were you ever thinking about that magic number that would come into play in shooting a 59 today?
INBEE PARK: Yes, for a little bit I think after the front nine. I got off to really good start with a shot eagle on the front and everything seemed to be in. On the back nine it was a little bit different, a little bit more boring golf.
NANCY'S NOTES: What is that "magic number" all about? The magic number if 54 -- the score if a player "birdied" every hole. The closest anyone has come is Annika Sorenstam with a score of 59. Enjoy this utube video of Annika talking about that 59 round https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNGvp8JiJXE. The golf instructor team of Lynn Marriott & Pia Nilsson have written about "Vision 54" https://www.vision54.com/ and reference it in their new book "Be A Player".
Q. TO INBEE PARK: And your putting, obviously one of the best putters of all-time. You changed your putter. Can you tell us
INBEE PARK: Yes, I changed to a little bit more Anser style of putter this week, because I think I was getting too used to the mallet style putter doesn't really shows mistakes. I wanted to see which way I was missing, what my stroke was doing wrong. With Anser style you can tell much better. I wanted to see my misses and good putts and bad putts. That's why I kind of change it before going to ANA, so I can kind of see my mistakes and see which putts are the good putts.
NANCY'S NOTES: The reference to an "Anser" style putter goes back to Karsten Solheim and his "invention" of the Anser blade-type putter that made a "Ping" sound when hit. And that's the beginning of PING golf. I had the honor to write about the PING family and the role of Louise Solheim (who gave the putter its name). She was a "founder" and with Karsten originated the Solheim Cup. See https://www.womensgolf.com/louise-solheim/
Q. TO LAURIE DAVIES: Q. The think the folks in the media center were saying it's the lowest round you've had on the LPGA since '06. Where did that come from?
LAURA DAVIES: Well, my putting is improved no end, and my ball striking has always been pretty solid. My putting has been letting me down for the last four, five, six, years. I changed to the claw grip in Arkansas last year, so that was sort of July last year. And I've started to hole some putts.
NANCY'S FINAL NOTE: CHECK MY PUTTER AND PUTTING STROKE.
FROM THE FOUNDERS CUP - FRIDAY MARCH 16 -- MEDIA CENTER -- NOTES FROM THE PLAYERS:
After every round on the LPGA Tour (with few exceptions), the players come to the media center and answer questions from reporters. The text of the Q&A are distributed and even though I am not in Arizona, I can review the press releases. The media center at LPGA events is amazing!
I read the comments from Friday’s rounds and have selected just two players’ comments to share. One from Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and another from U.S. Brittany Lincicome. Golf is a very “personal” game. (Two more rounds to go! Remember there is life TV coverage in most areas -- tape the coverage.)
TO ARIYA JUTANUGARN
Q. How are you able to not focus on being in the lead and winning? How do you keep that out of your mind?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: It's very tough for me. It's hard. Before, every putt we just want to make it, but I know that when I'm thinking about make it I'm not going to make it. I have to thinking about like what my coach said.
Q. What are you thinking about? The stroke?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Just make sure I have to finish my stroke before I look at the hole or at my ball.
There is quite a difference between Arriya’s statements: “Do not look at the hole” and “Finish the stroke”.
Someone once told me that our brains don’t really understand “not” and negatives. “Thinking positive” is good advice for golf.
TO BRITTANY LINCICOME
Q. How much have you worked on your putting and how big a deal is it?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Zero. I mean, I just go and when I'm home I play a bunch, but I never go to the putting green. I haven't even seen the putting green this week other than my five, ten minutes before I go to the tee.
I played with Angela Stanford this week, and she was like, How do you do it? I hate you. You never have to practice. You're just like a natural. Just go out and play.
Just super lucky, because if I had to practice -- like I cannot wait to go take a nap right now. (Laughter.)
BREAKING NEWS: New tournament and sponsor for LPGA TOUR 2019. Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions -- Men, Women, Celebrities, Amateurs -- What more do you need? Fans!!!
Can you believe that the LPGA Tour has already announced a new tournament for next year? [information recently also posted on my Facebook page - click Facebook icon above to also check out the other postings):
To say that LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan thinks ahead is the understatement of the season! The Commissioner just announced the first -- and new format -- tournament to launch the 2019 season next January. The tournament will include the best of the best LPGA Tour players and celebrities and some amateurs.
It reminds me of a 2010 tournament sponsored by Golf Digest -- the Golf Digest US Open Challenge -- that had an online contest about who would be the amateur to play with a group of celebrities at famous Pebble Beach - playing from the 7,040-yard tournament tees. Peggy Ferrence, an amateur golfer from New Jersey, won the on-line vote and the only woman beating several other male golfers for the opportunity. That celebrity Pebble Beach tournament was an opening event for the USGA's 2010 US Open. Peggy's goal was to break 100 on the course, but the prevailing winds that day and the long grasses proved a formidable challenge for both Peggy and the celebrities.
Here's an article about that famous tournament where famous/popular golfers were caddies for the celebrity foursome.
Mike Whan, in my interview with him at the CME Globe, last November mentioned some "new" tournaments for 2019. I was hoping for a good, mixed LPGA Tour and PGA Tour "team" event. But will have to wait a little longer for that -- I know the Commissioner is thinking about it.
The 2010 Golf Digest event, in my opinion, met mixed reviews. It is a sponsor's opportunity to feature a new resort to a large TV audience, but it will be challenging to market to golfers. But -- then again -- marketing is the specialty of the Commissioner.
This tournament must be successfull so I will stay close to it in the planning stage. My advice: (although not requested) is that perhaps the Commissioner can include some of the PGA Tour players. In the Golf Digest 2010 tournament discussed above, Peggy Ference played from the same 7000 yard tees as the men in her foursome. My advice would be to have different players playing from different tees (that's the backbone of the US Handicap System and an opportunity to educate golfers about the Handicap System). PGA Tour events are usually at least 600 yards longer than LPGA Tour events; so, let's see how Mike Whan handles the dilemma of "women's tees) and "amateurs' shorter tees". And wouldn't it be interesting to have one of the top teens in the mix. (Lexi Thompson at 15 could have scored better than some Tour players.) I will stay tuned to how the new Diamond Resort Tournament of Champions develops. I'm putting the tournament on my schedule for next January -- just a few hours drive north for me.
Women's Forums now part of more LPGA Tour Events...starting with the Bank of Hope Founders Cup
At the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, March 15-18, in Phoenix, Arizona, the LPGA Tour holds its first (of the the 2018) season women's lunch and forum for about 100 women from the area. Forums and luncheons for women held in conjunction with a LPGA Tournament are a growing trend.
The Bank of Hope forum will feature a putting lesson from the great LPGA players, Nancy Lopez and Betsy King along with instructors from the famed "Vision 54" teaching program. As explained by Tracy Hupko, Sales and Marketing Manager LPGA Bank of Hope Founders Cup, "Each year our 'What’s Fore Lunch' events grow and bring new faces to the game of golf. The luncheons carve out a small piece of the day to give business woman a chance to network and learn about golf or improve their game, without cutting into their family time.” What I also liked about the Bank of Hope forum is that LPGA Girls Golf participants are invited to the forum to witness for themselves how golf and leadership work together.
About one-third of the 2018 LPGA Tour events are reaching out to the local women golfers with special programming. I will be writing more about those forums as a new and positive trend building both women golfers and fans.
It's a new world for business women (still not perfect), but like to share my story. When I was a lawyer with a New York City big, law firm, they announced their annual golf outing and dinner -- for all employees. I signed up for the golf tournament, of course! A partner called me aside to tell me that I was the only woman playing golf. He was perplexed because there was a long drive contest, and he recognized that one woman against all those men in a long drive contest didn't sound quite fair. So he asked for my suggestion. It was an easy answer! I said, "I guess I will probably win the longest women's drive contest." And, I did! And I received a lovely sweater at the prize ceremony. In a small way, all women golfers have an opportunity to level the playing field -- the fairway -- to make the game of golf more welcoming for all women and girls.
European Tours organize 2018 mixed men/women events and lead the way. It's a busy summer! (posted on Nancy Facebook page -- March 9, 2018)
MARK SUMMER GOLF CALENDAR: The European golf associations -- the Ladies European Tour (the LET) and the men's European Tour are playing TWO mixed women/men tournaments in 2018. Some women golfers are members of the the LET and the LPGA Tours. (hmmm?.. the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour just can't get their schedules in sync according to conversations I have had with LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan, who has "hinted" that thinking about a co-ed format.).
The first men/swomen European event in May -- GolfSixes -- is a short event and will be played over two days May 5 and 6 at the Centurion Club in England (north of London). See http://www.bbc.com/sport/golf/43205185
The second mixed event -- described as "revolutionary" -- August 8-12 is in Gleneagles, Scotland and will feature a 50/50 gender split in the field with male and female professionals competing for equal prize money in both a Men’s and Women’s Team match play Championship as well as an 18-hole foursomes stroke play Mixed Team Championship. Click the box below for more about this new event.
the LPGA Tour's "Major" Ricoh Women's British Open is August 2-5 in Lancashire, England. A few days later, the European Mixed Golf Team Championship August 8-12 (describe above) follows And then.... the LPGA Tour plays August 16-19 back in the US in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Indy Women in Tech Championship sponsored by Guggenheim -- at the Indianapolis raceway. Wow -- a busy August!
And almost forgot.... the MENS RYDER CUP -- TEAM USA vs TEAM EUROPE will be played September 25-30 at Le Golf National in Paris France. And then October 4-7, the LPGA Tour gathers in Incheon, Korea for the UL International Crown. Two great team country-vs-country events this summer.
Lorena Ochoa, LPGA Tour player and member of Golf Hall of Fame added to Barbie collection of "Shero" dolls created to inspire the next generation of girls.... and my background with Barbie. Announcement in honor of -- International Women's Day, March 8, 2018. (posted March 8, 2018)
I bring some history to Mattel and girls golf. In 2008, I was a consultant to Mattel involving the launch of "Barbie" branded girls-golf clubs. As a test, they were introduced at the PGA Merchandise Show in 2008 where I met with the Mattel executives on this project.
The company determined, however, that Barbie golf clubs were not an appropriate extention of Mattel's brand. I became intrigued with the line of "famous" Barbies and suggested that Nancy Lopez should be included in their famous-women-doll-collection. That never happened. (see photo below)
Interestingly, back in 1992, Mattel introduced "Golf Date Barbie" which I could not resist buying for its history.(see the photo below).
So here we are -- twenty-six years later -- and Mattel has returned to women's golf. Their selection of Lorena Ochoa as one of the "Sheros" collection (that's Mattel translation of "she-heroes") is a perfect choice. And isn't it interesting and important that women have moved beyond just being a "date" to being an "inspiration" to girls about what they can achieve?
I considered Mattel's recognition of Lorena Ochoa important and symbolic of changing attitudes that I have added it to the HISTORY TIMELINE -- see tab on left) Enjoy this photo history.
Left (1992 Mattel introduces "Golf Date" Barbie),
Middle (2008 Mattel tests Barbie branded golf clubs -- but rejects concept)
Right (2018) Lorena Ocheo, LPGA Tour & World Golf Hall of Fame member) becomes one of Mattel's inspirational Sheros collection added on March 3, 2018 -- International Women's Day. Adding my personal "Thank You" to Mattel and reminding all readers that the fastest growing segment of golfers in the US today are girls. I hope that when girls receive the Lorena Ocheo new Barbie it includes information about the history of golf and the role that Lorena played in demonstrating the global appeal of woomen's golf along with a reminder that all over the world there are opportunities for girls to learn the game at very young ages. For more about girls golf see https://www.girlsgolf.org/
LPGA release: "Korea to be Site of the First LPGA International Property Outside the U.S. -- Going Global" (posted March 6, 2018)
In every interview I have had with the Commissioner he has never wavered from his vision of a global LPGA. See one of several interviews with the Commissioner at https://www.womensgolf.com/mike-whan-nancy-berkley/
But this most recent announcement in my opinion is the most important. See http://www.lpga.com/news/2018-korea-to-be-site-of-first-lpga-international-property-outside-us
Some background: When Mike Whan officially became LPGA Commissioner in January 2010 -- just eight years ago, he inherited the LPGA's fragmented marketing strategy. As an example: In spite of the number of non-U.S. players on the Tour, the previous LPGA Commissioner wanted all players to learn and speak in English. Along comes Mike Whan with a strong marketing background that included working for Proctor & Gamble, one of the largest international corporations in the world. The Commissioner wasted little time in re-branding the "international" quality of the LPGA Tour and schedule more LPGA Tour events outside of the United States. The new strategy had its critics, but Whan pursued his marketing vision. In this current 2018 LPGA Tournament season, almost half of all tournaments are played outside the United States.
What always impresses me in my conversations with "the Commish" is the clarity and consistency of his strategy. Here's a Q&A from the interview referenced above a few years after he became Commissioner:
Q Nancy: Let’s clarify that answer: In your opinion the LPGA brand is NOT about growing the number of female recreational golfers – the six-plus million golfers in the U.S. (20% of all golfers in the U.S.) or recreational golfers around the world. Is that what you are saying?
A.MikeWhan: Yes. Honestly, I don’t spend a lot of my time trying to figure out how to get more recreational golfers – other than giving women golfers a showcase for watching the best women golfers in the world. I know that in most other sports, it’s all about fans. But the LPGA is different. We focus on our sponsors. Our LPGA golfers connect with our sponsors like no other sports figures.
Back to the Press Release at the beginning of this blog topic: The LPGA is establishing a second International headquarters half way around the world from Daytona Beach, Florida -- along the southern coast of Korea in the city of Busan. Why?
The final paragraph in the LPGA Press Release (cited above) from Mike Whan answers the question:
"I really felt the beauty and vibrancy of the city when I visited Busan for the first time last year, and the launch of LPGA International Busan will make it an even more special place to visit," said LPGA Commissioner Whan. "This is a special occasion for the LPGA with the first LPGA International brand besides our headquarters, and it will play a significant role in our global business in the future."
I expect some comments and reactions from the golf industry writers and observers and from other women's world golf tours -- such as the LET (Ladies European Tour) and world tours in Australia and Japan. How does a stronger global LPGA affect them?
Always my final message: "Be Happy, Be Healthy, Live Longer, Play Golf" -- Nancy Berkley