10 Reasons Why You Should Be Watching the LPGA Tour

Fred Altvater@@tolohgolfrContributor IIJune 2, 2014

10 Reasons Why You Should Be Watching the LPGA Tour

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    Jessica Korda, Michelle Wie and Charley Hull are young stars in the women's game.
    Jessica Korda, Michelle Wie and Charley Hull are young stars in the women's game.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The LPGA Tour has rebounded from the doldrums of 2008 and is one of the best tours in the world right now.

    There are young stars ready to win, and the veterans are still competitive.

    Even though Michelle Wie has been around the ladies game for nearly 10 years, she is finally maturing and already has a win on the LPGA Tour this year.

    Through 13 events in 2014 only one winner is over the age of 30. Thirty-nine-year-old Karrie Webb won both the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open and the JTBC Founders Cup.

    Jessica Korda (21), Anna Nordqvist (26) and Stacy Lewis (29) are the other multiple winners this season.

    Lewis won the Shoprite LPGA Classic this week and will reclaim the No. 1 spot on the Rolex Rankings.

    Youngsters Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson and Lizette Salas have also won this year and seem to challenge every week.

    The LPGA Tour is deep with talent, and every tournament offers exciting action for golf fans.

     

     

10. The LPGA Tour Is User-Friendly

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    The LPGA Tour has embraced social media.
    The LPGA Tour has embraced social media.Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    LPGA Tour Chief Communications Officer Kraig Kann took one of the negatives of the old LPGA Tour and turned it into a huge positive.

    Being a media-savvy professional from his years in front of a camera on local television shows and at the Golf Channel, Kann knew the importance of fan interaction for the women's game.

    He instituted a social media training program for the LPGA Tour, and fans can chat with their favorite players on Facebook and Twitter.

    The tour has even put the Twitter names of the players on caddie bibs during the tournaments.

    The LPGA Tour is the most accessible and fan-friendly tour in the world.

    Take your child to an LPGA Tour event, and it will be a lot easier to interact with the players than PGA or the Champions Tours.

     

9. Stacy Lewis Reclaims No. 1 Ranking

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    Stacy Lewis won the Shoprite LPGA Classic.
    Stacy Lewis won the Shoprite LPGA Classic.Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    With her second win of the 2014 season, Stacy Lewis will reclaim the No. 1 spot on the Rolex Rankings.

    She held the top spot for four weeks in 2013 before Inbee Park went on her major winning spree and grabbed the No. 1 spot from her.

    Since that time, Lewis has won three LPGA Tour events including the Women's British Open. She ran off 10 consecutive top-10 finishes at the end of 2013, and in addition to her two wins this year, she has nine top-10 finishes in 11 starts.

    She is one of the most consistent players in the game today, man or woman.  

8. The LPGA Tour Is Growing

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    LPGA Tour Commissioner Michael Whan, KPMG CEO John Veihmeyer and PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua announced the new Women's PGA Championship.
    LPGA Tour Commissioner Michael Whan, KPMG CEO John Veihmeyer and PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua announced the new Women's PGA Championship.Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    The LPGA Tour has been adding new tournaments to the schedule and expanding old ones.

    2014 will be the last season for the LPGA Championship. In an announcement last week, the LPGA and the PGA have combined to create the Women's PGA Championship. 

    The purse for the 2014 LPGA Championship will be $2.2 million. The total purse for the new 2015 Women's PGA Championship sponsored by KPMG will be the largest in the women's game at $3.5 million.

    LPGA Tour Commissioner Michael Whan is constantly seeking ways to improve and grow the tour.

7. Inaugural International Crown Will Be Held in July

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    International Crown will feature eight countries with four-women teams.
    International Crown will feature eight countries with four-women teams.USA TODAY Sports

    With the Olympic Games to be held in Brazil in 2016, the LPGA Tour will hold a new event, the International Crown, at Caves Valley Golf Club near Baltimore in July 24-27.

    Eight countries will be represented by that country's top four ranked women on the Rolex Rankings.

    The is another example of the LPGA Tour's growth, and it adds $1.6 million to the total purses available in 2014 on the LPGA Tour.

6. Michelle Wie Has the Best Swing in Golf

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    Michelle Wie is beginning to realize her potential.
    Michelle Wie is beginning to realize her potential.USA TODAY Sports

    For the casual golf fan looking to improve their game, look no farther than the golf swing of Michelle Wie.

    She has studied under the tutelage of David Leadbetter for many years and has the most technically perfect golf swing in the game right now.

    She is also having a very good year on tour. She has earned $808,000 with one win and seven top-10 finishes this year.

    Wie is ranked No. 2 on the LPGA Tour money list and No. 10 on the Rolex Rankings.

    Her putting statistics still need some improvement, but she hits so many greens that average putting gives her a chance to win every week. 

5. Lexi Thompson Won a Major Championship

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    Lexi Thompson won the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
    Lexi Thompson won the Kraft Nabisco Championship.USA TODAY Sports

    Lexi Thompson was one of the most talented teenage amateur golfers in the world, and now she is one of the most talented teenage professional golfers in the world.

    Thompson at 19 years old seems to be near the top of the leaderboard every week.

    She has six top-10 finishes this year plus a win at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

    Her $648,000 of total earnings places her third in the Race to the CME Globe, and she has moved up to No. 5 in the world.

    Thompson's long drives and aggressive style of play make her one of the most exciting players on tour.

4. Michael Whan Is the Best Commissioner in Sports

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    Michael Whan has done a masterful job expanding the LPGA Tour.
    Michael Whan has done a masterful job expanding the LPGA Tour.Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    What other sports league has increased its revenues and created more opportunities for its players to increase their incomes over the last five years more than the LPGA?

    Several tournaments have been added to the schedule, current events have increased their purses, and new sponsors are seeking opportunities to invest in the LPGA. 

    The Race to the CME Globe added a $1 million bonus for player that wins the season-long points race.

    The new partnership with the PGA of America in the Women's PGA Championship will add $1.3 million to the total purse available for the tournament in 2015.

    The inaugural International Crown event will be held this July and will offer $1.6 million to the 32 players in the field.

    Whan and his staff have done a masterful job of growing the LPGA Tour brand and the perception women's golf enjoys today.

     

3. Americans Are Dominating on the LPGA Tour

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    Lizette Salas from California won the Kingsmill Championship.
    Lizette Salas from California won the Kingsmill Championship.Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    Second-year LPGA Tour member Lizette Salas won her first event at Kingsmill.

    She grew up in southern California traveling to tournaments in her father's pickup truck, which also doubled as their sleeping accommodations for each night.

    American-born women have won seven of the 13 tournaments thus far in 2014 on the LPGA Tour.

    The Asians and Europeans that dominated the LPGA Tour for many years have to take a backseat to the talented young players that the U.S. has produced and are now members of the professional ranks. 

2. Lydia Ko Joined the LPGA Tour in 2014

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    Lydia Ko joined the LPGA Tour this year.
    Lydia Ko joined the LPGA Tour this year.Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    Lydia Ko won two events on the LPGA Tour as an amateur before turning professional last October.

    Although she just turned 17 years old in April, she has one win this season and is ranked No. 3 in the world.

    Ko has earned $554,000, with five top-10 finishes to go with her win at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

    Her calm demeanor and quiet, assassin-like competitive drive make her one of the players to watch now and in the future on the LPGA Tour. 

1. More Young Players Are Coming Up the Ranks

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    Charley Hull is leading the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit.
    Charley Hull is leading the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Charley Hull turned 18 years old in March and won her first event on the Ladies European Tour (LET) this year. 

    She was a member of the winning European Solheim Cup Team, won Rookie of the Year honors on the LET last year and leads that tour's 2014 Order of Merit.

    Playing on sponsor's exemptions, she finished T-18 at Kingsmill and T-3 at the Airbus LPGA Classic.

    She is just one of several youngsters who will find their way onto the LPGA Tour within the next year. 

    Australian Minjee Lee is an 18-year-old amateur who has already nearly won professional events and finished T-24 at the Kraft Nabisco.

    Ariya Jutanugarn from Thailand has returned to competitive play after her injury and will soon earn enough to join her sister Moriya as a full LPGA Tour member.

    These are just three examples of the young ladies who will be challenging the established stars of the LPGA Tour over the next couple of years.