With the start of every LPGA golf season, we are faced with questions. What's the best way to make the LPGA relevant in American sports? Will it matter if the number one female golfer in the world is American? What's the best way to market the LPGA?
The LPGA is filled with players from other countries, particularly Asia. The reason is a simple one; they play better golf. You can credit the highly competitive leagues in Asian countries like the LPGA of Japan and the LPGA of Korea. In addition to competitive ladies golf in Europe and Australia, we have developed an international sport with capable competitors.
Nobody worries that the PGA will collapse because the current No. 1 and No. 2 ranked players on the PGA aren't American. With the exception of five weeks in 2010, there hasn't been an American woman ranked No. 1 since February 2006. Why can't international ladies be accepted the way Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy or Martin Kaymer have been on the PGA?
Does the fault lie in the marketing of the LPGA and it's players? Many would argue that sex sells and we should put Natalie Gulbis, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie semi-nude in photos with golf equipment.
That's really not the answer, because the product that you want to prioritize is the quality of the golf being played. It's why you don't see players from the Champions Tour posing shirtless on the beach with a sand wedge. The LPGA and it's players need to be seen in a positive light, and that involves unifying as an organization and being available for the charitable events of corporate sponsors.
The next task is to secure the future by appealing to families and the youth of America. Fathers need to introduce their daughters to the sport of golf. When your little princess gets a few curves and the young boys start calling and texting, you'll appreciate being able to spend a few hours of quality time talking with your pre-teen during a round of golf.
If the LPGA wants players to be household names, market them to the public in commercials and on talk shows. Players on the LPGA rarely get negative press compared to athletes in other sports and therefore make excellent representatives. The players need more exposure in magazines outside of golf. Fight for a woman's golf column in Oprah's magazine, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Woman's World and W magazine. Ask manufacturers to stop insulting female golfers by painting all ladies golf equipment pink.
Get more involved in women's collegiate golf and help get the Duramed's Futures Tour events sponsored and televised. The men's developmental league called the Nationwide Tour has a respectable following. The public knows that the men on the Nationwide Tour are the stars of tomorrow and it's time for people to feel the same way about the Ladies on the Duramed's Tour.
Finally, it's okay to promote golfers that choose to be models. The LPGA must make sure that they are successful golfers first and attractive second because this is America. There's one thing to remember about the people of America: We Really Love Winners!