LPGA Tour makes mainstream sports media news for all the wrong reasons (Wie failures, English rule, Twitter)
Over at ESPN this afternoon, PTI found time in their rundown to debate the LPGA without mentioning which tournament was even being staged this week. Instead, it was regarding the Twitter fiasco that won’t go away.
Both Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser agreed Twitter was not good for in-round updates. But Kornheiser’s proposed solution to make TV coverage better was interesting; player interviews between shots and holes once in awhile, like the NHL does on the bench, and the NBA does at halftime (plus coaches interviews at the quarter breaks).
That’s a very constructive and possible solution to boost in-round interactivity.
A lot of players have spoken out in opposition of in-round tweeting. Wrote Paula Creamer: “I will not be twittering in my round. It should not happen in any sport. The players have already told the tour no way.”
The simple fact that Commissioner Carolyn Bivens forgot about is that these girls are athletes, the best at what they do even, and if they’re tweeting during the round, it will suggest they’re just your average, gossipy teenage mall rats who can’t stop texting for five minutes.
But the bigger problem for the LPGA is that whenever it gets debated by mainstream media, it’s rarely for anything positive. Bivens’ latest suggestion threatens the perceived competitiveness of the girls (already a hurdle for the tour), but here are a few examples of bad press in the last year that had way too much legs:
- Threat of suspension to [Korean] players who don’t speak English.
- Michelle Wie DQs, loss of Sony sponsor, men’s tour failures.
- Game’s best player, Annika Sorenstam, retires (early).
- Anna Rawson’s poor and offensive choice of language regarding the new faces on tour.
- The loss of tournaments and sponsors (like mainstay Corning).
Obviously, anyone who follows the tour knows there are plenty of great things going on and wonderful personalities to cover, but that’s not what’s getting airplay. Sponsors want the mainstream sports viewer, not just the diehards, and the mainstream viewer isn’t getting the message that the tour should actually be entering its prime for a lot of reasons.
I’m all for throwing out far-fetched ideas (not unlike my “women should pay less than men at the golf course” pitch), but when you’re the CEO of a tour that has thousands relying on the livelihood of your actions, you might want to use a little more discretion.
Over the weekend I wrote a column saying that the LPGA shouldn’t focus on Twitter, but ditch the Golf Channel for Versus, since they’re more starved for sports content. Both being Comcast-owned, you’d think there could be the possibility to break the current long-term contract.
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Realize that Wie failures are fun to talk about for most of us, especially when she follows a poor performance with a hair-brained interview: "well uhhh, when I shot an 83 today, I really learned a lot..ahhh...or something....an 83 is not that much different than a 67....ahhhh, I think.
So, many folks enjoy tuning in and hearing what her latest failure was, both on the PGA and LPGA.
- Threat of suspension to [Korean] players who don’t speak English. - Should be the rule foe all tounaments played in U.S.; male & female.
- Michelle Wie DQs, loss of Sony sponsor, men’s tour failures. - It's about time sponsors quit supporting a loser.
- Game’s best player, Annika Sorenstam, retires (early). - Truely sad news.
- Anna Rawson’s poor and offensive choice of language regarding the new faces on tour. - She's right!
- The loss of tournaments and sponsors (like mainstay Corning). - Why should American companies sponser tournys, just to export the winnings to a foreign winner? You'll probably see more of this, as more companies see thier profits exported to foreign companies.
The Teenage Golf Sensation says it again:
"I felt like I played great. I really don’t think the score reflected my game," she said, shortly after a bogey on No. 18 capped her final-round 70.
(from golf channel: http://www.thegolfchannel.com/tour-insider/ace-eagle-highlight-michelle-wies-week-29858/)
Our 'beloved' Teenage Golf Sensation missed the qualifier for the women's open!
Wonder what stunt bj will pull now.....