Is Carolyn Bivens implementing Ty Votaw's five-year plan for the LPGA?
Earlier in the season, Ty Votaw insisted on creating a five-year plan for the LPGA. All professional female golfers were required to attend a meeting in order for Votaw to discuss his “five points of celebrity” to create maximum revenues for a floundering tour.
Those key points were, “performance, appearance, passion, relevance and approachability".
At that time, Playboy.com held a “sexiest woman on the LPGA” poll asking it’s readers which professional female golfer would they want to see grace the pages of their popular skin magazine.
Carin Koch won the title but gracefully declined the offer. Ty Votaw sent pictures of several “clad” ladies to Playboy for its “Babes of the LPGA” spread addressing one of his key points. “I thought it was a validation of something I’ve thought all along, and that is: we have a number of very attractive athletes who play on the LPGA Tour".
While watching the John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic, I remarked at the transformation of Cristie Kerr from duckling to swan, remembering this article which touched upon the very re-creation of Kerr. Not only has Cristie Kerr improved her looks, I think it also improved her golf game. Her confidence has risen and she has even hinted that she would be interested in posing for Playboy, “with a towel covering all the right places.”
The ladies appear to be implementing the “appearance” initiative of Votaw’s plan, and even seem content to do it.
Laura Diaz remarked that “sex sells” and Natalie Gulbis is working out a bit more so “maybe they’ll put me on it (Playboy site) next year.” Natalie has no problem shedding clothes for the camera as her swimsuit calendar proves.
The older group of ladies with Kathy Whitworth leading the charge differ in opinion. “It didn’t work then, it won’t work now. If this is the only way we can make this organization grow, I think it will die, just shrivel up. The sponsors aren’t going to pay a million dollars a week for someone to come in a scantily clad outfit.”
As the older set retires, the younger golfers will certainly pick up the slack, perhaps not playing golf in the buff, but certainly baring a few more bellybuttons here and there.
But what has happened to charisma, to that magnetism that doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with clothing removal? Why does the LPGA need “sex” to sell its golfers?
Another question might easily be, “If a tournament featuring Annika Sorenstam and the top five LPGA golfers was being played out on CBS and Tiger Woods/Phil Mickelson were dueling it out on NBC, which event would you watch?”
I have mentioned before that I find the LPGA boring to watch, possibly the most yawn for the buck in relation to the other tours.
The Champions Tour has former golfers from the PGA Tour playing in its ranks, so they are more recognizable to the average viewer. I am a fan of both Tom Watson and the Walrus. The Nationwide golfers bomb their drives in excess of 300 yards and there is the possibility that some of them will enter the PGA tour and the men’s tour speaks for itself, although when Tiger Woods is not in the field the ratings are considerably lower.
Carolyn Bivens is in charge of the marketing strategies for the LPGA. Has she been following Votaw’s five-year plan?
Some would say that she is not living up to Votaw’s commitment but I believe that she is doing what she can to improve the image of a tour which receives only about “eight percent of media sports coverage and only recently have surpassed horse racing, dog racing and fly-fishing,” according to the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Appearance, passion and performance seem to be covered by the individual players. What about approachability? Are the players taking the initiative to reach out to the fans? For the most part the girls sign autographs more readily than their PGA tour counterparts. Bivens can only work on the relevance factor. The campaign “These Girls Rock” has failed to capture a new audience. The reconstruction of the LPGA tour has failed to initiate more fan interest.
As for the title of this blog, I have not yet seen a marketing strategy that has worked to create a buzz for the LPGA tour.
Sure the ladies are working on their own images but the entire ideology behind the LPGA must be restructured from the ground up. Young thinkers must be thrown in among the older group of retirees who still dictate where the tour is heading.
Commercials which show the ladies driving the golf ball and landing difficult putts while maintaining their feminine side may also capture the fans as opposed to comparisons to aging rock stars. Place these advertisements into magazines that are not golf related to pick up the “beginner golfer” who might be mildly interested in golf but not enough to visit a golf website or to buy a golf magazine.
Lastly, make sure the message gets out to the younger generation. After-school programs with donations of time by LPGA and Futures tour golfers will give young girls hope (and vision) who might never have even seen a professional female athlete before.
Bring the LPGA to the masses! If that doesn’t work, there’s always Playboy!
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Bivens should not only be nice to sponsors but to anyone who even wishes to cover LPGA events and give it good press. But, as I stated in another article, sometimes even bad press is better than none at all.
"Specific problems the LPGA has are Michelle Wie playing against men highlighting the huge difference in skill level between men and women, Sorenstam making no effort to try and look halfway attractive, and the Asian problem."
What Asian problem are you talking about? Just because they are kicking butts and you can't handle it...you're calling it a problem.....Get a clue....Asians will rule the world....hahahahahahahahahah
1. Always courteous and polite.
2. Don't talk much about nonsense...stay in their games.
3. Try to get a game going amongst the people in their group. Cheering on good shots and grumbling at bad ones.
4. They know basic etiquette. They follow the rules (for the most part). Shake hands before and after a match.
I wish more people out on the course followed the above basics.
What is next? perhaps LPGA also have Mexican problem and Gay, Old, Fat & Ugly problem.
I get it, I think women golf shoule be judged like figure skating where attractiveness and artistic merit can win you the top price.
You know what really gets my goat? Most of the foreign players go to school here and play on our college teams but when it's time for a tournament, they play for their homeland.
We give out the golf education and their country reaps the rewards.
But when they are taking high-paying jobs, we bitch about them.
BTW, isn't Wie an American? She is the highest profile golfer after Tiger Woods.
"Earlier in the season, Ty Votaw insisted on creating a five-year plan for the LPGA."
Uh, that was like FOUR YEARS AGO. Ty Votaw left the PGA last year, you twits. Bivens became the commissioner more than a year ago.
You obviously don't know anything about women's golf, so why do you keep writing about it?
If you read my title, you would have understood the question. Let me repeat it for you since you obviously are having problems with your comprehension.
I was asking if Carolyn Bivens is implementing the initiatives set up by Votaw. Do you have an answer for it?
BTW, we appreciate your witless comment and hope to hear better from you in the future.
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