HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. - Is Carolyn Bivens under a tuberculosis quarantine and nobody's told us?
It's a fair question given the LPGA commissioner's lower than low profile at the LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock Golf Course. Bivens is more underground than a grunge band. She's harder to find in Maryland than a decent baseball team.
Which is sort of surprising, given that Bivens is the commish and one of her Tour's biggest events of the season is going on. The first golf shots are in the air, round one's underway, yet so far Bivens has been playing media dodge ball.
As with all things in women's golf right now, this can be chalked up to Michelle Wie. Exactly one week to the day after Wie withdrew from the Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika at 14 over par with two holes to go, the controversy continues to build.
"Oh, it's not dying down," Paula Creamer said. "It's a situation that needs to get taken care of. It needs to be addressed in some official matter."
Creamer added: "But until that happens all you can do is go out and play your own game."
LPGA officials are more than aware that many players are outraged. Think it's coincidence that Wie is in the very last group of the day, playing with South Koreans Song-Hee-Kim and Na Ri Kim, who are guaranteed to give her no grief?
Imagine if Wie had been paired with Creamer, Morgan Pressel or Annika Sorenstam for the first two rounds. She surely would have been able to relate to her complaining Monday pro-am partners.
It's impossible for the LPGA Tour to hide Wie, of course. She'll have the biggest gallery of the day this afternoon, and no matter how low anyone else shoots it will not knock her out of the story leads and SportsCenter clips.
Bivens' dilemma is all this national publicity (think the LPGA Championship was going to be a regular topic on PTI before Sorenstam went off on Wie?) comes with questions about the Tour's role in 88 Gate - questions that Bivens clearly does not want to answer.
Only the chorus for some seems to be growing louder in the clubhouse.
"If that's the case, that's wrong," Creamer said of numerous stories detailing how LPGA chief operations officer Chris Higgs talked to Wie's manager Greg Nared right before she withdrew, right after Higgs talked about the Rule of 88 in the press room. "During a round, officials should only be involved in a ruling. That needs to be explained to us. I think a lot of the players would like to hear something from the Tour on that."
Higgs will not be doing the explaining. He's been deemed "unavailable" for the week by LPGA officials.
So a major goes on, while everyone continues to look back to what's turned into the most famous first round in LPGA history.
"It's been a little bit of a circus, I guess you could say that for sure," Pressel said, smiling.
Pressel, Creamer and fellow rising young star Brittany Lincicome teed off in back-to-back-to-back groups this morning, giving industrious golf fans the chance to see members of the LPGA's future who actually have pro tournament wins.
Creamer continues to draw plenty of fans with her unmistakable pink ribbons, pink panther head covers, pink Adidas badge cord (if you can't pick Creamer out of a lineup of LPGA players, you're colorblind). She patiently posed for photo after photo for a good 25 minutes walking off the practice putting green Wednesday.
Still, she admitted, this was one of only a few interviews she'd been asked to do. The vortex of 88 Gate leaves little room for side stories.
Only Pressel bristled at the notion she'd been overshadowed by Wie again - despite being the youngest major winner in LPGA history herself.
"I was on the [sports] cover of the New York Times today," Pressel said. "I was in the Boston Globe the other day."
Pressel smiled. In the next room, the tournament's huge press center televisions showed an ESPN commentator talking about Wie.
June 7, 2007
Chris Baldwin keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.
Anyone looking back at the final scores of the 2009 Ricoh Women's British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Anne's will almost certainly come to the wrong conclusion that this was a comfortable three-shot win for Catriona Matthew. It was anything but as the seemingly imperturbable Scot struggled to hit a fairway throughout the final round and was only rescued by some superb recovery shots and a bunch of astonishing long putts.
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