And while the Ryo boom didn't exactly take over the tour, it did show that golf is continuing to grow in other parts of the world and that can only help the game. So it's really insane to think that the Solheim Cup, which kicks off next week, won't have any player from the LPGA's most talented continent.
Asia currently has five of the top seven ranked players in women's golf, and while it wouldn't make sense to change the Solheim Cup's format, it does seems completely logical to do what men's golf has done and add another team event, a President's Cup-like competition, to the LPGA and allow the Americans to go head-to-head with the rest of the world. (Note: the LPGA had the short-lived Lexus Cup, but it went under when Annika Sorenstam retired from golf.)
Not only would this include the likes of Yani Tseng, who brought this idea up with Golf Channel's Randall Mell, but it would include players like Karrie Webb and others from other parts of the world that aren't included in next week's competition.
Face it, not having the Asian players in a team event for the LPGA would be like dismissing Great Britain from any team events on the PGA Tour. This is where the talent is hailing from, and the likes of Ai Miyazato and Jiyai Shin need a competition where they can represent their country.
Also, wouldn't this be easy to market? Have the first competition in Japan, make it "The World versus North America (which would include players like Lorena Ochoa if she ever felt like playing again)", and boom, easy money for women's golf.
LPGA, make this happen. Your sport is becoming too global not to include others in this exciting opportunity every other year.
- Ryo Ishikawa
- PGA Tour