Welcome to Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Jay Busbee and head writer Shane Bacon take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. Suggest a future topic by writing firstname.lastname@example.org, or hit us on Twitter at @jaybusbee and @shanebacon. Today, we discuss the LPGA and relative domination. Sharpen those knives, LPGA fans.
Busbee: This weekend, we saw one of the singular performances in recent golf history, as Yani Tseng absolutely throttled the field by 10 strokes at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Here's the question that must be asked: is this a function of Tseng's domination, or of the relative weakness of the field? What say you, sir?
Bacon: It's interesting how frequently it seems we have one of these LPGA stars dominate. Just during the Tiger era, we've had Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Ai Miyazato and now, Tseng. But I don't think it has anything to do with a weak field. For my money, I'd rather go watch the LPGA more now than ever, with the billboard-type (Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer), the beauties (Natalie Gulbis, Belen Mozo) and the stars (Tseng, Miyazato, and Cristie Kerr). I just think that right now, Tseng is outplaying everyone, and that was shown on a pedestal last weekend. But it does bring up this question; do you think it's easier to dominate on the LPGA Tour than it is on the PGA Tour?
Busbee: There's always room at the top, but there aren't always as many levels to plow through to get there. This will no doubt get us plenty of hate mail from LPGA and women's golf devotees, but the amount of competition, not the relative level, just appears to be much less on the women's side than the men's side. Yes, yes, you have to play the course just like everyone else. But based on results, it appears much less likely that you'll have the female equivalent of a Johnson Wagner or a Keegan Bradley jump up and win a tournament. Or am I just being a typical chauvinist?
Bacon: Well, I think I see both sides of this. While I'd agree with you that it isn't as likely for a Bradley/Wagner type to come out and win, we do see random (And super, super young) players make it to the events, and compete at times unlike something we see with the men. I also think that at times, one player just blows away the field, and it's nearly impossible to topple them. While it is obviously more rare on the men's side (Tseng has won 27.3 percent of the LPGA tournaments played in 2011), it can happen, you just have to have the perfect storm of talent and confidence (like Mr. Woods).
With that said, I think there are six-eight players in the LPGA right now that have the type of game and commitment that could send them on a Tseng-like run if the right putts dropped, and the Americans are starting to play way better golf on the LPGA, and it's time people take notice to that.
Busbee: Agreed ... which sends us into a whole different topic of conversation. I can understand why the WNBA doesn't get anywhere close to the ratings of the NBA (layup fever: catch it!), but why doesn't the LPGA get better ratings? These ladies are driving the ball longer, chipping it better and putting it truer than anybody reading this, but they get no love ... even in 2011, some of their tournaments aren't even viewable live. You've got more experience in this arena than me; whatcha think?
Bacon: Honestly, I think it's a little about exposure. Quick, answer me this; what channel was the tournament on this past weekend? You probably don't know, because I sure don't. And there are only a handful of LPGA events in the United States these days, so to watch the LPGA live, you only get them 10 or 11 times a season. I think if it was more available, especially during the dog days of summer sports, people would tune in, but it's just tough when you have no idea where it's being played and no idea which weekend they're on or off.
Busbee: Man, I sure wish the media would give them more exposure. Stupid media. Who do we talk to about that?
Bacon: Darnit, and I figured we could get through this whole thing without making ourselves look bad!
Busbee: You new around these parts?
All right, your turn. Is it easier to dominate in the LPGA than the PGA? And what can the ladies do to help their cause? Have your say below, friends.