January 10, 2011
It might not be the biggest sport in the world, or even in this country, but the LPGA is quickly becoming the most selfless.
Commissioner Mike Whan announced on Thursday that the opening tournament of the American-based schedule will donate all of the earnings, for every single player in the event, to charity.
I'll step back for a second while you catch your breath.
Yep, the LPGA is making its mark on charity, and with every move comes more and more admiration for Whan and the women that make up the LPGA. You might remember back to November, when In-Kyung Kim donated her entire winnings from the Lorena Ochoa Invitational to charity. While that was obviously an incredible gesture, and one that Kim made on her own, this move by Whan might be even more remarkable.
What's the deal with it? On March 18, the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup will kick off a 54-hole event that will have 132 of, as Whan says in his YouTube announcement, "the best women in the world" teeing it up for a full-fledged event. The tournament will have everything a regular LPGA event has, even with the "money" you earn counting towards your earnings for the season, but no checks will be cut. All the money will be donated to the LPGA Foundation, which helps pave the way for young ladies looking to take this game up.
What are some of the players saying?
Brittany Lincicome is in. She told Devil Ball, "I'm excited for it. The points still count and that's all I worry about anyway, not the money. If the commissioner wants us to do it, I'm 100 percent behind it."
So is Irene Cho. She loves the idea, saying, "It's a good idea because it shows the LPGA's spirit giving back to the community to help people less fortunate than ourselves."
"I think it's a great event to honor and appreciate founding members of the LPGA and a great way to show them respect in raising money for an organization that assists other girls and women with dreams," Alison Walshe said.
"I think that it's a great thing for us to be doing. We are so lucky to be doing what we're doing, so for us to be able to give back there's nothing better," Nicole Hage said.
And the always entertaining Christina Kim makes a very valid point about the tournament; they didn't play for money when they started the game, and this gives everyone a little perspective.
"We have to remember where we were before the tour," Kim said. "We played for nothing as a junior, as an amateur and as college players. Also, the founding members [of the LPGA] essentially played for the joy of the game. I love reminding people where we come from."
While Juli Inkster told The Golf Channel's Randell Mell that she is a little skeptical of the decision, it seems that most of the players are behind this idea, and in this day and age, that's a really, really incredible thing.