The LPGA Championship is underway, and right off the bat (tee, sorry) we've got a traffic jam of well-known faces at or near the top of the leaderboard. Cristie Kerr, who has her eyes on a No. 1 ranking, leads at 4-under, alongside Stacy Lewis and Seon Hwa Lee. Within just a few strokes are Inbee Park, Juli Inkster, Paula Creamer and many others.
Rain delayed part of the round at Locust Hill Country Club in New York, and the narrow fairways at the 6,506-yard course rewarded accuracy and punished wayward shots. It's going to be a competitive weekend; there's no indication, based on the course and the weather, that anyone yet can run away with this. Other notables: After the first round, Ai Miyazato is out of the picture at 4-over, Christina Kim is 1-under, and Natalie Gulbis is sitting dead even.
Of course, since this is one of the few weeks in the year that the LPGA trumps the PGA for page space, there's plenty of pontificating on what the LPGA's place should be in the sports firmament. For an interesting take on why you ought to be watching the LPGA, check out what USA Today's Steve DiMeglio told Mostly Harmless' The Constructivist:
If you're a golfer and your handicap is anything higher than a 10, you can learn more from watching women -- the best women players in the world -- than you can from watching the men -- the best men players in the world. The swings out here aren't going 120 and that's what most people who can't break 100 should be doing, slowing their swings down. Plus they're the most successful athletes I've ever been around, they're the most forthcoming, they'll sign more autographs and pictures in one day than most players outside of Phil Mickelson will in a week.
Good point. The near-universal problem facing the LPGA is that there isn't a breakout star — that's a topic of this week's Devil Ball Golfcast, coming shortly — but the question is, does that star need to be an American? Some say yes, some say no.
Also, DiMeglio took on the Michelle Wie/overfocus question:
We get criticized. You know, "Why do you always write Michelle Wie? Why do you always cover her?" Well, whenever we put a story on Michelle Wie on the website, it gets 50 to 100 times more hits than any other story we put on an LPGA player.
Affirmed. (For the record, Wie is at even par after Round 1.) The LPGA is on all weekend; check 'em out.