LPGA deserves credit for finally going Celeb pro-am again, but needs George Clooney
The LPGA of Carolyn Bivens has taken a lot of criticism - much of it well earned. But you have to give Bivens and her staff credit for being willing to try new things.
More international tournaments - which are good idea no matter what Dottie Pepper says, especially with the PGA Tour so rarely allowing even World Golf events to be held outside of U.S. soil these days - are a smart play. So is bringing back the old celeb pro-am event to the women’s game.
That’s what happening this weekend with the Stanford International Pro-Am in South Florida. For the first time in seven years, the best female golfers in the world get to play with egotistical bad celebrity golfers just like the PGA Tour guys do every year at the Bob Hope and Pebble Beach. The first year of the event is hardly coming off perfect. Five and a half to six-hour rounds quickly - no, make that slowly, very slowly - became the norm in today’s first round.
And somebody forgot to tell Jay Feely that kickers are not celebrities. (Sadly, Feely is one of the more recognizable “celebs” in the tournament too).
Still, the LPGA did get tennis contender and Paula Creamer friend James Blake, Carson Daly (who’s not nearly as much of a annoying doofus in person as he comes across on TV) and tennis Hall of Famer Ivan Lendl (who will be talking women’s golf with WorldGolf.com). They also managed to actually get a few women celebrity golfers, including hot model Ines Sastre, which is already one more woman golfer than most celebrity tournaments seem to find these days.
That adds up to an all right start for a good idea.
Now the LPGA leadership needs to up the ante though. It’s time to sign up George Clooney for next year.
These celeb pro-am tournaments are all about rising the profile of your Tour, of bringing in some eyeballs that wouldn’t ordinarily be watching women’s golf. Clooney, a devoted Hollywood golfer who never goes George Lopez and sacrifices his dignity to play the fool on the fairways, would be the perfect get. Because he never ever plays in these things and he’s managed to make everyone think he’s cool.
All it would likely take is a million dollar donation or two to Clooney’s drive to help save those in Darfur. OK, maybe a $5 million donation.
But hey, it’s the LPGA. And that would be real forward thinking. On a global scale.
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