So they played one round of golf in Rogers, Arkansas this week but it doesn’t count for anything. Stacy Lewis is being recognized by the tournament directors as the winner and received the winner’s trophy but the LPGA is not recognizing the event as an official one, so Stacy is NOT the first amateur to win an LPGA event since 1969.
TGC was saying yesterday that half of the purse would be distributed to the entire field (except for the amateur Lewis, of course) equally to off-set their expenses, but the post-round recap at lpga.com only says that “stats and earnings from this week’s event will not be counted as official” for the 2007 season. As far as the LPGA is concerned, this event never happened and next year’s NW Arkansas Championship will be the inaugural event.
After thinking about it overnight, I realized how difficult it would be to continue the event in two weeks. The biggest problem is the reliance on volunteers – most of the people that keep the event running are folks who take week-long vacations just to be there and most of them probably wouldn’t be able to do that again in just two weeks. There wouldn’t be nearly enough time to recruit replacements, either. Whereas in baseball, a rescheduled game requires employees of the teams and stadium to return to make the make-up game possible, you can’t require a volunteer to come back. Another option is closed off because there isn’t another LPGA off-week after the weekend of Sept 22-23. If there was one in late October, for instance, there might have been time for officials to prep for resuming at that time.
So why am I still pissed off about all this? They decided Saturday night that the course was still going to be unplayable on Monday. As you probably already know, there was no more rain in Rogers on Sunday so the course could have been made playable. It was “playable” enough for 32 players to finish their first rounds at 7:15 Sunday morning; why couldn’t the course have been worked on for a few hours and play resumed? I understand that the forecast wasn’t great but Tour officials owe it to the fans and tournament officials to do EVERYTHING possible to get the event in and determine an official champion. That especially includes waiting until Monday before canceling and invalidating the entire tournament. I believe that Solheim scheduling worries overwhelmed the LPGA officials and they sacrificed the Arkansas event to alleviate their own concerns. I am not angry about this for myself – there will be plenty of golf for me to watch starting Friday morning. For the fans in Rogers and the local tournament officials and volunteers who braved the elements all week, you deserved a lot better from the LPGA.