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Daily Flogging: Kia drives LPGA event, Wie

Would a little optimism kill you? It had to be a good sign Wednesday that a car-maker is jumping into the golf sponsorship business. It's a better sign that it's not Toyota, because then there would've been requisite jokes about accelerating into golf, birdies being recalled, and possibly a fire hydrant reference.
The LPGA announced Wednesday that Kia Motors America will sponsor a new tournament next month at the storied La Costa Resort & Spa, the Kia Classic, and additionally that Michelle Wie will become, like, you know, the official spokeswoman for, oh my gosh, the company.
The deals, as the New York Times reported, underscore a turnaround for the beleaguered LPGA, which will have 26 tournaments this year, down from 34 in 2008. (In an unrelated matter, LPGA star Natalie Gulbis last week committed to play in every LPGA event in 2010, becoming a new Iron Maiden.)
Maybe it's a sign that the recession is starting to ease. Or maybe it's yet another sign that Korea's economy, like its depth of golfing talent, remains robust. It's definitely an indication that the LPGA appears to be on the rise. "From a business perspective, three-quarters of the way through last year, we had hit bottom," David Higdon, an LPGA spokesman, told the Times. "Now, it couldn't be more of a reverse."

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by Kevin Cunningham