LPGA Titleholders event needs to go a step further
From 1937 through 1966 the Titleholders was held in Augusta and brought together the best in women's golf. Now it has been rejuvenated—with a twist. In 2011 the top three finishers in each LPGA event qualified for the Titleholders, which caps the season. That's a cool way to assemble a field, but what truly sets the Titleholders apart is its purse distribution. Most events award the winner 15% of the purse, but the Titleholders' winner ( Hee Young Park) received one third. The $500,000 payout makes it the LPGA's second-largest winner's check, topped only by the U.S. Women's Open ($585,000).
The Titleholders is as much about the memories as the format. Patty Berg won the first edition and went on to win it six more times. Declared a major by the LPGA in 1950, the Titleholders grew in prestige exponentially, and the list of winners includes Louise Suggs, Babe Zaharias, Mickey Wright and Kathy Whitworth. I think commissioner Mike Whan is clever to try to harken back to the legends, especially Whitworth and Wright, who have a mystique that is along the lines of Bob Jones and Ben Hogan. Whan should go a step further, though.
In keeping with the event's traditions and recognizing the global nature of the game, every significant winner in women's golf should be invited—from the Japanese tour to the Asian and European tours. And since the event was originally made up of mostly amateurs, invite them, too. This event could celebrate the past and introduce us to the world of golf the way the World Golf Championships do on the men's tour.
Brandel Chamblee is a 15-year PGA Tour vet and a Golf Channel analyst.