BRING THE U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN TO AUGUSTA NATIONAL?
Bamberger: While the Zurich was being played on CBS, the LPGA event in Mobile was being played on Golf Channel, and it was a great event: Stacy Lewis closed with a 69 to beat Lexi Thompson by a shot. I'm not going to ask you which you were watching. I will ask you this. The LPGA is looking to get something going, Lexi and Stacy are part of the solution. But what about this: a women's event, like the U.S. Open, at truly iconic courses. I'm stealing this from a friend and want to know what you think. How about a rotation for the U.S. Open that includes Cypress Point, Torrey Pines and THE AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB? Can you feel it folks? Can we get something started here?
Herre: A Women's Open at Cypress would be brilliant. The ladies will be playing the Open at Pinehurst in a couple of years.
Gorant: Definitely. They've started doing some of that -- the Old Course, Torrey Pines, Pinehurst No. 2 coming up -- and it lifts the whole enterprise. They should boycott Augusta though.
Shipnuck: The world is full of wonderful 6,500-yard courses that are way too short for the men but perfect for the best women. It starts with Cypress, but how about National, Somerset Hills...
Van Sickle: Crystal Downs. Colonial. Whistling Straits.
Godich: Colonial is a shotmaker's course with a rich history. It is too short for the men, but would be perfect for the gals.
Morfit: Crystal Downs. Like it. Looks good on TV -- even crazier than Whistling Straits.
Van Sickle: Only problem with Crystal Downs is that there are no medium or large-sized cities in sight. Where are the fans going to come from? The answer -- they aren't.
Gorant: Probably Riviera, too.
Van Sickle: These all sound great, but when you get down to it, the only site that's really going to get people to watch a Women's Open who otherwise wouldn't is Augusta National. Women's golf is a niche in the game of golf, which is a niche sport. They're a niche of a niche. I'd love to see some sponsor drop big bucks on the tour to promote the game, the way Nabisco once did and Mazda once did. But it's just like women's college basketball -- you can't make fans go to the games unless they want to. Pat Summitt made fans want to go with her team at Tennessee.
Wei: Augusta National? That's the funniest thing I've heard in a while.
Herre: I can't get past the incongruity of having a Women's Open at ANGC. It would be wrong on multiple levels.
Godich: I guess you'd feel the same way about Pine Valley?
Morfit: I am very curious to see how the Women's Open at Pinehurst works out, the week after the men have theirs at Pinehurst. That's almost how tennis does majors, obviously. Maybe there's something to it.
Hack: Can you imagine Wimbledon without Martina and Chris and the Williams sisters? I can't. Would love to see Yani and Lexi duke it out at Amen Corner.
Bamberger: Now that's what I'm talking about, Damon. I'm saying right here and right now, the U.S. Women's Open should go to Augusta National once every four years, and the other three should be other iconic clubs. Had there been golf in the Olympics in '96, there would have been a women's competition at Augusta. Why not a U.S. Open in late May or early June? Weigh in, please!
Godich: It would be smart of the Lords of Augusta, deflecting some of the talk about the membership issues.
Van Sickle: I asked Ty Votaw a similar question years ago when he was LPGA commish and he said, yeah, he agreed, if only it was that easy. They've started doing it with the Women's British. I'd love to see Pebble, Cypress Point and Merion, for starters. Throw in Shinnecock Hills. Oakmont proved way too difficult for the ladies, so they moved the tees way, way up and ruined the mystique. How about Firestone and the Stadium Course? Don't think Augusta National will go along -- it'd just be another opportunity for the media to discuss the membership policies -- unless it resolves that issue to the public's satisfaction.
Shipnuck: There's a handshake deal to bring the Women's Open to Pebble. It's long past the time to get that on the schedule.
Van Sickle: Why wait for Pebble? Sign it up for Spyglass Hill to get the ball rolling. Same ritzy neighborhood.
Hack: Know how Billy Payne would become the Branch Rickey of golf? Hold an LPGA major at Augusta and make the winner the club's first female member. You talk about ratings.
Wei: I'm sure Billy Payne is very concerned about the LPGA's ratings!
Bamberger: He is, or should be. His goal is to grow the game.
Van Sickle: As long as we're talking about things of equal likelihood, What if the Moon catches on fire, falls from the sky and lands on Trump Tower?
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: What would you think of a U.S. Women's Open rotation that included iconic courses like Augusta National? Is Augusta a good choice? What courses would you select?