For years, talk about a Women’s Masters at Augusta National has been a topic of lively debate. But what do the women who play on the tour think of the prospective idea? We polled current LPGA players on their thoughts of hosting a women’s version of the most revered tournament in golf.
Paula Creamer: Well, I came out last year and said that we should be able to play [at Augusta National]. Why not? Who wouldn’t want to have that — especially females? Why wouldn’t you want to be there and play for a green jacket?
Michelle Wie: I think it would be amazing if we could play Augusta. But at the same time, Mission Hills is kind of that same feeling for us. There’s so much history at that tournament, and there was a chance that we wouldn’t be able to play there. The fact that ANA came in and kind of saved the day, kind of allowed us to keep playing there. Just walking across the bridge, it’s very similar to Augusta where you can see the winners of all the past tournaments and it’s the same kind of feeling of tradition. Obviously, you can never compare the two — it’s like apples to oranges. To us, Mission Hills is very special.
Mo Martin: That’s a hard one for me to answer. I don’t think we should take the Masters and try to make that something for women. But having different special events that we do have…I mean we added Evian a couple of years ago as another major. I think what would be great is adding just a match play event — I think that would add a lot.
Anna Nordqvist: I think the LPGA has done a great job with the five majors we have. ANA and Evian are the two events that come back to the same courses every year. I do think with the British Open we’ve had an opportunity to play some great courses over the last few years and I know we’ve got a few good ones lined up. Even the U.S. Open, you want to challenge yourself on different courses. I feel like the traditions we have with ANA, that’s the one you can compare to the men’s Masters at Augusta. I think it’s really important for us to keep that event. It has such a unique history. I think if that’s the one tournament the LPGA will have forever, we’ll all be happy.
Lydia Ko: I think it would be awesome to have a Women’s Masters. I think that would be pretty cool. There’s so much talent out here so there’s no reason why not. The closest we have to the Masters is probably the ANA Inspiration.
Angela Stanford: I don’t think so. The Masters — and I’m saying this as a golfer, not a female or a male — the Masters is special in its own right. And I would hope that if the women had something like that, the men would respect that. I love watching the Masters, I love that tradition and history. And I think we do have that with the ANA. That’s stuff that happens over time and I don’t think you can force it. We’re two different products. It’s ok for the Masters to stay the Masters.
More from Stacy Lewis, Jessica Korda, Ryann O’Toole and more continued on the next page…
Ryann O’Toole: Of course. I don’t think I would turn down anything that could elevate women’s golf. I would honestly love to be able to play at Augusta — I’ve played before, just randomly, but I’d love to have a tournament there and be able to test our skills on that level. It doesn’t even have to be at Augusta, if can be somewhere else. But I’d love to have that history and the making of a stage that can be our Masters. Whether ANA can be that, I don’t know. Evian is our fifth major, which is great — if a sponsor wants to come up and provide that purse, for us it’s a stepping stone. We’re trying to elevate our purses, we’re trying to elevate our tour, and I think to take any opportunity would be great.
Gerina Piller: I think having a tournament like the Masters is kind of far-fetched, just because we’re two different tours. We are definitely on a trajectory that is awesome and we’ve had so many tournaments added to the schedule. I definitely think it’s possible, but [the Masters] is something that’s dear to the PGA Tour and I don’t want to take that away from them. It’s something that they hold dear to their hearts.
Brooke Henderson: I would love the opportunity to play Augusta National. My sister [Brittany] played a college event just down the road once, so we drove by it every single day. And then we got to Magnolia Lane and would have to turn around because of the security guard [laughs]. I think it would be amazing for the women’s game to have a chance to play there, but that’s really not up to me…we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Danielle Kang: I think we should definitely have a Women’s Masters. That’s not a question to me. It’s not a doubt that comes into my mind. Why shouldn’t we have a Women’s Masters?
Jessica Korda: In terms of tournaments one to one that we have, our ANA Inspiration…that’s our Masters. It has the history, you take the plunge into Poppy’s Pond at the end of your win…I mean, I think it would be awesome to play Augusta National. I walked the grounds last year, and it’s an incredible golf course. It’s really beautiful.
Stacy Lewis: You know, if the ANA continues to grow and keeps getting stronger, I mean, maybe we don’t even need a Women’s Masters. I think if we can get our own traditions and stay at a set number of majors, and create some history there, you don’t always need to kind of piggyback what the guys are doing. We can make our own thing there. I wouldn’t be pushing too hard for it right now.