From the Rough

Golf without discretion

State of Colorado still wants a piece of the golf pie – and the LPGA could be interested

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81-year-old Castle Pines Golf Club founder, Jack Vickers, looks like a genius these days. When it was first reported that he was going to pull The International from the tour schedule, there were many out there who thought he was crazy for pulling the plug on Colorado’s biggest golf event.

Why would one of the best events on the schedule suddenly decide to up and leave the golf scene? It seemed like a logical question at the time. That was until the bottom fell out of the economy, and tournaments like The International were able to save face before they lost millions.

“The community is really going to miss this thing,” Vickers said back in 2007. More than two years late, Vickers is right. The state of Colorado really does miss a regular tour stop.

That’s not to say Colorado isn’t enjoying other golf-related events. The 2010 PGA Senior Championship — which was played this past weekend — 2011 U.S. Women’s Open, 2012 U.S. Men’s Amateur, and 2013 Solheim Cup are all on the state’s golf slate in the coming year, so Colorado shouldn’t be considered a golf-less area. But it sure does make you wonder why someone hasn’t come knocking on the state’s door, offering them a chance to join the tour circus once again.

“There’s a sense of greediness in the air,” Vickers said quietly during an interview two years ago. Sure enough, Vickers played the role of the prognosticator and got the tournament off the schedule before the economy went the opposite direction.

But with the state gaining more recognition for their picturesque courses, Colorado is back again, arms open, looking for a tour to take them in.

From the looks of things, it wouldn’t seem likely that a PGA event would be coming back anytime soon. While the state has its fair share of courses that could host an event, many believe the International debacle left the state in tough position with Tim Finchem. In other words: Vickers may have burned a bridge.

But out of every storm comes a silverlining, and that could come in the form of an LPGA event. The Denver Post reported recently that there have been discussions about adding a tour stop in Denver that could bolster an already dwindling schedule.

But if there’s one things standing in the way it’s the fact that former LPGA commissioner, Carolyn Bivens, was the one backing a possible Denver stop:

Former LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens was bullish on Denver becoming a regular tour stop, as has been Hollis Stacy, a Denver-area resident. Economic turmoil in the women’s game led to a player mutiny that cost Bivens her job this month. It’s also made it tough to get commitments for future tournaments, said Stacy, a three-time Women’s Open champion.

“I’m working real hard at it, and I think we will,” said Stacy, who’s working in conjunction with Laura and other local entities in the movement.

“I’m optimistic. There’s money that’s coming into the state. What we’re trying to do is show local companies that the LPGA can be a fantastic way to showcase their products and businesses.” (Denver Post)

It’ll be interesting to see if new commissioner Marty Evans entertains the idea of adding Denver to the tour schedule. The state has the funding and the sponsors to bring golf back to the state on a consistent basis – it’s just a matter of selling the LPGA on everything Colorado has to offer.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

08/02/2009 at 1:10 pm

Posted in Colorado, LPGA

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