I have resisted being a "blogger." I thought it diminished my background and experience in women's golf from research, to writing books and speaking to the PGA and LPGA about women-friendly golf, to being an expert witness in a gender-discrimination case to playing competitive golf as a good recreational golf, to covering LPGA tournaments for media, and most of all -- my experience and love of teaching. As this new website was being written, I said to Zach, the designer: "I'm not a blogger! I think of myself as an op-ed writer for a famous newspaper." Zach calmly just said "Okay." And here we are. Let me know what you think. (click "Free Help Line" tab and leave a message.
MARCH 12, 2018 -- USGA NEW RULES OF GOLF OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED
TO GO INTO EFFECT JANUARY 1, 2019.
"The following are the main changes to the Rules of Golf taking effect January 1, 2019 that are expected to have the most impact on the game and to be of most interest to golfers. The items covered on this page are organized into eight categories, and within each individual item, you will find the main reasons for the change. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us any time.
Ball at Rest | Ball in Motion | Taking Relief | Areas of the Course
Equipment | Playing a Ball | When to Play During a Round | Player Behavior
The new rules are very well explained on the USGA site with both text and videos. I recently reminded my caddy that he could not touch the green with the flagstick to show me the line of my putt, BUT after next January 1, that will not be a penalty. That special drop technique (arm out straight at shoulder height) will also be gone and replaced with a new more relaxed "drop rule". And, several new rules about bunkers -- players will be able to remove loose objects (like a leaf) in a bunker.
In the interest of speeding up play, one of the most important new rules is this one: "It is recommended that you play “ready golf” and make each stroke in no more than 40 seconds." No more conversations about who is farther from the flagstick!
The new rules should "relax" the game and speed it up.
FINAL ROUND OF THE FOUNDERS CUP -- SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2018 --MEDIA CENTER INTERVIEWS
FROM THE LPGA FOUNDERS CUP -- SUNDAY FINALS - LPGA MEDIA CENTER. YOU ARE THERE: I read all the media transcripts. I select a few quotes to share with readers that might be missed in regular coverage. I look for feelings, emotions, and love of the game -- beyond the scores -- that inspire girls and women to learn and play golf -- along with the reasons to admire the professionals who play it so well in spite of the challenges of an increasingly global LPGA Tour.
Q. [to the winner Inbee Park just returning from two years off the Tour] What do you do during the long breaks? Do you do anything really fun or just relax?
INBEE PARK: Mostly relax. The most thing that I really enjoy is that I don't need to travel. Yeah, I really enjoy my time with my dog and family. I said to my mom and dad, I don't think I ever stayed in Korea summer to fall, you know, August to September when actually the season changes and you see the leaves falling and you see the changing colors of the mountain. I told my mom, I don't think I've ever seen that for maybe 20 years, but I'm finally seeing that. It's just that kind of things. Just ordinary things, but just something that I haven't been able to do. [In an earlier post on this Facebook page, watch and enjoy the complete video with Inbee Park, Founders Cup winner.]
Q. [to Dame Laura Davies -- 2nd place] What do you say to people that ask, How do you still do this in your 32nd year on the LPGA?
LAURA DAVIES: Well, I've never beat myself up on the range. I think that really -- I'm not being flippant about it-- I think I haven't beat balls like some of these girls did for hours on end. I mean, I'm waking with a limp this week so that kind of goes against my theory, but I think I've stayed strong. At 54 I still feel like I can hit the ball as well as most of the really good players out here.
I love that last sentence. My marketing message for years has been: "Be Happy, Be Healthy, Live Longer, Play Golf."
FROM THE FOUNDERS CUP -- SATURDAY MARCH 17 --ROUND 3 --MEDIA CENTER INTERVIEWS:
Excerpts from just two players in the LPGA Media Center Interviews because of their historical significance -- chance to share some history. This is a very long post on Facebook -- read it here also on http://nancyberkley.com/nancy-s-blog.html
Q. TO INBEE PARK: Phenomenal start to the round; 6-under through five holes. You shot a 29 on the front nine. Were you ever thinking about that magic number that would come into play in shooting a 59 today?
INBEE PARK: Yes, for a little bit I think after the front nine. I got off to really good start with a shot eagle on the front and everything seemed to be in. On the back nine it was a little bit different, a little bit more boring golf.
NANCY'S NOTES: What is that "magic number" all about? The magic number if 54 -- the score if a player "birdied" every hole. The closest anyone has come is Annika Sorenstam with a score of 59. Enjoy this utube video of Annika talking about that 59 round https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNGvp8JiJXE. The golf instructor team of Lynn Marriott & Pia Nilsson have written about "Vision 54" https://www.vision54.com/ and reference it in their new book "Be A Player".
Q. TO INBEE PARK: And your putting, obviously one of the best putters of all-time. You changed your putter. Can you tell us
INBEE PARK: Yes, I changed to a little bit more Anser style of putter this week, because I think I was getting too used to the mallet style putter doesn't really shows mistakes. I wanted to see which way I was missing, what my stroke was doing wrong. With Anser style you can tell much better. I wanted to see my misses and good putts and bad putts. That's why I kind of change it before going to ANA, so I can kind of see my mistakes and see which putts are the good putts.
NANCY'S NOTES: The reference to an "Anser" style putter goes back to Karsten Solheim and his "invention" of the Anser blade-type putter that made a "Ping" sound when hit. And that's the beginning of PING golf. I had the honor to write about the PING family and the role of Louise Solheim (who gave the putter its name). She was a "founder" and with Karsten originated the Solheim Cup. See https://www.womensgolf.com/louise-solheim/
Q. TO LAURIE DAVIES: Q. The think the folks in the media center were saying it's the lowest round you've had on the LPGA since '06. Where did that come from?
LAURA DAVIES: Well, my putting is improved no end, and my ball striking has always been pretty solid. My putting has been letting me down for the last four, five, six, years. I changed to the claw grip in Arkansas last year, so that was sort of July last year. And I've started to hole some putts.
NANCY'S FINAL NOTE: CHECK MY PUTTER AND PUTTING STROKE.
FROM THE FOUNDERS CUP - FRIDAY MARCH 16 -- MEDIA CENTER -- NOTES FROM THE PLAYERS:
After every round on the LPGA Tour (with few exceptions), the players come to the media center and answer questions from reporters. The text of the Q&A are distributed and even though I am not in Arizona, I can review the press releases. The media center at LPGA events is amazing!
I read the comments from Friday’s rounds and have selected just two players’ comments to share. One from Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and another from U.S. Brittany Lincicome. Golf is a very “personal” game. (Two more rounds to go! Remember there is life TV coverage in most areas -- tape the coverage.)
TO ARIYA JUTANUGARN
Q. How are you able to not focus on being in the lead and winning? How do you keep that out of your mind?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: It's very tough for me. It's hard. Before, every putt we just want to make it, but I know that when I'm thinking about make it I'm not going to make it. I have to thinking about like what my coach said.
Q. What are you thinking about? The stroke?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Just make sure I have to finish my stroke before I look at the hole or at my ball.
There is quite a difference between Arriya’s statements: “Do not look at the hole” and “Finish the stroke”.
Someone once told me that our brains don’t really understand “not” and negatives. “Thinking positive” is good advice for golf.
TO BRITTANY LINCICOME
Q. How much have you worked on your putting and how big a deal is it?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Zero. I mean, I just go and when I'm home I play a bunch, but I never go to the putting green. I haven't even seen the putting green this week other than my five, ten minutes before I go to the tee.
I played with Angela Stanford this week, and she was like, How do you do it? I hate you. You never have to practice. You're just like a natural. Just go out and play.
Just super lucky, because if I had to practice -- like I cannot wait to go take a nap right now. (Laughter.)
BREAKING NEWS: New tournament and sponsor for LPGA TOUR 2019. Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions -- Men, Women, Celebrities, Amateurs -- What more do you need? Fans!!!
Can you believe that the LPGA Tour has already announced a new tournament for next year? [information recently also posted on my Facebook page - click Facebook icon above to also check out the other postings):
To say that LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan thinks ahead is the understatement of the season! The Commissioner just announced the first -- and new format -- tournament to launch the 2019 season next January. The tournament will include the best of the best LPGA Tour players and celebrities and some amateurs.
It reminds me of a 2010 tournament sponsored by Golf Digest -- the Golf Digest US Open Challenge -- that had an online contest about who would be the amateur to play with a group of celebrities at famous Pebble Beach - playing from the 7,040-yard tournament tees. Peggy Ferrence, an amateur golfer from New Jersey, won the on-line vote and the only woman beating several other male golfers for the opportunity. That celebrity Pebble Beach tournament was an opening event for the USGA's 2010 US Open. Peggy's goal was to break 100 on the course, but the prevailing winds that day and the long grasses proved a formidable challenge for both Peggy and the celebrities.
Here's an article about that famous tournament where famous/popular golfers were caddies for the celebrity foursome.
Mike Whan, in my interview with him at the CME Globe, last November mentioned some "new" tournaments for 2019. I was hoping for a good, mixed LPGA Tour and PGA Tour "team" event. But will have to wait a little longer for that -- I know the Commissioner is thinking about it.
The 2010 Golf Digest event, in my opinion, met mixed reviews. It is a sponsor's opportunity to feature a new resort to a large TV audience, but it will be challenging to market to golfers. But -- then again -- marketing is the specialty of the Commissioner.
This tournament must be successfull so I will stay close to it in the planning stage. My advice: (although not requested) is that perhaps the Commissioner can include some of the PGA Tour players. In the Golf Digest 2010 tournament discussed above, Peggy Ference played from the same 7000 yard tees as the men in her foursome. My advice would be to have different players playing from different tees (that's the backbone of the US Handicap System and an opportunity to educate golfers about the Handicap System). PGA Tour events are usually at least 600 yards longer than LPGA Tour events; so, let's see how Mike Whan handles the dilemma of "women's tees) and "amateurs' shorter tees". And wouldn't it be interesting to have one of the top teens in the mix. (Lexi Thompson at 15 could have scored better than some Tour players.) I will stay tuned to how the new Diamond Resort Tournament of Champions develops. I'm putting the tournament on my schedule for next January -- just a few hours drive north for me.
Women's Forums now part of more LPGA Tour Events...starting with the Bank of Hope Founders Cup
At the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, March 15-18, in Phoenix, Arizona, the LPGA Tour holds its first (of the the 2018) season women's lunch and forum for about 100 women from the area. Forums and luncheons for women held in conjunction with a LPGA Tournament are a growing trend.
The Bank of Hope forum will feature a putting lesson from the great LPGA players, Nancy Lopez and Betsy King along with instructors from the famed "Vision 54" teaching program. As explained by Tracy Hupko, Sales and Marketing Manager LPGA Bank of Hope Founders Cup, "Each year our 'What’s Fore Lunch' events grow and bring new faces to the game of golf. The luncheons carve out a small piece of the day to give business woman a chance to network and learn about golf or improve their game, without cutting into their family time.” What I also liked about the Bank of Hope forum is that LPGA Girls Golf participants are invited to the forum to witness for themselves how golf and leadership work together.
About one-third of the 2018 LPGA Tour events are reaching out to the local women golfers with special programming. I will be writing more about those forums as a new and positive trend building both women golfers and fans.
It's a new world for business women (still not perfect), but like to share my story. When I was a lawyer with a New York City big, law firm, they announced their annual golf outing and dinner -- for all employees. I signed up for the golf tournament, of course! A partner called me aside to tell me that I was the only woman playing golf. He was perplexed because there was a long drive contest, and he recognized that one woman against all those men in a long drive contest didn't sound quite fair. So he asked for my suggestion. It was an easy answer! I said, "I guess I will probably win the longest women's drive contest." And, I did! And I received a lovely sweater at the prize ceremony. In a small way, all women golfers have an opportunity to level the playing field -- the fairway -- to make the game of golf more welcoming for all women and girls.
European Tours organize 2018 mixed men/women events and lead the way. It's a busy summer! (posted March 9, 2018)
MARK SUMMER GOLF CALENDAR: The European golf associations -- the Ladies European Tour (the LET) and the men's European Tour are playing TWO mixed women/men tournaments in 2018. Some women golfers are members of the the LET and the LPGA Tours. (hmmm?.. the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour just can't get their schedules in sync according to conversations I have had with LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan, who has "hinted" that thinking about a co-ed format.).
The first men/swomen European event in May -- GolfSixes -- is a short event and will be played over two days May 5 and 6 at the Centurion Club in England (north of London). See http://www.bbc.com/sport/golf/43205185
The second mixed event -- described as "revolutionary" -- August 8-12 is in Gleneagles, Scotland and will feature a 50/50 gender split in the field with male and female professionals competing for equal prize money in both a Men’s and Women’s Team match play Championship as well as an 18-hole foursomes stroke play Mixed Team Championship. Click the box below for more about this new event.
the LPGA Tour's "Major" Ricoh Women's British Open is August 2-5 in Lancashire, England. A few days later, the European Mixed Golf Team Championship August 8-12 (describe above) follows And then.... the LPGA Tour plays August 16-19 back in the US in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Indy Women in Tech Championship sponsored by Guggenheim -- at the Indianapolis raceway. Wow -- a busy August!
And almost forgot.... the MENS RYDER CUP -- TEAM USA vs TEAM EUROPE will be played September 25-30 at Le Golf National in Paris France. And then October 4-7, the LPGA Tour gathers in Incheon, Korea for the UL International Crown. Two great team country-vs-country events this summer.
Lorena Ochoa, LPGA Tour player and member of Golf Hall of Fame added to Barbie collection of "Shero" dolls created to inspire the next generation of girls.... and my background with Barbie. Announcement in honor of -- International Women's Day, March 8, 2018. (posted March 8, 2018)
I bring some history to Mattel and girls golf. In 2008, I was a consultant to Mattel involving the launch of "Barbie" branded girls-golf clubs. As a test, they were introduced at the PGA Merchandise Show in 2008 where I met with the Mattel executives on this project.
The company determined, however, that Barbie golf clubs were not an appropriate extention of Mattel's brand. I became intrigued with the line of "famous" Barbies and suggested that Nancy Lopez should be included in their famous-women-doll-collection. That never happened. (see photo below)
Interestingly, back in 1992, Mattel introduced "Golf Date Barbie" which I could not resist buying for its history.(see the photo below).
So here we are -- twenty-six years later -- and Mattel has returned to women's golf. Their selection of Lorena Ochoa as one of the "Sheros" collection (that's Mattel translation of "she-heroes") is a perfect choice. And isn't it interesting and important that women have moved beyond just being a "date" to being an "inspiration" to girls about what they can achieve?
I considered Mattel's recognition of Lorena Ochoa important and symbolic of changing attitudes that I have added it to the HISTORY TIMELINE -- see tab on left) Enjoy this photo history.
Left (1992 Mattel introduces "Golf Date" Barbie),
Middle (2008 Mattel tests Barbie branded golf clubs -- but rejects concept)
Right (2018) Lorena Ocheo, LPGA Tour & World Golf Hall of Fame member) becomes one of Mattel's inspirational Sheros collection added on March 3, 2018 -- International Women's Day. Adding my personal "Thank You" to Mattel and reminding all readers that the fastest growing segment of golfers in the US today are girls. I hope that when girls receive the Lorena Ocheo new Barbie it includes information about the history of golf and the role that Lorena played in demonstrating the global appeal of woomen's golf along with a reminder that all over the world there are opportunities for girls to learn the game at very young ages. For more about girls golf see https://www.girlsgolf.org/
LPGA release: "Korea to be Site of the First LPGA International Property Outside the U.S. -- Going Global" (posted March 6, 2018)
In every interview I have had with the Commissioner he has never wavered from his vision of a global LPGA. See one of several interviews with the Commissioner at https://www.womensgolf.com/mike-whan-nancy-berkley/
But this most recent announcement in my opinion is the most important. See http://www.lpga.com/news/2018-korea-to-be-site-of-first-lpga-international-property-outside-us
Some background: When Mike Whan officially became LPGA Commissioner in January 2010 -- just eight years ago, he inherited the LPGA's fragmented marketing strategy. As an example: In spite of the number of non-U.S. players on the Tour, the previous LPGA Commissioner wanted all players to learn and speak in English. Along comes Mike Whan with a strong marketing background that included working for Proctor & Gamble, one of the largest international corporations in the world. The Commissioner wasted little time in re-branding the "international" quality of the LPGA Tour and schedule more LPGA Tour events outside of the United States. The new strategy had its critics, but Whan pursued his marketing vision. In this current 2018 LPGA Tournament season, almost half of all tournaments are played outside the United States.
What always impresses me in my conversations with "the Commish" is the clarity and consistency of his strategy. Here's a Q&A from the interview referenced above a few years after he became Commissioner:
Q Nancy: Let’s clarify that answer: In your opinion the LPGA brand is NOT about growing the number of female recreational golfers – the six-plus million golfers in the U.S. (20% of all golfers in the U.S.) or recreational golfers around the world. Is that what you are saying?
A.MikeWhan: Yes. Honestly, I don’t spend a lot of my time trying to figure out how to get more recreational golfers – other than giving women golfers a showcase for watching the best women golfers in the world. I know that in most other sports, it’s all about fans. But the LPGA is different. We focus on our sponsors. Our LPGA golfers connect with our sponsors like no other sports figures.
Back to the Press Release at the beginning of this blog topic: The LPGA is establishing a second International headquarters half way around the world from Daytona Beach, Florida -- along the southern coast of Korea in the city of Busan. Why?
The final paragraph in the LPGA Press Release (cited above) from Mike Whan answers the question:
"I really felt the beauty and vibrancy of the city when I visited Busan for the first time last year, and the launch of LPGA International Busan will make it an even more special place to visit," said LPGA Commissioner Whan. "This is a special occasion for the LPGA with the first LPGA International brand besides our headquarters, and it will play a significant role in our global business in the future."
I expect some comments and reactions from the golf industry writers and observers and from other women's world golf tours -- such as the LET (Ladies European Tour) and world tours in Australia and Japan. How does a stronger global LPGA affect them?
Always my final message: "Be Happy, Be Healthy, Live Longer, Play Golf" -- Nancy Berkley