Posted: June 9, 2015 12:08 am
If one wanted to make the case that the LPGA’s administration and management have always been a bit … let’s go with eccentric, the annual Women’s PGA Championship might be evidence. It has been considered a women’s major championship for over a half a century. For much of that period, it was considered second only to the U.S. Women’s Open in prestige.
On prestige in golf, Dan Jenkins once wrote, “There will never be a Pizza Hut Masters.”
But there have been Eve-, Mazda, McDonald’s, and Wegman’s LPGA Championships, presented by Coca-Cola and AIG. And this week, the debut of a new title sponsor and new name, reflecting a new partnership with the PGA of America, which will run the event.
There’s also a new, major-league venue, Westchester Country Club in the tony NYC suburbs. Westchester’s course is considered one of the game’s great walks, a classic, an old-style layout through lush parkland. The club’s colorful membership has included Howard Hughes, Johnny Carson, Jackie Gleason, Carol Burnett, fashionista Kenneth Cole, Nixon administration attorney general John Mitchell and – here’s an odd one – ex-NBA referee Richie Powers.
The club has hosted the Senior Player’s Championship and, for decades, the PGA Tour Westchester Classic, which evolved into the Barclay’s, now part of the tour’s annual FedEx Cup playoffs and is no longer played at Westchester.
This week, it will also host the KMPG Women’s Leadership Summit Advisory Council, including women business leaders and, from the sports world, golfers Annika Sorenstam and Stacy Lewis and broadcasters Dottie Pepper and Linda Cohn. Keynote speakers: Condoleezza Rice and Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good.
Inbee Park won it (called the Wegman’s LPGA Championship) a year ago, in a playoff with Brittany Lincicome, after they shot 277 11 under par, at Monroe Golf Club in Pittsford, New York. Expect the winning number to be considerable higher, at least in relation to par, this year.