Imagine the possibilities if these things could happen for women’s golf. And, yes, we do mean IMAGINE.
1. Women and men pros join forces in a co-ed Ryder-Solheim Cup
Frankly we thought the Olympics blew it here by not having team golf that unified the women’s and men’s contingents. Could the women have carried South Korea? Would Great Britain have paired Charley Hull and Justin Rose? How would the twin towers Michelle Wie and Dustin Johnson fare?
Alas, the perception is that the men have little to gain by forging such an alliance; it would help women’s golf, not men’s golf. Any co-ed golf conversations initiated by the LPGA with the PGA have hit hazards.
2. The USGA creates a U.S. Open Mixed Four-Ball Championship
The USGA introduced its men’s and women’s four-balls as amateur championships in 2015. “Open” would make eligible the pros, and “mixed” would require male-female partnerships. Again, the TV networks surely could sell this format with mixed pairs competing seriously for big bucks.
3. A sinkhole sucks away Trump National
Look, let’s put politics aside but simply consider the President’s documented attitudes about women. Neither the USGA nor LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan would suggest a post-election move away from this Bedminster, N.J. course holding the Women’s Open July 13-16, so let Mother Earth move it for the sake of women’s golf.
Barring that, let’s at least keep the Commander-in-Chief out of the locker room.
4. The USGA turns off its phones and email during that U.S. Women’s Open, and all of this year’s championships
It’s one way to guarantee that we won’t have a repeat of the rules debacle that brought down Lexi Thompson at the year’s first major. We’re not opposed to the rules of golf, but we don’t want to hear about them from couch potatoes with nothing better to do than freeze-frame their obscenely big HDTVs.
5. Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam make comebacks
We’re not begrudging the two Hall of Famers their current maternal bliss, but maybe when the kids are a little older they’ll consider dusting off their clubs for a U.S. Women’s Open or the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, which begins in 2018.
Recently at Ochoa’s LPGA tournament in Mexico, Ochoa, Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak and Juli Inkster played in front of crowds together for two days. Right now, only the oldest of the four — Inkster, 57 by the 2017 Open — still competes.
Sorenstam is four years away from senior status, which is 50 for women. As for Ochoa, she’s only 35 but her youngest is still a babe-in-arms.
So fans of women’s golf will have to hope more realistic scenarios to elevate the game.