home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


May 20, 2004

Ty Votaw

LAURA NEAL: Good morning, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. It's been an exciting week for the LPGA and women's golf. We kicked off The World Congress of Women's Golf today. I'd like to welcome the Commissioner of the LPGA Ty Votaw to talk about two very important announcements that were made today regarding the Weetabix Women's British Open and the development of a women's world ranking system.

TY VOTAW: Thank you very much. It has been an exciting start to the first ever World Congress of Women's Golf. Certainly the announcement early this morning by the Ladies Golf Union and Weetabix, the title sponsor of the Weetabix Women's British Open, that the 2007 Weetabix Women's British Open is going to St. Andrews is I think a wonderful statement for women's golf around the world and a great way to kick off the first ever World Congress of Women's Golf. We applaud the Ladies Golf Union, Weetabix and the St. Andrews Links Trust for bringing the 2007 Weetabix Women's British Open to the Old Course at St. Andrews, which as many of you know is considered the home of golf. The Old Course at St. Andrews is the best-known golf course in the world. By virtue of that fact, it will likely bring more fans to watch the greatest women golfers in the world than ever before for a single event. This is another signal of the continued growth and advancement of women's professional golf in the marketplace. The second announcement, a separate press release will be going out later this afternoon that we will be issuing, is another wonderful part of this inaugural World Congress of Women's Golf, and that is the announcement that the leaders of the five major women's golf professional tours, the Ladies Professional Golf Association, the Robe di Kappa Ladies European Tour, the LPGA of Japan and the Korean LPGA, and the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour, the ALPG, have all announced their plans to develop a unified world rankings of professional women golfers in time for the 2005 season. While specific details of the ranking system, which would be the first ever developed by the leaders of the top world tours in women's golf are currently under discussion, it's expected that the final version is going to share the men's rankings philosophy of awarding points based on the strength of field and evaluate player's performance over a two-year periood to establish that ranking. There will be as part of this women's world golf ranking an initial governing board that will be formed comprised of representatives from these five major golf tours, along with a technical committee that will work with that governing board in implementing the criteria and actual rankings themselves, as well as an independent chairman as part of the governing board that will be appointed separate and apart from the five tours. So with that announcement, along with the Weetabix Women's British Open going to St. Andrews, two significant announcements today. We're very excited about both of them. I want to add one other thing relative to the world rankings. Should golf become an Olympic sport, which may happen in 2008 as a longshot, but perhaps more likely if it happens at all in 2012, a world ranking system would be the ideal method to determine eligibility. If it is recognized by the International Golf Federation, who we've had discussions with regarding the world rankings, it could facilitate a player selection process for each country should golf be added to the Olympics. Throughout the development of the women's world rankings, the five major tours have been and will continue to be in communication with the International Golf Federation to ensure that proposed women's world rankings will meet the Olympic eligibility requirements in the event that golf ever does get added to the Olympics. With that, I'd be happy to answer whatever questions that are on the minds of the callers.

Q. Now that you're going to the Old Course, have you had any luck or any desire to get the Weetabix Women's British Open moved closer to the Men's British Open?

TY VOTAW: In terms of being the week following versus the week following the Senior British Open?

Q. Right.

TY VOTAW: Those discussions you and I have had about that subject, as well as that subject alone, has been discussed with the Ladies Golf Union and Weetabix. It's dependent upon a number of things, whether it's television schedules and the R&A's running of both the Men's British Open and the Senior British Open, and whether the moons and the stars can be in the right alignment by the time 2007 rolls around. It will depend upon further discussions. But nothing has been determined as of yet as far as a date different than where we typically fall, which is the third event in that three-week swing, men's, senior and women's British Opens.

Q. Why two years on the world ranking? Why do you feel two years is important?

TY VOTAW: We think you should look backwards as well as look forward. I think the present is certainly there. There will be decreasing segments like the men's ranking that we initially think will be part of the world rankings so that there will be more points or more importance on the current seed, but we also think a two-year period is a function of fairness relative to the performance of a player.

Q. There was a story today out of Hawaii about you guys opening up the year with back-to-back in Hawaii next year. Can you talk about that at all?

TY VOTAW: I haven't seen that story. That has not come from us in any official sense, or any unofficial sense, so I can't really speak to it other than what you just said to me. You're giving me news, which is what you usually do (laughter).

Q. Is that something you'd like to do?

TY VOTAW: Well, certainly in a recent press conference I think I mentioned in the state of the tour at Kraft Nabisco that if we could start our year a week or two earlier than we have, I think the two places that are the most logical would be either Hawaii, so it would be in conjunction with our West Coast Swing, back to the desert in Tucson and Phoenix, or in Florida. Certainly we have had some discussions with some folks in Hawaii, but those discussions are not in any kind of final way, shape or form. But they are ongoing. So any announcement that says we're going to do two back-to-back events in Hawaii is premature.

Q. They say you were looking at it.

TY VOTAW: We are looking at developing events in Hawaii, yes.

Q. Is there any advantage if things were to start in Hawaii, any advantage of Hawaii over starting in Florida? Primetime television, whatever?

TY VOTAW: Well, I think that certainly the fact that our tour, the next portion of our tour, would be on the West Coast of the United States would perhaps lend itself a little bit to Hawaii versus Florida. But I think either one, depending on how they're developed and where they're developed, are equally as good, assuming we live by our goal of only putting events in markets that we think has long-term sustainability. That's going to be the key criteria for us.

Q. Will the British Open continue to rotate at other courses after '07? What is the policy on women members at St. Andrews? Are there any? Does this decision impact them?

TY VOTAW: Well, I'll answer your second question first. St. Andrews is a public golf course. It's not a question of male members or female members or private membership. St. Andrews is owned by the Links Trust. While the R&A, which I understand does not have women members, is housed as St. Andrews, St. Andrews is not owned by the R&A, so that question does not really come into play as far as our criteria for all of our golf tournaments to be played at courses that don't discriminate in their membership policies. With respect to your first question, where the Women's British Open will be post 2007 has not been announced, but clearly the intention of the Ladies Golf Union and Weetabix has been to rotate it around to a number of courses that have included Birkdale, Royal Lytham, Turnberry and Sunningdale, where it will be played this year. I will anticipate that that intention would continue after 2007 when we have the Weetabix Women's British Open at St. Andrews.

LAURA NEAL: Thanks for everyone who joined us on line.

TY VOTAW: Thank you, everybody.

End of FastScripts�.

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297