When the details of the inaugural LPGA Founders Cup were first released, several of the top players raised their concerns with the format. Reigning US Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer didn’t like that the faux purse amounted to more than the sum going to charity. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan addressed this particular issue last Friday, doubling the money donated to charity to $1 million and decreasing the prize money to the same number.
Which was enough to ease Creamer’s initial reservations with the event. Via GolfChannel.com:
“I am very pleased to have learned of the significant changes to the inaugural RR Donnelley Founders Cup. As I have said all along, I have no issues playing for charity in 2011 in order to honor our founders, to help the future of the game, and to create another event to showcase the talents of the LPGA to a worldwide audience.
“I appreciate the RR Donnelley company’s amazing support. I have a strong belief and hope that this event will transition to a full-field regular event in future years, with the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf as our annual charitable component, much like what all of our other LPGA events do with their respective charities. I think it is important to grow our domestic schedule and to associate with a large prestigious company like RR Donnelley. Hopefully this is the beginning of a partnership that will last decades.
“I believe Commissioner Whan has shown his leadership abilities by listening to his players and implementing changes as a result. It would have been easy to just say `maybe next year.’ I know many players shared my concern that the purse and the charitable donation did not match. But now, with the purse being fully funded like all other events, and the entire $1,000,000 purse going to charity, I am in!!
“With $500,000 going to Girls Golf and another $500,000 being player directed, I have already received dozens of requests from charities to represent them in the RR Donnelley Founders Cup. All are great causes and I hope this RR Donnelley Founders Cup will bring more awareness not only to Girls Golf but also to the many very worthwhile charities that my fellow players are dedicated to helping day in and day out. My playing in the RR Donnelley Founders Cup will personally give me the opportunity to support and direct some of the $1,000,000 charity donation. Being able to hopefully positively impact people’s lives through the RR Donnelley Founders Cup is a very, very good feeling. I am looking forward to playing.”
The change means the ladies are no longer playing completely for monopoly money, but instead their winnings (if they placed in the top-ten) will all be going toward charity.
Cristie Kerr, who has yet to commit, gave her take on the adjustments, via Golfweek‘s Beth Ann Baldry’s Twitter:
“I applaud the steps that were taken by the commissioner, the sponsors and the players to work toward making a good concept into an event that is more beneficial for all parties. I think it’s important for everyone concerned to know that we as players supported the idea of a charity event which honored our Founders, and personally think the fact that Mike was able to work with us to make it better shows a strength in our tour and says a lot about his leadership.
I’m not sure we would have been able to have constructive dialogue behind the scenes in former times.
The delay in my decision to play in the RR Donnelley is not based on any objections I have with the event now that these changes were made, more so my personal schedule. I intend to make a decision following the season-opening events in Asia.”
When it comes down to it, if you don’t have an excusable (giving birth, funeral, other serious illness or life-changing family conflict) reason to miss the Founders Cup, then you look like a selfish…insert five-letter word…person.