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Thursday, March 20, 2014

...But the Cash Is Real Now

While folks over at the Arnold Palmer Invitational are hunting for a favorite now that Tiger's out with a bad back, things are considerably more upbeat out in Phoenix.

Back in 2011 when that tournament debuted as the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, a three-round event with an "imaginary" purse that counted on player's money totals but not in their bank accounts -- all the proceeds went to charity -- many people laughed at "Whan's Folly." Now, with a $1,500,000 purse, 4 full rounds, and a new sponsor (ironically, a South Korean broadcaster that was also launched in 2011), the JTBC Founders Cup is on the map.

And check this out: Not only is it the first American event of the year but, according to Tony Jesselli's preview, it boasts the strongest field of 2014 so far. Not bad for a poor business decision, eh?

Paula Creamer

It will be interesting to see how Paula Creamer does this week. (The photo is from Brad Guice's photography site -- along with a very impressive portfolio of movers and shakers in sports, TV, etc. Check it out!) Paula is coming off her victory at the HSBC Women's Champions, her first victory since the 2010 US Womens Open. The ABC News site posted this article about Paula and the Founders Cup, noting that the HSBC winner has followed that with a win at the Founders Cup in both 2011 (Karrie Webb) and 2013 (Stacy Lewis).

GC's coverage starts today at 6:30pm ET.

In a somewhat-related note, I'd also like to refer you to the Constructivist's post about the Kraft Nabisco Championship losing its sponsor after this April. (You can also read more details at this Golfweek article from last week.) Nevertheless, Mike Whan says the first major of the year will remain at Dinah's Place.

At least, that's his intent. He's proven his ability to create something out of nothing, but I'm not holding my breath that he can get this done in time for next year's event.

As I have written several times before, I thought Whan made the Evian a major because he saw this coming. At the very least, he has ensured that there will be 4 women's majors in 2015 even if no sponsor can be found for the Dinah. (I agree with TC that they should officially go back to calling it the Dinah.)

That's TWO "foolish" moves Mike Whan has made that have proven to be extremely farsighted. It'll be interesting to see what he does next.

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