I was astonished to read Jonah Karzmer’s thinly-reasoned claim that the LPGA Tour “lacks star power.” Perhaps I should have simply closed out the article and gone on to read something more informative and factually developed. After all, Mr. Karzmer, a former pro golfer who now sells insurance out of Youngstown, Ohio, admits that he’s never covered the LPGA, something his more informed readers might surmise when they encounter Michelle Wie’s name misspelled not once but twice. But I read Karzmer’s post to the end. The reality of today’s LPGA Tour is far-removed from this guy’s perceptions.
What Is ‘Star Power’?
In competitive professional athletics, what is “star power”? Golfers ordinary fans recognize and follow, sportswomen who consistently deliver world-class performances, athletes who elevate the level of competition are stars, the luminaries of the sport — these are the stars.
The former pro golfer now insurance salesman rightly identifies Karrie Webb as a star. She meets all three criteria. But world ranked number 1 Stacy Lewis isn’t a star? That’s curious. Why not? She’s certainly leading the field in athletic performance.
What about world ranked number two, the Tour’s rookie star Lydia Ko? The teenager was named one of the top 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine and characterized by Annika Sorenstam (who did make Karzmer’s list) as:
. . . responsible for sparking increased interest in our sport not just in her native South Korea and adopted homeland of New Zealand but also among juniors across the globe . . .
Then there’s world ranked number 3 Inbee Park, who held us all breathless while she tied Babe Zaharias’s win record, who lacks only one major championship, the Women’s British Open, to complete a career grand slam, not on the insurance salesman’s list of stars?
But perhaps, since the former pro golfer/insurance salesman hasn’t covered the LPGA he’s not aware that the Tour is today the professional home for an international cadre of top women golfers. After all, his list of stars was a bit outdated and included only US players. Karzmer must have missed last week’s International Crown, an event that showcased 32 golfers who meet all three criteria for “star power.”
I can only imagine how world ranked number 5 Lexi Thompson and world ranked number 12 Paula Creamer and 40th ranked Morgan Pressel may feel about the former pro golfer/insurance salesman’s characterization of them, or how Cristie Kerr, who’s sitting on the 10th rank this week feels about being entirely excluded from his list or wanna-be stars:
Lexi Thompson’s won a few events. Paula Creamer won the U.S. Open [I assume he's referring to the US Women's Open] at Oakmont a few years ago. Morgan Pressel was a young phenom I don’t hear a lot about these days. Stacy Lewis is the world’s best player, and yet I still don’t see her as a huge star.
To be sure, in the digital world of blogging there are as many opinions as there are bloggers, but there’s a world of difference between a properly tagged opinion and an uninformed opinion that’s advanced as a statement of fact. I have little patience for bloggers who don’t check their facts or their spelling or who take on topics about which they’re unwilling to conduct basic background research.