I think that it had to be one of the biggest fears of the LPGA come true: that a player only the most dedicated of LPGA fans has heard of would win the biggest prize.
Not to take anything away from Julieta Granada and her win at the ADT Championship. But she cannot have been on the short list of either the Tour, or its sponsors. Meanwwhile, Annika Sorenstam doesn’t make it to the weekend.
I’m sure that the PGA Tour is taking a look at what happened for their own season ending mega event next year. For the PGA Tour, I think the problem is much bigger. If Sorenstam doesn’t make it to the final day, it’s disappointing, but not disastrous. There are enough popular young stars to carry the event. But if for some reason Tiger doesn’t make it, the event is sunk.
I also see a potential problem with the money rankings: the inflationary effect of such a big money end-of-season event. With her win, Granada jumped from 19th or 20th on the money list to fourth. This, in spite of the fact that she finished otuside the top ten in 23 of 30 events during the regular season.
With the PGA Tour’s $10 million end-of-season prize, the effect could be even worse.
Finally, an interesting note and a question about Grenada. I understand that she is a graduate of David Leadbetter’s golf factory for young people in Florida. Is she the first Leadbetter product to win big on one of the Tours. I know that Michelle Wie is one of his students, but I don’t count her becuase she isn’t one of his Academy kids.