As interim commissioner of the LPGA, Marty Evans (below) has been a stabilizing influence, but as we get closer to the announcement of a full-time replacement for Carolyn Bivens, I have one really big idea I think he or she should consider: an LPGA version of the FedEx Cup. The 2010 season probably won't start until late March. Perfect. Have the season run from March Madness to Oktoberfest with scheduled weeks off during the men's majors, leaving 24 solid events in which the players accrue points based on the simple, understandable notion that $1 equals one point (something the LPGA did in 2008). The playoffs would comprise three events. In the first two the field would be winnowed from 120 to 60 and then to 30. The survivors would advance to the tour championship, which would bear the seasonlong sponsor's name. That event would be played under the multiple-cut, winner-take-almost-all format of the old ADT season-ender, which was extremely well received by the players and TV. The three playoff events would satisfy sponsor demand for elite fields, while the rest of the events would meet player demand for full-field opportunities at which they could make a living. And here's one final twist. After a week off following the tour championship, there would be an international team showdown: the Solheim Cup in odd-numbered years and an event featuring the U.S. or the Americas versus Asia or the rest of the world in the even-numbered years. These would be a huge hit in the global market and allow women's golf to go out on a high note every year.
Dottie Pepper is a 17-year LPGA veteran and an on-course analyst for NBC and Golf Channel.
GOLF PLUS will next appear in the Oct. 19 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.
ROBERT BECK (PEPPER)
DAVID CANNON/GETTY IMAGES (MARTY EVANS)