So, dear reader, what are you doing most of next week? Taking a trip? Staying home? Playing golf? Going fishing? Going to a casino with your fingers crossed? Going on a cruise? Heading to Frontier Field to see if the Red Wings can find home plate again?
Or maybe you'll be glued to your flat-screen TV to watch either the NBA or NHL finals. Hey, gotta love that hoops traveling and hockey fighting, right?
Remember when Andy Pettitte pitched here May 6 for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees on his way back to the New York Yankees? Tickets sold out faster than they were printed because Andy is something of a pinstripes legend and probably on his way to the Hall of Fame.
Ah, yes, legends! If you would like to see some legends live and in person before they actually become legends, then forget all that other stuff and spend as much of next week as you can at Locust Hill Country Club. The beauty of it is that in addition to there being physical beauty on the women's tour, the legends-to-be are warm and friendly. They don't think they're so important that they have "Leave Me Alone" printed on the back of their golf shirts.
Of course, the Wegmans LPGA Championship is one of the women's four major tournaments, but around here it has been the place to go every June since 1978, when Nancy Lopez set an LPGA record by making this tournament her fifth consecutive tour victory. And it usually draws more than 100,000 fans, many from 30-plus states besides New York.
There's a reason for that-well, at least two reasons: a great field playing a great golf course.
This is the third year that our tournament has been a major. No one knows, or at least no one is saying, whether the LPGA will keep the Wegmans tournament's major status beyond 2012. Supposedly, the issue is that our tournament would draw huge crowds regardless of its status and moving the LPGA championship to another city or state would do the same. Still, as I have said for years, it used to be a major that wasn't a major. Now it is, and let's keep it that way.
The LPGA is adding a major championship in September 2013, making the Evian Masters in France the tour's fifth major and changing its name to simply "The Evian." Reportedly, it will be played on a completely redesigned Evian Golf Club course with a strong international field.
The previous Evian course was shorter than 6,500 yards and a par 72. What "completely redesigned" will do, if anything, to change those numbers remains to be seen.
Some think Locust Hill-playing a par 72 and 6,534 yards, give a yard or two-is too easy because the last two champions, Cristie Kerr in 2010 and Yani Tseng last year, both shot 19 under par to win by 12 and 10 shots, respectively. What they tend to forget, though, is that the rest of the talented field didn't come close to such a score.
The rough at Locust Hill will be brutal (again), so high and thick that players might have a problem even finding the ball, let alone hitting it. A 5-foot-2 player might almost have trouble finding her way out of it without a GPS. The bottom line: Miss the fairway and then a 10-foot par putt and the bogey man is staring you in the face.
So who will win the tournament next week? My answer: How can anyone pick anyone other than Tseng to win her sixth major championship? She's only 23, the youngest to win five majors-man, woman or robot. She is the LPGA's Tiger Woods of 12 years ago, except for her personality: Not only is she dominant, but she smiles at her fans instead of ignoring them as if they were a nuisance.
My guess is that nobody in the field this year will shoot 19 under par and run away and hide from the rest of the players.
Whether you're a golf nut or just a fan or not, you should get out to Locust Hill next week and watch an incredible field of talented golfers from around the world. Not only will you get to see a lot of birdies, but you could be watching history in the making: Rochester's last LPGA major championship. Let's hope the LPGA has better sense than to let that happen.
Hey, see you there!
Rick Woodson's column appears each Thursday on the Rochester Business Journal website at www.rbjdaily.com. His book, "Words of Woodson," is available at www.authorhouse.com/bookstore. Listen to his weekly program, "The Golf Tee," at 9 a.m. Sunday on WHTK-AM 1280 and FM 107.3.
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