Sunday, January 30, 2011

LPGA and The Founder's Cup

Great the the LPGA is doing something charitable. Who can fault anyone for donating a purse to charity, right? But wait, it's not the entire purse. The inaugural RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, to be played at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa the week of March 16-20, 2011 has a total "mock" purse of $1.3 million.  RR Donnelley isn't coughing up the purse; they are covering tournament operational costs.

Here's where it gets tricky, though. Players aren't going to pocket any money winnings, but they will be credited for official winnings in their annual talley. The winner will be "credited with" $195,000 in official money, and a big handshake.  All the other players who make the cut will be credited with whatever their portion of the winnings are, too.

However, total tournament proceeds, which are projected to be $500,000, will be donated to the LPGA Foundation. So what happens to the other $800,000 of the "mock purse"? So RRDonnelly is covering the behind the scenes operational costs and they are donating all "proceeds" to the charity. As of their last publicly reported quarter (9/30/10), the company had over $780M in cash and cash equivalents on their balance sheet, a current ratio of about 2:1, and projected annual revenue of $9B. The company earns a profit and pays a dividend to shareholders. They could squeak out another $800,000 to support the LPGA here, dontcha think? Or perhaps they could rally some supporting players to the table.

This disparity is not lost on or sitting well with the players either. Creamer, Kerr, Wie, Petterson and Pressel have not yet committed to the event. While supportive of honoring the great champions of golf that founded the game, Creamer and Kerr have been vocal in their concerns about format and handling of the proceeds and the fact that player input was not requested.

Aside from all that, in my opinion, you never see the PGA players doing these type of events. Why should the women? Men would never play for a "mock" purse. The PGA players send their wives out to play for charity events. And raised $100K in doing so at the Honda classic. Oh sure, their PGA hubsies caddied for them, but it was all in fun, as you can see, with Will MacKenzie assisting his wife on the green. The guys didn't play.

LPGA Founders Cup Information