So, four years ago the LPGA rolled into my town and hosted the HSBC World Match play at Hamilton Farm. My wife and I attended the event as spectators and had an absolute blast. One of the most amazing moments was watching Annika Sorenstam hole out for eagle on the 9th hole of the Highlands course. At the time, The Deep Rough was just starting out, and I used the event as inspiration for one of my first posts, a review of the HSBC World Match play. Sure, the post probably was not anything special, but I do not think it did anything but paint the LPGA in a positive light.
Fast forward a year, the HSBC World Match play moved out of the state and the Shop-Rite became the only game in the Garden State. At this point, The Deep Rough had a year under its belt and a pretty good following. So, I thought I would see about getting some better access to the players/venue/organizers and try to learn a little more about how things ticked on the other side of the ropes. At the time, I really enjoyed watching the LPGA and felt like I could better relate to the lady’s game than what was going on with the men’s game. They used similar clubs, did not hit the ball 350 yards, were not spinning the ball back 20 feet out of the thick stuff, and missed the occasional 10 footer. So, I was all for doing whatever I could have done to help better expose the game to readers of The Deep Rough. I fired up google, dug around for the form to request media credentials, and kicked that process off. Shortly there after, I received a reply letting me know that my request had been denied. D’oh.
Fast forward another couple of years. Carolyn Bivins was given the boot. The LPGA seemed to embrace social media…they have a twitter account, that counts, right? The departure of tournament sponsors has been well documented. The lack of star power has been a problem. So, today, you would think the league would be all over getting whatever positive coverage they could get their hands on, right?
Yeah…not so much. The old HSBC World Match play made its way back to Hamilton Farm as the Sybase Classic. I thought, awesome, it’s down the street, let’s get in there and see how the LPGA has evolved over the past 4 years. So, I sent in my request for media credentials a few months ago. They are more ‘social media’ friendly now, right? They should welcome some local blogger coverage, right?
Thank you for your interest in covering the Sybase Match Play Championship. A summary of your organization’s media credential request is listed below:
Sean – Denied
Alrigthy then…seriously, nothing else.
It really just does not make a whole lot of sense to me. On one side, you have a number of LPGA players generating some amazing content through their twitter accounts. And on the other, you have the apparent desire of the league to control its image through traditional media sources. Does the LPGA embrace the opportunity they have to connect with fans through twitter? Or would they rather control what they players say through these new avenues for communication? Feel free to weigh in on this with a comment. (Unless, of course, you are just trying to sell Ugg boots, in which case, please just save your time…my time…and a little bandwidth..)
You do not have to look any further than Christina Kim’s twitter account to see how entertaining some of these ladies can be. I find real content, like she provides, pretty remarkable. A few years ago, you would be lucky to read a half decent interview with a PGA player in Golf Digest. Now, I can get workout advice from Trevor Immelman, get updates from John Daly on his game, and even get recommendations on Hibachi places from Christina Kim. How cool is that? LPGA, you would be wise to embrace this type of access. If I can relate to your product, I will buy your product.
Nike Golf gets it. They have embraced this form of marketing their product. Heck, they have invited me down to The Oven to check it out, meet the guys designing the clubs and then swing on over to Colonial to watch the Crowne Plaza Invitational. I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure I will have nothing but positive things to say about that experience!
So, best of luck to the women of the LPGA at the Hamilton Farm this week. Sorry I will not be there to experience it with you!