So close…yet so far

mulligan, 28 June 2005, Comments Off on So close…yet so far
Categories: Uncategorized

Being a Marketing professor, I had mixed feelings about the finish to the Women’s U.S. Open. While I am extremely happy with the increased ratings, and loved the gutty performance of Birdie Kim (an unknown underdog if there ever was one), a slightly different result could have catapulted women’s golf to the next level.

Birdie Kim made a one-in-a-million shot on the last hole. Anyone who plays golf loved it, since it was drama related only to the game that we love. However, I am willing to bet that the casual fans who were watching were pulling for the American teens (any of them) or Gulbis, who put on a terrific show at the end. I’m guessing that Votaw and Bivens, secretly, were pulling for them as well.

Votaw and Bivens (the new LPGA commish) must have felt like they had been gut-punched watching that finish. They had the brass ring in their hands, and they knew it. A win by one of the American youngsters would have brought millions of advertising and sponsorship dollars to the sport, and set up rivalries that could have been strategically exploited for the next fifteen years. Instead, they got an anonymous winner, impossible to build a marketing campaign around.

The sickest thing about all this? It is a perfect example of how marketing and money can affect sports. Instead of celebrating Birdie Kim’s achievement and the beauty of the game we love, people like me are wishing for a different result because of the marketing implications.


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