I Don’t Always Talk Women’s Golf, But When I Do…
The ladies game has never been and likely never will be as popular as the men’s game. But there was a time some 15 to 20 years ago in which the LPGA had household names as it’s stars that were likable and intense competitors (e.g. Nancy Lopez orAnnika in her prime). Obviously the tour has suffered financially and in turn struggled to regain popularity since it’s queens left the stage.
In short, the Ladies Professional Golf Association has an image problem. The best players in recent years have been foreign born and don’t speak much English. They’ve also not had the ‘look’ that can sell ice to an Eskimo and they’re not as marketable because of this. Therefore, the events they play in draw smaller crowds, sell less tickets, run fewer/cheaper ads during broadcasts, etc. You get the point. What the women’s game needs is some fresh-faced-English-speaking-bonafide-stars to come along and make tournaments matter again. Two months ago I highlighted one future star that could fulfill this role in Lydia Ko. After this month’s qualifying tournament, the LPGA may have found another.
Just Getting Started
Meet Jaye Marie Green. A Florida girl with a big game and big dreams, Green was All-America-everything in girls junior golf and could have played for any college in the country. She bucked the system and turned down scholarship offers to turn pro and play golf in 2013 on the Symetra Tour (like the Web.com tour for the men with smaller checks). Jaye’s first mass media exposure came as she made the finals of the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur. She lost to Lydia Ko in that final and now you see why I sense the beginning of a rivalry here.
This year on the Symetra Tour Green finished in the top 30 on the money list, but only made $19,000. Her rank on the money list wasn’t high enough to qualify for the LPGA, but it did earn her a trip to Q-School where she made the most of her opportunity.
Green is the daughter of a PGA club pro. He taught her the game and looped for her this year on tour. Just before Q-school he convinced his daughter to switch back to irons she’d played so well with at last year’s Women’s Am. The results were amazing. Jaye Marie fired a 1st round 62 and followed up that 10 under round with four more scores in the sixties to lap the field by 10 shots. For her efforts she’s now fully exempt on the LPGA Tour, she got the first place check of $5,000, and grabbed her 1st victory as a professional.
Buy Low, Ditch The Douche
Her talents are obvious. Her look and marketability are just what the tour needs. A career long rivalry with Ko appears immanent. Plus, you knew I was eventually going here, she’s cute. No, she’s not going to be in Playboy (mostly because she’s by all accounts a tad on the religious side), but she’s got a girl-next-door thing going for her without having to try too hard to pull it off [cough….Paula Creamer…..cough]. I’m sure her phone, or her agent’s, has been blowing up with several offers from sponsors since her dominating Q-School performance. Offering her any endorsement deal now seems like a good idea. The price to put your logo on her bag a year or two from now might be much higher.
Her Symetra stats indicate that she’s a pretty decent ball striker. She hits fairways & greens and drives the ball slightly longer than average for a professional woman. That’s the kind of game that travels well. When her putter is hot, you can see by her Q-School results what kind of performance she’s capable of.
What’s not to like? She seems too good to be true, doesn’t she? Her parents should be proud. The only red-flag on her future that I see is this guy:
THAT……is her dread-locked wannabe musician boyfriend. He’s 7 years older than her and his greatest accomplishment is growing his hair to its current state for the last 7 years. Her dad probably doesn’t sleep well at night. Ditching this doorknob is the first key to her success, the rest is on her putter.