Annika meets with Whan’s advisory board

LPGA Commisioner Mike Whan at a press conference prior to the 2010 Evian Masters.

LPGA Commisioner Mike Whan at a press conference prior to the 2010 Evian Masters.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Annika Sorenstam met with the media Thursday shortly after a meeting of the commissioner’s advisory board. They huddled in a circle next to the women’s restroom at Grand Cypress Golf Club, site of this week’s LPGA Tour Championship, catching this reporter off guard. Didn’t expect to see Nancy Lopez, Sorenstam and Mike Whan on my way in.

Former commissioner Charlie Mechem joined the former players, as well as Herb Lottman, who ran the McDonald’s LPGA Championship for many years.

“I think we all know 2010 has been a tough year,” Sorenstam said. “But one of the things I learned today is . . . the sponsors’ satisfaction with the players and the organization is as high as it gets, meaning the product is really, really good. What’s been hard is obviously companies spending money.”

Sorenstam noted that 10 years ago, companies in general were 75 percent domestic and 25 percent international. Now, she said, the reverse is true, and the LPGA is no different.

“It’s becoming a global tour,” she said. “How do we adapt to that, how do we embrace that, how do we make the most of that? I don’t really think anybody has the answer.”

Nothing illustrates this point better than the global race for Player of the Year and World No. 1. Opinions vary on what’s best for the tour: A dominant player or string of contenders. Sorenstam swept the POY from 2001 to ’05, and Lorena Ochoa owned it for the next four years.

“I remember coming to the last event and there was nothing to play for,” Sorenstam said.

Except for those ADT years, of course, when $1 million was on the line. Things were much simpler back then.

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