We need a victory

IAN HUTCHINSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:32 AM ET

With so much emphasis placed on the PGA Tour, the contribution made by women in Canadian golf is so often overlooked.

Marlene Streit was the first Canadian inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, and Sandra Post was the first Canadian to win a major title, at the 1968 LPGA Championship.

Post's eight official LPGA victories came during a golden era from 1968-81 in which Jocelyne Bourassa also won La Canadienne in Montreal in 1973 to become the first Canadian to win a tour event on home soil.

The 1990s also were fruitful, with a total of nine victories that decade from Dawn Coe-Jones, Lisa Walters, Gail Graham and Jennifer Wyatt. The current decade began with a blaze as Lorie Kane took three rapid-fire wins in 2000 and one more the following year.

Since then, though, no Canadian has hoisted the hardware.

With the 2007 LPGA Tour season kicking off this week in Hawaii, 42-year-old Kane remains this country's best chance to scramble that goose egg, but she was 42nd on the 2006 money list, her lowest finish as a full-time player.

The only other full-time Canadians are Coe-Jones, A.J. Eathorne and Alena Sharp, now entering her second year on tour, and none of them had a vintage year in '06.

Will this winless streak last as long as, say, the Leafs' 40-year Stanley Cup drought?

Highly unlikely, but there is good news and bad news.

The bad news is it's getting tougher not only to win on tour, but just to make it there. The good news is Canada isn't the only country struggling within the LGPA's new world order.

"If we're disappointed, imagine how the Americans are feeling?" Post said. "They're saying: 'Paul Creamer, you can win any time,' and 'Morgan (Pressel), you can step up any time.' "

Creamer and Pressel were two of several young Americans expected to take a starring role last year, but both went winless. The Americans, traditionally the powerhouse of the LPGA Tour, won just eight of 34 individual titles, including just one major.

Meanwhile, the other three majors went to a Swede, Aussie and South Korean. The money title and player of the year went to Mexican Lorena Ochoa, who won six times, while South Koreans accounted for 11 wins.

Canadian fans can only hope the players can bounce back the way this country's lone Tour event did. The CN Canadian Women's Open, so shaky just a couple of years ago, now has a $2.25-million purse, the fifth-highest on tour, and hints have been dropped about the event regaining major status.

"When we originally got involved, it was our hope that we could get the interest level in ladies' golf to a point that we would be considered as a major tournament on the LPGA Tour," said CN senior vice-president of sales Stan Jablonski.

Two things need to happen to meet that goal, says Coe-Jones. The tournament would need support from top players such as Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam, who is expected to play in Edmonton this year, and the tournament dates in August would need to be moved from behind the tour's European swing.

"The people from CN certainly stepped up," Coe-Jones said. "Scheduling is a problem. We need Annika there and we need Lorena there. It has to be a tournament supported by the players."

The way the LPGA is today, that approval would ensure a world-class tournament.


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