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Ty Votaw firm on LPGA age limitations

Ty Votaw, commissioner of the LPGA, has restated the policies of the group concerning women below the age of 18 who wish to become LPGA members. The age limitation is 18, but policies are in place which allow for special petitions for girls as young as 15 - the age of Michelle Wie.

"We've had one of those so far that's gone to final resolution, and that's Aree Song a couple of years ago in the summer of 2003, and she has been somewhat of the bellweather in terms of other potential people that might come down the pike," said Votaw.

"We have just come off of a fantastic U.S. Women's Open where the excitement of not only some amateurs that were not members of the LPGA who were teenagers - certainly Morgan Pressel finishing second in a very dramatic way; Michelle Wie, the anticipation of her going into the final round with a lead; and Brittany Lang and what she did on the final day as a teenager and non-member; certainly Paula Creamer who is playing here this week is an 18-year-old, leading the rookie race so far on the LPGA Tour, clearly ready to play on the LPGA as an 18-year-old.

"I think in each individual case, you're going to see the LPGA - whether it's me, if there's any petitions before I'm out the door, or in the future when Carolyn Bivens takes over as commissioner - that there will be a very devout and deliberate process where we take what's in the best interests of the individual and the best interests in the organization to play as to whether or not those petitions, if they come, get granted."

Votaw says the LPGA regulations allowing non-LPGA members to play in up to six events with a sponsor exemption is a good avenue to test whether the woman is ready to petition for membership or not.

"We think that when they do that, it creates a greater sense of awareness and a greater sense of media attention and greater sense of the public's imagination being captured, and only makes the awareness levels of our members that much greater when the attention gets thrust upon the entire tournament that they are playing," he said.

"We think it's a positive, and that's why we limit it to six events a year for purposes of their own development as people and players. But when they do come out, we think it's very good for the sport."

 

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