x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Watered down fifth major Evian Championship nothing more than a damp squib

Adding the Evian Championship as a fifth women's "major" has been a washout, so far. The first staging of the event was pelted by rain and reduced to 54 holes, damaging the reputation of the women's game.

Park In-bee of South Korea follows her shot after playing on the second hole during the second round of the Evian Championship. Laurent Cipriani / AP Photo
Park In-bee of South Korea follows her shot after playing on the second hole during the second round of the Evian Championship. Laurent Cipriani / AP Photo

Watered down fifth major Evian a damp squib

Two years ago, the Evian Championship in France raised eyebrows when it strong-armed the LPGA into awarding it status as the fifth women’s major championship. Among purists, that notion went down like a brick-hard baguette.

When this season began, Park In-bee reeled off wins in the first three women’s majors, prompting the LPGA commissioner to concede that, had the South Korean also won the fourth major of the year, it would have constituted a grand slam, in his eyes. Evian said “au revoir” to a bit more of its store-bought credibility.

As tournament time approached, rain pounded the venue. The fact that a tournament sponsored by a bottled-water company was hydrated into submission did not go unnoticed.

Worse, after tournament officials elected on Saturday to pre-emptively eliminate the final round, rendering a “major” into a 54-hole affair because of poor weather forecasts issued for two days down the road, jokes about the French surrendering easily were in vogue.

Not without reason.

It is hard to envision any scenario wherein a men’s major would let weather dictate the prescribed format, even if it meant playing until Tuesday. The next LPGA event, mind you, is not for another three weeks.

But minus the deep sponsorship pockets of the men’s game, keeping players, officials and staffers in France for any extra days was quickly ruled out. Adding a fifth major muddled the record book. Now it has muddied it, too.