after being brought back by Riboud to share in the celebra-
tion of the Evian’s new status.
“As soon as I got here, Franck grabbed me and asked,
‘How can we become an LPGA tournament?’ ” Alcott said.
“I told him I’d talk to [then-LPGA commissioner] Jim Ritts.”
The Evian got onto the LPGA schedule in 2000 with Ty
Votaw as commissioner and another piece to the puzzle
falling into place. The Weetabix Women’s British Open—now
sponsored by Ricoh—was lined up to replace the defunct
DuMaurier Classic as an LPGA major in 2001. That made
the Evian an easier sell to the players since they could make
a two-week swing across the pond.
Now, the Evian Masters—which changed its name to the
Evian Championship officially to create a new identity and unofficially to please those folks who have a Masters of their own
in Augusta, Ga.—moved from late July to mid September. Everyone said the new dates would not likely encounter weather
problems, even though the course is at 1,600 feet. And maybe
this wet weather was an aberration. Only time will tell.
Certainly, the $10 million in improvements (overseen by
architect Steve Smyers) were impressive. All of the greens
were expanded by at least 50 percent and sharply contoured. Nos. 5, 15, 16 and 17 were dramatically rebuilt. The
fact the project was completed in 13 months was a minor
miracle considering much of the work competed with snow
(the last snowfall here was in May). A piece of equipment
sank so deep in the mud its driver had to be rescued, buried
chest-deep. The bunkers were filled by helicopter because
the ground was too wet to drive on, the sand hauled in by
buckets in a thousand round-trip flights.
If given a mulligan, the prudent tack
might have been to skip this year’s
tournament and give the course anoth-
er year to grow in. Part of the problem
was that the roots of the grass were too
immature to soak up the rain and the
course had yet to be aerated, which would help it drain. Next
year, none of this will be a problem. Hopefully.
Still, in Pettersen, Evian produced a true champion.
It was the 13th LPGA victory for the 32-year-old and her
second major, to go along with the 2007 LPGA Championship. She also moved to No. 2 in the Rolex Rankings,
jumping over Lewis into the spot behind Inbee Park, who
was trying to win her fourth major of the year at Evian but
“It’s been such a great month, five weeks for me,” said
Pettersen, who won her last start at the Safeway Classic,
was T- 7 at the CN Canadian Women’s Open, T- 4 at the Ricoh
Women’s British Open and T- 6 at the Manulife Financial, as
well as starring in Europe’s Solheim Cup win since missing
the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open.
“This is just a part of the process,” said Pettersen, who
many think has the talent to be the best player in women’s
golf. “You’ve got to win tournaments; you’ve got to win ma-
jors. Hopefully, this can kick-start my action toward No. 1.”
Perhaps this abbreviated event will also kick-start the
Evian Championship into a better second year as an LPGA
major. Riboud has proven over the last 20 years that he
knows how to get what he wants. And he wants to host a
first-class major championship. n
Pettersen, 32, and
Ko, 16, put on an
entertaining, well-played show Sunday.