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Keep remote handy to watch LPGA tour

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PALM DESERT, Calif. -- The LPGA tour on any given week often plays a game of hide-and-seek with television viewers.

This weekend's Samsung World Championship is no different, switching between The Golf Channel and NBC, which has a three-hour telecast for Sunday's final round.

"Our fans have to look pretty hard to find us," concedes LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens. "We would like to get a little bit more consistency, a bit more tuned-in for people."

The scattershot times will continue through next season, but Bivens expects a tighter television package for 2007.

The LPGA understands its niche in the marketplace and knows it will have to wait until the PGA Tour and NASCAR negotiate new television contracts for 2007. But ratings for women's golf have been on the rise, and Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer and other young stars should give Bivens strong bargaining power.

"It's looking good," Bivens says. "There are a lot of balls up in the air. There are several other sports that haven't finalized their packages. But there are also some new distribution outlets that are looking for sports."

*Samsung World Championship: The Golf Channel (Friday, 3-5p.m. ET, 8-10p.m.; Saturday, 2-4p.m., 8-10p.m.) and NBC (Saturday, 1-2p.m.; Sunday, 1-4p.m.)

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