The kind of controversy surrounding the membership policies of the club hosting next month's PGA Championship never could accompany an LPGA event, Commissioner William Blue said yesterday.

On Tuesday, IBM canceled its television commercials scheduled to run during the PGA Championship Aug. 9-12 because the host club -- Shoal Creek in Birmingham, where the tournament also was held in 1984 -- has no black members. The club's founder, Hall Thompson, said recently the club would not be pressured into accepting black members, though he later apologized for the comments and contended he was quoted out of context.

According to Blue, the LPGA has taken great pains since its inception in 1950 to avoid a similar situation. Its policy has been to play only at clubs that have no racial- or gender-related restrictions on membership, he said.

The LPGA "takes great care to work with the clubs {and} make certain they have no discriminatory policies," he said. "It has been that way ever since the association has been underway.

"This association stands for golf for everyone. . . . After all, we are an association for women, who often have been discriminated against by club restrictions."

The host for this week's LPGA Championship -- the Bethesda Country Club -- has no restrictive membership policies, according to club general manager Douglas Flanagan. In fact, Bethesda was founded as a women's club.

Flanagan said no figures are kept on the racial composition of Bethesda's membership, but he said the club has a significant number of black members. He added: "Personally, I believe the only criterion for membership at the Bethesda Country Club is that the person be a lady or gentleman." . . .

Nancy Lopez, trying this week to win her fourth LPGA Championship, said she plans to cut her tournament schedule to 16 or 17 events next year. Of course, she made roughly the same pledge about this year.

Her husband, former major league baseball player Ray Knight, travels to tournaments most weeks with her and the couple's two daughters. The eldest, Ashley, will enter school for the first time next year, and Lopez said she plans to make good on her promise to devote more time to her family.

The problem, she said, has been Knight's urging that as long as she's going to play she had better give golf her best. "He tells me I have to work hard," Lopez said. "Then he says: 'If you're not going to work hard, then I want you home with me.' "

For now, she will try to do both. She won almost $500,000 in 1989 with one of her best years on the tour, though her efforts largely were overshadowed by Betsy King. Lopez has played 14 tournaments this year, and said she'll probably end up in a more-than-expected 20.

"It won't be as much next year," she said. "I'll have to try and work out a schedule that makes sense. I'll play for two or three weeks straight, then take two or three weeks off."

Her competitive spirit still is there, though, and she said it has been sharpened by Knight. "We buck heads once in a while," she said. "He beats me at everything except golf. We play tennis, and neither one of us is very good, but we'll play for six or seven hours just to see who will give up first."

Little Withdraws

Sally Little withdrew from the tournament with a wrist injury. She was replaced by Sarah McGetrick. . . . A team led by tour member Deb Richard won yesterday's pro-am scrambler with a 15-under 56.

Celebrity players in the event included former president Gerald Ford, White House Chief of Staff John Sununu and San Antonio Spurs star David Robinson -- credited by Blue with sinking a 20-foot putt. Vice President Dan Quayle was a no-show, but an LPGA contingent that included Lopez visited him and President Bush for 20 minutes at the White House.