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Nelly Korda, LPGA whiffing on chance to lift women’s golf

Nelly Korda, LPGA whiffing on chance to lift women’s golf

As Nelly Korda continues to dominate, generating new interest in women’s golf should be one of the easiest sales jobs the LPGA will ever have.

Last Sunday, a peak audience of 1.9 million people tuned in to NBC and watched Nelly Korda record her fifth consecutive tournament victory at the Chevon Championship, the first major of the LPGA season.

It’s not a Caitlin Clark rating, but for a sport that has been plagued by poor television coverage, lack of breakthrough stars and questionable management, it was one of the better days women’s golf has seen in quite some time.

In theory, the LPGA should be in prime position to reap some of the benefits being generated by the recent surge of interest in women’s sports.

For one thing, their counterparts on the men’s tours have turned off scores of fans thanks to the interminable struggle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf and the odious greed driving so much division and dissatisfaction.

After years of unfairly blaming the prominence of Asian players for struggling to connect with stateside audiences, the LPGA now has a 25-year-old American from a prominent sporting family dominating the sport.

And given that fewer than 100 days remain before the Olympics, where Korda will be defending her gold medal from Tokyo three years ago, this should be one of the easiest sales jobs women’s golf will ever have to generate real, enduring new interest in what has always been a very good and watchable product.

The door is open. There are no excuses. The time is now.

But is women’s golf truly ready for this moment? I’m not so sure.

Up until now, three things have been undeniably true about women’s golf and its struggle to break through outside of its small, niche fan base:

  • The LPGA has failed to craft a compelling narrative for why people should watch, outside the mere fact of its existence
  • Some of its stars, including Korda prominently, haven’t gone above and beyond to promote the game and make themselves familiar to large audiences
  • And television has struggled to give the product its due, both in terms of exposure and quality of broadcast

The third point, in particular, was disappointing Sunday. While NBC should be given credit for putting the Chevron on its over-the-air network and not stuffing it on Peacock or the Golf Channel, it would have been jarring this weekend to flip between the LPGA and the concurrent PGA Tour event being shown on CBS.

While the latter featured sharp graphics, high-tech camera…


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