Nelly Korda, the LPGA is in a great situation to make women's golf better. They're not getting it yet
Nelly Korda, the LPGA is in a great situation to make women’s golf better. They’re not getting it yet

Nelly Korda won her fifth straight tournament at the Chevon Championship last Sunday, which was the first major of the LPGA season. A peak crowd of 1.9 million people watched on NBC.

While not as high as Caitlin Clark’s, it was one of the better days for women’s golf in a long time. This is because the sport has been hurt by bad TV coverage, a lack of big stars, and bad management.

In theory, the LPGA should be able to gain from the recent interest in women’s sports.

The never-ending fight between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, along with the disgusting greed that is causing so much conflict and unhappiness, has turned off a lot of fans on the men’s tour.

For years, the LPGA unfairly blamed the popularity of Asian players for their inability to connect with American viewers. Now, a 25-year-old American from a famous sports family is dominating the sport.

With less than 100 days to go, Korda will be defending her gold medal from the Olympics in Tokyo three years ago. This should be one of the easiest sales jobs women’s golf has ever had to get real, long-lasting new interest in a sport that has always been very good and interesting to watch.

The door is wide open. There’s no reason not to. Now is the time.

But is golf for women really ready for this? I’m not sure.

Ladies’ golf has had a hard time getting noticed by people outside of its small group of dedicated fans up until now.

Three things have been clearly true:

  • Beyond the fact that it exists, the LPGA hasn’t come up with a compelling reason for people to watch.
  • Some of its stars, including Korda, haven’t gone above and beyond to promote the game and make themselves known to large audiences.
  • And TV has had trouble giving the product its due, both in terms of exposure and quality of broadcast.

Especially the third point let us down on Sunday. It’s good that NBC put the Chevron on its over-the-air network instead of Peacock or the Golf Channel, but this weekend it would have been strange to switch between the LPGA and the PGA Tour game that was happening at the same time on CBS.

The second one had sharp graphics, high-tech camera angles, and shot-tracing tools that are now common in men’s golf shows. The NBC coverage, on the other hand, looked like it was just the bare minimum to get these women on TV.

Now that we’re used to seeing women’s basketball on ABC or ESPN that looks and feels the same as men’s basketball, it was shocking to turn on NBC and see something that wasn’t even close to as good as what the network does for The Players or the U.S. Open.

NBC didn’t have as many camera teams for this event as it would have for a men’s major championship, so it couldn’t show much of what was going on in the groups ahead of Korda. Because of this, the show seemed to move very slowly because there wasn’t much going on between Korda’s shots.

If NBC is proud of giving women’s golf a chance to be shown on network TV and happy with the number, it should be ashamed of how it presented the show. Korda’s accomplishment and the moment for the LPGA were not given the credit they deserve.

This isn’t just a TV problem, though.

Since she won her first LPGA event when she was 20, Korda has been a potential gold mine for the sport. However, she is known for being very picky about how much time she is willing to spend doing the extra marketing work that the sport sorely needs.

It’s hard for women’s golf to make the most of this moment when its biggest star isn’t known to be very good with the media or willing to promote anything other than her golf swing. This could be because she wants to keep to herself or because she only wants to focus on the birdies and bogies.

Two-time major winner Stacy Lewis said straight out before the Chevron that Korda needed to be more noticeable and easy to reach for the LPGA. This was interesting to hear.

According to Lewis, she needs to be in this room with the public every week to talk about it and how good she is playing. But he didn’t say what that would look like for her. “I know what it’s like because I was No. 1 in the world and the best American. You have to do a lot of things.”But give the news media two hours a week. She needs to start doing that. But the fact that she plays great golf is what moves us forward the most.

Not long after her win on Sunday, Korda was an interesting guest on the “No Laying Up” podcast, which is popular with younger golf fans. That was the right thing to do. But it wasn’t so great that Korda pulled out of this week’s JM Eagle LA Championship because he was too tired after winning four events in five weeks.

Some athletes take extra care of their bodies and schedules, which is understandable. However, Korda missed the LPGA’s Asian swing in February and early March and won’t play in another event until May 9. Though she might have hurt herself, Korda should have at least tried to play since the LPGA stops in the country’s second-biggest media market.

It can feel unfair for elite female athletes to have to both perform and promote their sport, and maybe it is. Is Scottie Scheffler looked at the same way when it comes to how many media and promotional duties he takes on or which events he skips?

While that is a valid point of discussion, the LPGA and its players need to be more ready than we’ve seen so far if they want to take advantage of the surge of interest in women’s sports and Korda’s impressive run.

The girl Korda needs to do more. The LPGA needs to do a better job. And there’s no doubt that TV networks need to do better.

This news was first published on USA TODAY: Nelly Korda, the LPGA is in a great situation to make women’s golf better. They’re not getting it yet.

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Get notified of the best deals on our WordPress themes.

You May Also Like

Rory McIlroy hits a spectacular shot FROM THE TREES at the Phoenix Open

At the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Rory McIlroy’s first real test didn’t go so well. By the second hole, the world’s best golfer was in a tough spot.

Greg Norman’s response to Saudi criticism is very surprising.

This weekend, LIV Golf is playing to sold-out crowds in Australia, and…

Where did all the sun shades go? A scary new study shows

I noticed it when I was watching Keith Mitchell play at Riviera…

Gooch wins LIV Australia despite a slump in the middle of the round.

ADELAIDE, Australia Sunday at the Grange Golf Club, Talor Gooch almost lost…