I headed straight to Palm Springs with a direct flight from Chicago and brought my suitcase to the golf course. On my first day arriving at one of the most iconic destinations on the LPGA Tour, The Chevron Championship. The historical event plays for the 51st and final time in the desert, leaving behind the beloved winners leap into Poppie’s Pond. The course itself is beautiful, with many top players commenting on the Pristine condition that miraculously improves each consecutive year.
My first lesson as an LPGA editorial intern was that I started working at a special point in the Tour’s history. My first week will be the last LPGA tournament at The Chevron Championship in Rancho Mirage, the year with the highest prize money to date, and the first-time fans will be allowed as spectators at this event post-Covid. This season is a turning point for rising Champions with the elimination of the 10-year LPGA Hall of Fame Criteria. The rule modification finally allows the remaining eight Founders including 94-year-old Shirley Spork recognition.
My second lesson was that Credentials are essential. You won’t be allowed anywhere if you aren’t granted the flimsy access keychain. After acquiring my Sacred Keychain, I was introduced to Lydia Ko and participated in a press release featuring Lexi Thompson within the first hour. The following morning, I sat in on a fantastic press lineup, including Lorena Ochoa, Minjee Lee, Brooke Henderson, Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, and Danielle Kang.
An early observation is how the LPGA staff and the world’s Greatest players have fostered a family-like community. All professionals admire one another, which is unique to Women’s golf. From Lorena Ochoa to Stacy Lewis, they appreciate their competitors and support the new Champions in the league. The Younger players are now playing alongside women they grew up watching. It’s Fantastic to see this dominant young women such as Jin Young Ko obliterating previous records while having full respect from LPGA Veterans. In short, it’s an environment and sports league of pure class.
Media-player relationships within the LPGA are exceptional. Both parties are working towards the same goal: to advance Womens’ golf platform and popularity in the US and abroad. Unfortunately, only 7% of sports sponsor money goes to women, and 4% of televised sports time is allocated to women’s sports. The world’s top players understand their responsibility to help raise coverage and excitement around the sport. Despite their busy schedules, they are some of the most approachable and willing interview candidates I’ve come across.
The LPGA is a small group whose emphasis is on the players and providing them with the best experience possible. As an intern, it’s incredible to be surrounded by staff members passionate about continuing to evolve and grow women’s golf. New commissioner, Mollie Marcoux Samaan, has made improving conditions a priority moving forward. Within her short time at the LPGA, she’s increased the overall prize money by almost 60% and been able to acquire Sponsored courtesy cars at the Majors.
New access to performance Insights through KPMG will also be a strength this season to better highlight the Women’s technical abilities. Providing LPGA real-time data to its audience is crucial in raising higher interest.
Rather than getting my feet wet this week, I’ll be jumping into action right away. LPGA has impressive access to players, and their staff size is advantageous to someone looking for hands-on learning. I’ll be working with the LPGA social media staff covering the LPGA USGA Girls Golf, writing for the LPGA Women’s Network, and Gathering footage from the tournament.
This week, I’m excited to observe these world-ranked women compete against the Talent pool with Defending Champion Patty Tavatanakit, ten returning Chevron Champions, and 19 of the current top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. 115 women will be playing for the record $ 5 million purse at Dinah Shore Course at Mission Hills Country Club. Each competitor has different strengths, plays well on specific courses, and faces various individual pressures. The tournament favorite is Jin Young Ko, but there are many possible contenders to make the last splash into Poppie’s Pond.