NBC SPORTS GROUP KICKS OFF FIRST OF 33 LPGA TOUR EVENTS IN 2020 WITH DIAMOND RESORTS TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS

Four of Five Majors, Summer Olympics in Tokyo and UL International Crown Contribute to Most Number of Events and Hours of Women’s Golf in a Single Year Ever

Hall-of-Famer Judy Rankin Returns for 10th Season as GOLF Channel’s LPGA Tour Lead Analyst, 36th Overall

 

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 15, 2020 – 2020 will feature the most number of hours and events ever dedicated to women’s golf across NBC Sports, headlined by a global schedule of 33 LPGA Tour events that includes live coverage of four of five major championships and the biennial UL International Crown team competition.

With the addition of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships and the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, NBC Sports will produce more than 500 tournament hours of women’s golf coverage in 2020, the most hours and events ever dedicated to the women’s game in a single year.

“As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the LPGA Tour, I can’t help but wonder what our 13 Founders would think to hear that women’s golf will see more than 500 hours of television coverage, distributed to over 160 countries,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. “Without GOLF Channel and NBC, our long-time and trusted partners, we would not have the opportunity to share the inspiring stories of our athletes. 2020 is going to be a record-setting year from the LPGA Tour in terms of purse, TV and Members connected to our brand. I can’t wait for our fans around the world to see it all unfold.”

“With the LPGA Tour, four of five majors, Tokyo Olympics and the UL International Crown airing across NBC Sports, we are the television home for women’s golf,” said Molly Solomon, executive producer, GOLF Channel and NBC Olympics. “In 2020, we’ll deliver our most hours ever dedicated to the women’s game and elevate the LPGA Tour’s stars as they travel the globe on this international tour.”

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DIAMOND RESORTS TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS KICKS OFF 2020 SEASON

The 2020 LPGA Tour season kicks off Thursday in Orlando, Fla., with the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions presented by Insurance Office of America. The winner’s-only event features 26 LPGA Tour winners from the past two seasons, joined by 49 celebrities from the world of sports and entertainment. GOLF Channel will air live coverage Thursday and Friday (Noon-3 p.m. ET). Weekend coverage will air on GOLF Channel from 2-3 p.m. ET, continuing on NBC from 3-5 p.m. ET.

For the second consecutive year, NBC will bookend the LPGA Tour season, beginning this week with coverage from the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions and concluding in November with live coverage of the CME Group Tour Championship.

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Paige Mackenzie will serve as lead analyst for live tournament coverage of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, joined by Grant Boone as play-by-play host. Tom Abbott will serve as a hole announcer with Jerry Foltz and Karen Stupples reporting from the course. Damon Hack will conduct interviews with celebrities and players during the tournament telecasts.

 

FOUR OF FIVE MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS, 2020 SUMMER OLYMPICS AND UL INTERNATIONAL CROWN HEADLINE SUMMER STRETCH

NBC Sports Group will air coverage from 33 LPGA Tour events in 2020, headlined by live coverage of four of the five major championships: the ANA Inspiration (March 30-April 5); the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 25-28); The Evian Championship (July 22-26); and the AIG Women’s British Open (Aug. 20-23).

 

In August, women’s golf will take center stage across NBC Sports during a four-week stretch featuring the Summer Olympics, AIG Women’s British Open and UL International Crown. Kicking off August will be the return of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The world’s top players will convene upon Kasumigaseki Country Club, with GOLF Channel and NBC airing comprehensive coverage of the women’s golf competition, Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 5-8. The LPGA Tour will then head to Scotland for two weeks, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the AIG Women’s British Open – the latter taking place at historic Royal Troon Golf Club – culminating with the biennial UL International Crown team competition taking place in England.

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HALL-OF-FAMER JUDY RANKIN RETURNS FOR 10TH SEASON AS GOLF CHANNEL ANALYST; 36TH YEAR IN TELEVISION

Hall-of-Famer and 26-time LPGA Tour winner Judy Rankin returns for her 10th season as GOLF Channel’s lead LPGA Tour analyst, and 36th season overall in television. Rankin will join play-by-play host Grant Boone at the newly minted Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio (Jan. 23-26), taking place in Boca Raton, Fla., her first of 13 events in the broadcast booth.

Stupples and Mackenzie will rotate with Rankin as lead LPGA Tour analysts in 2020. Boone, Terry Gannon and Whit Watson will serve as play-by-play hosts, joined by Tom Abbott, Kay Cockerill, Foltz, and Jim Gallagher, Jr as hole announcers and course reporters throughout the season.

NCAA WOMEN’S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS AND AUGUSTA NATIONAL WOMEN’S AMATEUR SHOWCASE FUTURE STARS OF WOMEN’S GOLF

Also in 2020, GOLF Channel and NBC will shine a spotlight on women’s golf future stars with live coverage of the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships (May 25-28) from Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.; and the second- annual Augusta National Women’s Amateur, taking place at historic Augusta National Golf Club (April 1-4).

NBC Sports Group 2020 LPGA Tour Schedule

Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions Jan. 16-19 GOLF/NBC
Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio Jan. 23-26 GOLF
ISPS Handa Vic Open Feb. 5-8 GOLF
ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open Feb. 12-15 GOLF
Honda LPGA Thailand Feb. 19-22 GOLF
HSBC Women’s World Championship Feb. 26-29 GOLF
Blue Bay LPGA March 4-8 GOLF
Founders Cup March 19-22 GOLF
Kia Classic March 26-29 GOLF
ANA Inspiration April 2-5 GOLF
LOTTE Championship April 15-18 GOLF
HUGEL-AIR Premia LA Open April 23-26 GOLF
LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship April 30-May 3 GOLF
Pelican Women’s Championship May 14-17 GOLF
Pure Silk Championship May 21-24 GOLF
ShopRite LPGA Classic May 29-31 GOLF
Meijer LPGA Classic June 11-14 GOLF
Walmart NW Arkansas Championship June 19-21 GOLF
KPMG Women’s PGA Championship June 25-28 GOLF/NBC
Marathon Classic July 9-11 GOLF
Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational July 15-17 GOLF
Evian Championship July 23-26 GOLF/CNBC
Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open Aug. 13-16 GOLF
AIG Women’s British Open Aug. 20-23 GOLF/NBC
UL International Crown Aug. 27-30 GOLF
CP Women’s Open Sept. 3-6 GOLF
Cambia Portland Classic Sept. 10-13 GOLF
Volunteers of America Classic Oct. 1-4 GOLF
Buick LPGA Shanghai Oct. 15-18 GOLF
BMW Ladies Championship Oct. 22-25 GOLF
Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA Oct. 29-Nov. 1 GOLF
TOTO Japan Classic Nov. 5-7 GOLF
CME Group Tour Championship Nov. 19-22 GOLF/NBC

ABOUT THE LPGA

The LPGA is the world’s leading professional golf organization for women. Founded in 1950 and headquartered in Daytona Beach, Fla., the association celebrates a diverse and storied membership with more than 2,300 members representing more than 30 countries. With a vision to inspire, empower, educate and entertain by showcasing the very best of women’s golf, LPGA Tour Professionals compete across the globe, while the Symetra Tour, the official development and qualifying tour of the LPGA, consistently produces a pipeline of talent ready for the world stage. Additionally, LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals directly impact the game through teaching, coaching and management.

The LPGA demonstrates its dedication to the development of the game through The LPGA Foundation. Since 1991, this charitable organization has been committed to empowering and supporting girls and women through developmental, humanitarian and golf community initiatives, including LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, the LPGA Women’s Network and the LPGA Amateur Golf Association.

Follow the LPGA on its television home, Golf Channel, and on the web via www.LPGA.com. Join the social conversation at www.facebook.com/lpgawww.twitter.com/lpga and www.youtube.com/lpgavideo, and on Instagram and Snapchat at @lpga_tour.

ABOUT NBC SPORTS GROUP’S GOLF DIVISION

NBC Sports Group’s GOLF division delivers multimedia golf content, technology and services. Anchored by GOLF Channel – co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 – GOLF content is available to nearly 500 million viewers in nine languages across more than 70 countries around the world. GOLF features more live coverage of the sport than all other U.S. networks combined, including global tournament action from the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, European Tour, NCAA, THE PLAYERS, The Open, Olympics, Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup, as well as high-quality news, instruction and original programming. Delivering unmatched coverage from the world of golf via GOLF Digital, fans can access 24/7 live streaming through the NBC Sports App, as well as complementary coverage via PGA TOUR LIVE on NBC Sports Gold. In addition to these all-encompassing media platforms, NBC Sports connects the world to golf through a wide array of technology and lifestyle services, including: GOLFNOW, the world’s largest online tee time booking platform; GOLF Business Solutions, solving business needs through leading technology, marketing and services; GOLFPASS, an all-in-one digital membership delivering comprehensive benefits tailored to the modern golfer’s lifestyle; Revolution GOLF, the world’s largest direct-to-consumer digital platform in golf, offering best-in-class video instruction and game improvement products; GOLF Advisor, the ultimate digital destination for the traveling golfer, featuring the largest number of user-generated golf course ratings and reviews in the industry; GOLF Academy, a North American network of instructional facilities; and GOLF Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour. GOLF’s global reach originates from its world headquarters in Orlando, Fla., and extends to its international office in Belfast, Northern Ireland; regional offices across North America, Europe and Australia; and also includes collaborations with Sky Sports and serving as the Official Media Partner of St Andrews Links.

America’s Newest Golf Game from USA Grass Golf

There are many ways to introduce more people to the game of golf. In some cases, a golf course or driving range isn’t even necessary. Just ask the folks from USA Grass Golf.

They’ve created a variation of “Park Golf” from Japan and through the implementation of equipment that they created, you can set-up a golf course nearly anywhere.  The kit comes with 1 ball, 1 club, and 1 portable flag/hole or a fixed hole and you are ready to play. The ball is a smooth resin approximately 2 1/4 inches (cue ball size) in diameter and a club that is similar in size and shape of a wood fairway driver.

USA Grass Golf, they might be worth a visit at the 2020 PGA Show. Please see their press release below.

#untilthenexttee

#seeuonthenexttee #fightandgrind

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At last a golf game that anyone can enjoy at any age or skill level without the frustration of beginner golf.  Grass Golf is a hybrid of regular golf game where you drive, chip and putt.  It is based on a popular Japanese version called “Park Golf”  USA Grass Golf is very easy to learn and enjoy. A portable game played anywhere there is space and open land.

No manicured greens or a bag full of expensive clubs needed, just a smooth grassy site or an indoor gym will work.  Ideal locations include parks, playgrounds, schools, churches, resorts, beaches or existing golf courses. To play Grass Golf all you need is 1 ball, 1 club, and a portable flag/hole with rules similar to regular golf just made simple.

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Strength or sports ability is not required to master the game.   It’s more important to get some walking, exercise and have fun. 9 holes on a Grass Golf course can be played in about 1 hour with the maximum distance of a hole being 101 yards.

It is perfect for the beginner and excellent introduction to the game of golf.

Grass Golf is perfect for PE programs at schools, park and recreation departments, senior centers, RV parks, resorts, youth clubs, family gatherings or by individuals.

My Love and Appreciation of Golf is Because…

Recently, I wrote an article that was a somewhat scathing account of my season working in a pro shop (that article is here). While it seemed like I was complaining or talking very negatively about working in the golf industry I wasn’t.

The reality is that while there might be a few negatives about working the counter in a pro shop and yes you do see and hear a lot of questionable things (or complaints) there is a lot that I love about it. Before I get into that, however, I just want to point out that at the root of my issues with working at a golf course in a pro shop is that my issues are mostly internal. Namely, my jealousy. I actually get jealous that golfers get out the way that they do but especially our starters and marshalls. Believe it or not, there are guys there that have north of 50-100 rounds of golf played. It must be nice!!

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The fall season. I love this time of the year in the golf industry.

So my love of working in the industry. There aren’t too many industry’s that I can think of where you can enjoy everything from seeing the sun rising, the smell in the air, seeing the wildlife, and the daily banter with individuals who are showing up to “your office” to take part in something that they enjoy. I was once told by a member at a course where I was the Director of Golf that “it’s not about the 5% that are assholes… that it’s about the 95% that aren’t”. He was right in that summary. Yes, you always remember the bad ones but that is human psychology too.

As mentioned, in that editorial I have some great members and guests that show up to my work. For the most part, they are always willing to have a laugh. Truth be told I work in a shop where Mike is a very common name. Out of three guys that work there (my GM notwithstanding), I’m the only one not named Mike. So to say that I’ve often been called Mike on more than one occasion isn’t saying much at all. As a matter of fact, while I can remember the names of 300 members, another 150 league player names and some green fee players I find it humorous that I get called Mike. I’m one person and yes I do wear a name tag that says “Alex”. But that’s okay, they’re excited to be there and maybe a tad distracted. So one day one of my members (Andy) heard this happen no less than 5 times in a short period of time as we were talking. As he walked out he says “Have a great day George” I laughed so hard. Ever since then, it’s been a running joke where we call each other the wrong name. My favourite so far is him calling me “Octavius”. Like I said, banter I love it and welcome it with open arms.

As much as I love the banter what I really look forward to (believe it or not) is Ladies League. After the rush of the weekend, our Ladies League takes place on Monday during the day and evening. It’s a terrific bunch of ladies that play and to be totally honest I look forward to them coming to the course. It’s not just about Blanche who supplies us in the Pro Shop with her jam but it’s the overall vibe of the group. Especially the ladies in the afternoon. They are such a fun group that while they banter they just love being at the course to play some golf. You talk about “growing the game” this is a large portion that the industry needs to realize. Women’s golf is a vast resource that needs to be tapped more across the entire golf industry. But there they are. They come to the course, play nine holes, and then drink wine and eat until the sun sets to mark the end of another day. For the most part, it truly is a social game and an evening out away from the office. I appreciate that!!

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The sun had set on this Ladies League Night.

I guess the last part that I love about working in the golf industry is the education part of it. From a teaching standpoint it’s always great to see the look in a student’s eyes when “they get it”, they make a swing and the ball comes off like it never had for them prior. It’s the part of the education when you break through to a new golfer when you explain why you park the golf cart parallel to the pin. Education, when you get a message through to golfers that there is a business side and why things have to be a certain way and there’s more involved than cutting grass and for them to just simply show up without a tee time… And they get “it”. Lastly, there’s the reason why I write in the first place and have this blog. Whether it’s sharing my opinion through editorials or writing reviews. I love educating people on what’s out there and that there’s another opinion that may not be as popular or the same as their own.

This is why I love and appreciate golf.

Until The Next Tee!!

#seeuonthenexttee #fightandgrind

WOMEN’S GOLF DAY REACHES OVER 25 MILLION PEOPLE

Women’s Golf Day 2019 blew all expectations out of the water last week as it smashed previous records for venues, countries and overall reach. The global celebration of golf succeeded in its goal of uniting women around the world, with 845 locations across 46 countries hosting WGD events that combined socializing and golf.

Outside of the course, the figures were equally astounding, with over 25 million people viewing WGD content for a total of over 47 million impressions across social media that included some of the biggest brands, influencers, and celebrities around the game.

Elisa Gaudet, Founder of Women’s Golf Day was blown away by the support for this year’s event and is delighted to be a part of the momentum that is gathering in the women’s game. She said, “From year one we’ve combined easy, fun golfing activities at golf venues with a bigger conversation about the importance of the global female golf market. Every year we’ve grown but 2019 has been a tipping point for uniting industry leaders, teaching pros, programs, courses, and events to celebrate women and golf for one day.”

Akron, Ohio - Firestone CC

Firestone Country Club. Akron, Ohio

The feeling of unity across the globe was reflected in comments from venues that hosted WGD events. Benedict Riches, CEO, Leadbetter Golf commented “We are incredibly proud to support Women’s Golf Day at The Leadbetter Golf Academy World Headquarters at Champions Gate, Orlando and across our academies worldwide. This is a fantastic initiative and perfectly aligns with our mission of building a lifelong game for golfers of all ages and abilities. We hope the 135 women who attended our event in Orlando not only improved their golf swing but made new friends as they joined the community of women golfers united across the world.”

Across digital and social media, WGD 2019 succeeded in driving the conversation about the women’s game with a huge variety of content being produced across WGD channels, international golf influencers, celebrities, brands, pros, and golf venues. Content varied from video clips and photos of participants at venues across the globe, often dressed in WGD red and white; women swinging a club for the first time and socializing with new friends, to some of the biggest names in the sport and from the world of entertainment showing their support for the day. Some of the best-known names that joined in on the #WomensGolfDay conversation include Tisha Alyn, Nikki B, Matt Ginella, Chris Harrison, Niall Horan, Blair O’Neal, Greg Norman, Gary Player, Annika Sorenstam, Paige Spiranac and Michelle Wie.

Callaway Golf celebrates Women's Golf Day

Callaway Golf HQ in Carlsbad, CA.

With Women’s Golf Day 2019 having been such a resounding success, Elisa Gaudet plans to build on the momentum and make sure that the conversation converts into action. She explains, “Women’s Golf Day is the start of the journey for so many women and that’s something of which I’m incredibly proud. There are so many great teaching pros and programs available already in existence, so if we can help women understand what a fantastic game golf is and the value of the communities that exist within the game then I know we can create the next generation of female golfers. The way that the industry has come together to show women’s golf at its best is so inspiring and I can’t wait to see how we can be at the heart of driving that conversation again in years to come.”

 

*46 Countries participating in WGD 2019

Armenia, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, United Arab Emirates,United Kingdom and Vietnam

Mauritius - Constance Belle Mare Plage

 

ABOUT WOMEN’S GOLF DAY

Women’s Golf Day (WGD) is a global golf initiative launched in 2016 to introduce women of all ages to the game and encourage existing female golfers to “tee it up” in a fun and highly inclusive environment. The one day, four-hour event has now taken place in 900 locations in 52 countries since its inception and has introduced thousands of new golfers to the sport while transcending language, culture, religion, and race to celebrate golf, women, and community. WGD created an incredible global community in three years and has the support of almost every major golfing governing body and organization. WGD’s primary hashtag #WomensGolfDay received more than 15 million global impressions to nearly 10 million users across Twitter and Instagram.

Industry Around the Globe Unites in Support of Women’s Golf Day

June 4th 2019 will be the largest ever single-day celebration of women’s golf with venues from every corner of the globe joining forces to promote the sport. With a growing profile and impressive roll call of supporters, it’s hard to imagine that a little over four years ago Women’s Golf Day was simply a pipe dream for founder Elisa Gaudet. Her commitment has galvanized the industry, bringing together a phenomenal number of industry influencers from around the world.

Over the past three years, WGD events have been held at over 900 venues in 52 countries and have delivered golf experiences to more than 50,000 women and girls. This year what is remarkable is the growth of the campaign in countries who have been involved since year one. In Nigeria thanks to development work with the Nigerian Golf Federation a record 14 venues are already signed up to run their 4-hour experiences and in the Czech Republic, there are an incredible 35 participating venues all preparing to welcome women and girls through their doors.

Czech - Golf Resort Lipiny WGD 2018

As the campaign has grown from strength to strength, its impact has become apparent beyond Women’s Golf Day itself as Elisa explains, “What we are beginning to see is a deep-rooted change from the golf club level through to national organizations. I set out on this journey because I wanted more women to try the sport that has brought so much joy to my life. I am really proud to have inspired others to run their own campaigns because we have a singular aim, which is of paramount importance to the future of golf.”

8 new countries signed up in 2018, including Hong Kong which makes an impressive return in 2018 with more venues signing up. Vietnam and Lithuania are amongst the newcomers for 2019, demonstrating the global reach of the campaign. Mike Hendrix, Vice President GolfNow Business Solutions, who have been ardent supporters of WGD year on year isn’t surprised by the continued growth as he explains, “Our Business Services team has been speaking with hundreds of golf courses in North America about hosting their own event on June 4th and the response has been great. We’ve seen golfers through social media asking if their local course will be hosting an event and we’ve seen golf instructors step up and create and support events. Our golf course partners love this initiative and we salute Elisa’s passion and drive.

Nigerian Golf Federation WGD 2017

 

This year’s WGD campaign is extremely personal for Elisa who has partnered with Play for P.I.N.K.®, a non-profit organization that donates 100% of its proceeds to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. She concludes, “This is a fantastic charity which is very close to my heart. We hope that this new partnership will help raise awareness and much-needed funds for breast cancer research through the power of golf.”

For anyone interested in taking part at a WGD event, keep an eye on the WGD social media at @womensgolfday and #WomensGolfDay and check into http://www.womensgolfday.com to register to take part at one of the hundreds of WGD events taking place on June 4th .

 

ABOUT WOMEN’S GOLF DAY
Women’s Golf Day (WGD) is a global golf initiative launched in 2016 to introduce women of all ages to the game and encourage existing female golfers to “tee it up” in a fun and highly inclusive environment. The one day, four-hour event has now taken place in 900 locations in 52 countries since its inception and has introduced thousands of new golfers to the sport while transcending language, culture, religion, and race to celebrate golf, women, and community. WGD created an incredible global community in three years and has the support of almost every major golfing governing body and organization. WGD’s primary hashtag #WomensGolfDay received more than 15 million global impressions to nearly 10 million users across Twitter and Instagram.

Lauren Thompson & Elisa Gaudet GC Morning Drive High Res

To learn more about Women’s Golf Day and its upcoming event on Tuesday, June 4th 2019 visit http://www.womensgolfday.com @womensgolfday, #WomensGolfDay