LPGA Tour is not a hit and giggle so why is it viewed as the cute little sister?

Ronan MacNamara
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Nelly Korda (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Women’s golf is very different to the men’s game but that doesn’t make it better, nor does it make it worse. It’s just golf.

The LPGA Tour is now starting to punch at a weight that is befitting of the quality of player, with a record $101 million set to be won across the upcoming season which kicks off this week at the Tournament of Champions.

It still seems that the best women in the game of golf don’t get the credit they deserve and Nelly Korda’s pre-tournament press conference centred around how wonderful it must have been to play with the men in the QBE Shootout and the actual ‘hit n giggle’ PNC Championship – a tournament that was about one man and one man only. OK maybe a certain child as well…

It’s disappointing that in the presence of Korda, a World Number One in 2021, a major winner, an Olympic gold medallist  and eight-time LPGA Tour winner, it seemed to be about how lucky and fortunate she was to play with… Denny McCarthy. Hardly a mouthwatering pairing. Nelly is twice the player McCarthy is and is currently enjoying a career he could only dream of.

More mixed events in golf would be welcome but not if they are going to be viewed as a winner of a raffle experience for the ladies who are there to make the event a glorified pro-am.

Nelly stole the show at the QBE Shootout, proving that women can be just as good as the men on any given day and she received widespread praise from her competitors and fans alike.

To her credit, she wasn’t entertaining any talk of playing with the men as a lucky opportunity and rightly highlighted the standard of the LPGA Tour.

“That they should watch more women’s golf. (Laughter.) Honestly, no, it was such an incredible experience. They were very kind with their words towards me, but I think if they came out here and watched all the girls compete they would be equally impressed.

“Just shows the product that we have out here, and hopefully we continue to grow that.”

Nelly is a fantastic role model so this response is naturally generous, but it was tinged with frustration. This is one of the best players in the game of golf – if not the best – and it was portrayed that she should be delighted to be afforded the chance to play with the men as if it’s a career achievement that ranks far beyond anything she has won.

Should a serial winner in the women’s game be put on the same shelf as a journeyman PGA Tour pro?

There is no way Nelly was there to learn from the men. Surely, if anything, those who praised her at the QBE (McCarthy, Max Homa, Kevin Kisner etc) should be taking notes on what a major champion and world number one does?

There are a lot more run of the mill dead rubber PGA Tour events compared to their female counterparts where the big names almost always show up.

The LPGA Tour is great to watch and deserves better treatment.

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