Inside the LPGA’s partnership with Naomi Osaka’s Hana Kuma

The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, Feb. 29, 2024

Happy Golf Thursday! It’s been quite the week for the LPGA. The Match kicked things off on Monday with Lexi Thompson and Rose Zhang teeing it up alongside Rory McIlroy and Max Homa in West Palm Beach, and yesterday the official announcement of the tour joining forces with Hana Kuma, an Emmy-nominated multicultural creative house co-founded by Osaka and her agent Stuart Duguid, was made, leaving many (many) questions.

Continue reading with a subscription to The IX

Get unlimited access to our exclusive coverage of a varitety of women’s sports, including our premium newsletter by subscribing today!

Join today

What does this collaboration mean? What will it look like? Who will be involved? Here’s what we know, as of right now.

The IX Newsletter: Six different women’s sports in your inbox every week!

Subscribe now and join us, just $6 a month or $60 a year. It’s the women’s sports media network we all wished for, and now it’s here!

First and foremost, this is a brand-building pilot program for athletes on the LPGA, designed to develop and launch personal brand campaigns that highlight their individual interests and backgrounds. According to the Washington Post, all players had the chance to apply for the pilot program, but only eight athletes were selected to participate in the program through an application process based on a variety of criteria.

The selected athletes, who have yet to be named, will engage in the full pilot program receiving tailored assistance to elevate their personal brands. Though the larger focus is on those selected for the pilot program, the program will also extend resources to all players through a workshop that will take place in May.

I’ll be the first to admit—when this partnership was first teased at the CME Group Tour Championship, I didn’t understand it. The synergies between Hana Kuma, Osaka, and the tour didn’t make sense in my brain. But a lot of that was due to my own ignorance. I had no clue that Osaka had a media company or the types of things that it produced, but now that we’ve received a few more breadcrumbs of what this brand-building program will look like I’m beyond fascinated to see how this will shake out.

Golf’s successful expansion into being a mainstream media sport requires it to be visible (and accessible) to “outsiders” or more casual viewers, and it requires investing in women’s golf—this partnership is doing both. There’s a reason the golf world reacts (dramatically, if I’m being candid) when celebrities like DJ Khaled or Justin Bieber post themselves playing golf, it’s because we still think we’re a quiet kept secret but the world is paying attention, it always has, but sometimes for the wrong reason.

For far too long, the same stories in golf have been in the spotlight, so it’s time to try something new and humanize the sport in a way that is refreshing and innovative. I hope that Hana Kuma showcases the humility of the LPGA Tour so that the rest of the world gets to grow to admire these athletes the way we do as long-time fans of the game.

Let’s all take a page out of the Hana Kuma book and, “disrupt the default”.

Pre-order “Rare Gems” and save 30%

Howard Megdal, founder and editor of The Next and The IX, will release his next book on May 7, 2024. This deeply reported story follows four connected generations of women’s basketball pioneers, from Elvera “Peps” Neuman to Cheryl Reeve and from Lindsay Whalen to Sylvia Fowles and Paige Bueckers.

If you enjoy his coverage of women’s basketball every Wednesday, you will love “Rare Gems: How Four Generations of Women Paved the Way for the WNBA.” Click the link below and enter MEGDAL30 at checkout.

This week in women’s golf

If you have links you wish to share for Golf Thursday, sources for golf news, or want to talk about anything at all, you can email me at ! Discussion of any kind is always welcome…I mean it…MESSAGE ME!


HSBC Women’s World Champions links:

Is the HSBC Women’s World Championship losing its luster? ‘Asia’s major’ missing several U.S. stars

The Match: Best moments

5 things to know about Patty Tavatanakit’s dream win at 2024 Honda LPGA Thailand

2024 Solheim Cup: Meet the European team’s four vice captains

2024 Paris Olympics: 150 Days Ou

LET News

Mel Reid to join Team Europe as Solheim Cup vice captain

Bronte Law wins,  Pauline Roussin-Bouchard finishes second in Morocco

Epson Tour News

Here’s why the Epson Tour Championship (which is on the move) will be more important than ever

NCAA/Amateur News

We’re a few weeks away from the ANWA, so get to know who’s in the field

Want women’s hockey content? Subscribe to The Ice Garden!

Here at The IX, we’re collaborating with The Ice Garden to bring you Hockey Friday. And if you want the women’s hockey goodness 24/7? Well, you should subscribe to The Ice Garden now!

Five at The IX: Quotes from Singapore

Patty Tavatanakit on how she is feeling after her two wins in back-to-back starts on professional tours

”Yeah, I mean, like I said, it (my body) is not at a hundred percent. But everything is just between the ears. I feel like if I tell myself I’m not tired, then I’m not going to be as tired, in comparison to like, oh, my God, I’m just so tired. It’s just really how you talk to yourself. I am working on staying fresh. I kind of moved around, get my body going and feeling a little bit more athletic throughout the week. So, I mean, two weeks ago it was amazing, something that happened to me, but it’s also in the past now and I have a lot more golf to look forward to for this week and the rest of the season. So I feel like I’m back to work.” 

Jin Young Ko on what she enjoys about this tournament and the pressures to win a third time

“Yeah, I mean, when I think about HSBC, it’s always happy because I won twice. And time flies so fast. I can’t believe it was one year ago. I’m very excited to be back here…I don’t have any pressure because I was lucky to win twice in this tournament, but I don’t want to make me work harder and any pressure from there. This week I’ll just try to best myself and see what happens.” 

Sponsor invite and amateur Xington Chen on her nerves on the first tee and advice from Annika Sorenstam

“Annika was telling me just stick to my process and trust, and also have fun on the course, which I think I managed to do on the last few holes. I was so scared to meet her yesterday, I felt like today wasn’t that bad. So like calmed me down a bit more. I managed to focus on my game and stuff just like being so starstruck about everyone around me.”

Andrea Lee on the atmosphere in Singapore

“I love Singapore. I love being here. The people are so nice and the food is amazing and the shopping is even better. Yeah, I just love coming back here and it’s always exciting to play in Asia in front of some of these big crowds. Yeah, it’s really exciting and I look forward to the rest of the week.”

Linn Grant on her ball-striking in her first round

“I was a bit, I would say confused with my ball-striking for the past week. Like this morning, I really tried to take my time on the range and find something that felt, like, good enough, and that I can play with, and I feel — I was trying to be very focused on every shot and not just take anything for granted. So in my mind, I was just playing very simple, just thinking one shot at a time. Especially with the wind, that’s usually a good way of playing.”

The IX and The Equalizer are teaming up

The IX is partnering with The Equalizer to bring more women’s sports stories to your inbox. Subscribers to The IX receive 50% off their subscription to The Equalizer for 24/7 coverage of women’s soccer.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Addie Parker