Stats and betting will grow the LPGA Tour — Interview with Taylor Britton — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Sarah Kellam, June 24, 2021
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The LPGA Tour is getting a stats system…FINALLY!
After decades of being told that there’s no numerical evidence that the women of the LPGA Tour are just as good as their male counterparts and after decades of asking someone to step up and implement a statistics system, it’s finally happening. We are finally getting statistical data for the women’s game.
KPMG, the title sponsor of the Women’s PGA Championship, announced Tuesday that they will start officially tracking scoring data beginning this week at Atlanta Athletic Club. With their new analytics system dubbed “KPMG Performance Insights”, caddies will track each shot their player hits, detailing the lie and club selection, and then turn in that information following each round.
In a sport that’s as numbers-driven as golf and in a world that loves to qualify everything with data, this development for the women’s game is HUGE. It’s the first time ever that women’s golf will have readily available performance statistics and this technology will undeniably change the future of the sport dramatically in many ways.
First: it will finally provide a substantial basis for those of us who consistently proclaim that the women of the LPGA Tour are some of the best golfers in the world, even better than some of the men. Never before have we had statistics to back up those claims and now that we do, it will be much easier to get the naysayers to see our point of view.
The beautiful thing about numbers is that they can’t be argued about or modified or manipulated. They’re just cold, hard, objective facts and those cold, hard, objective facts are going to be the ammunition proving our beliefs about women’s golf in the very near future.
The LPGA just recently announced its partnership with BetMGM, its first real venture into the sports betting arena, so coupling that with this data will also boost fan engagement in the golf gambling space, which should in turn ramp up viewership and get people invested in women’s golf.
As we know, people will bet on anything, but also enjoy having information they can use to better inform their wagers. Having this resource available to help them gamble more effectively will be enticing and make women’s golf a more valuable entity within the space.
If people are betting, they’re watching and there’s nothing the LPGA Tour could benefit more from than fostering a new fandom. This is a massive step in a positive direction towards increasing engagement.
Lastly, it’s going to allow these women to get better at their profession. These elite players obviously know where their games lack consistency because they diligently study their own play. What they may not be aware of is how many strokes they gain or lose to the field within a certain area and how that impacts their overall results.
Being able to quantify how and where you need to improve makes it that much easier to work on your inadequacies. Not only will the KPMG Performance Insights system encourage fans to get invested in women’s golf, it will also give the players another tool in their arsenal to hone their craft, allowing the best of the best to get even better.
The excitement is valid, but we must temper our expectations just a bit. This is a new system and like with anything new, there will be some hiccups and kinks that need to be worked out. Not to mention the fruits of this labor won’t be palpably felt until we have a year’s worth of data compiled.
But, it’s a reason to be optimistic. The tides are turning and things seem to be slowly starting to swing in our favor. KPMG Performance Insights is a major step in the right direction and it’s going to be fascinating to watch the numbers start rolling in at this week’s major championship.
There are still so many things that need to change in women’s golf. We still need all of the financial resources and fan engagement and hours of coverage.
But, hey, stats are a start.
This week in women’s golf
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KPMG will be the data and analytics advisor for the LPGA Tour. (via LPGA.com)
The LPGA Tour will finally be getting statistics thanks to KPMG. (via LPGA.com)
There’s a new performance tracking system making its debut on the LPGA this week. (via Golfweek.com)
KPMG Performance Insights will be the first edition of a stats system for the LPGA Tour. (via GolfDigest.com)
More on the stats system that KPMG is rolling out at the Atlanta Athletic Club. (via GolfChannel.com)
A preview of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. (via ESPN.com)
Brittany Henderson’s visa issues have been resolved and she’s back on Brooke’s bag. (via GolfChannel.com)
Sei Young Kim will be looking to defend her title in Atlanta. (via GolfDigest.com)
Danielle Kang is one of the players not happy about rangefinders being used on Tour. (via GolfDigest.com)
Rangefinders are permitted at this week’s major, but there are mixed feelings about it. (via GolfChannel.com)
Five storylines to follow at this week’s major in Atlanta. (via GOLF.com)
Some players to watch at the KPMG at Atlanta Athletic Club. (via GolfDigest.com)
A look at the odds and thoughts on who to pick at Atlanta Athletic Club. (via Golfweek.com)
Here’s how to watch the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. (via LPGA.com)
These players have been most impacted by the Olympic qualification delay. (via GolfChannel.com)
Danielle Kang writes notes everywhere and it’s helped her become an Olympian. (via GolfChannel.com)
Yuka Saso is another player whose first win was a major. (via Golfweek.com)
The story of Katie Rudolph, Megha Ganne’s instructor. (via LPGA.com)
Check out this piece about Scott Thompson, Lexi’s dad, in honor of Father’s Day. (via LPGA.com)
Inbee Park doesn’t let lacking distance get in the way of her game or her HOF career. (via GolfDigest.com)
Check out this interview with Kate Tempesta, founder of the Urban Golf Academy. (via GolfChannel.com)
It’s another episode of the Amy and Adam Show getting you ready for the KPMG Women’s PGA. (via GolfChannel.com)
It was Nelly Korda with the win last week. (via Golfweek.com)
Nelly Korda won her fifth LPGA Tour title on Sunday. (via GolfDigest.com)
Nelly Korda fired a career-low 62 in the third round last week. (via LPGA.com)
Lindy Duncan had a 17-year-old on her bag last week at Blythefield CC. (via Golfweek.com)
It was Grant Waite on the bag for Gabi Ruffels at the Meijer LPGA Classic. (via Golfweek.com)
These are the top storylines at the Prasco Charity Championship this week. (via SymetraTour.com)
Here are the featured groups at the Prasco Charity Championship on the Symetra Tour this week. (via SymetraTour.com)
These former European Solheim Cuppers are committed to playing in the Aramco Team Series – London in July. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Here’s what to watch for at the Tipsport Czech Ladies Open. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Sandra Gal is back playing again, teeing it up this week on the LET. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Look back at the last two editions of the Czech Ladies Open. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Annika Sorenstam is happy to be the European PING Junior Solheim Cup team captain this year. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Alice Hewson now sits in second in the Solheim Cup standings for Europe. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Here’s an update from European Solheim Cup Catriona Matthew. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Meet the mascot of the 2023 Solheim Cup, Sol. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Tweet of the Week
Five at The IX: Taylor Britton, Marketing & Event Manager for the ANNIKA Foundation
How did you become involved with the ANNIKA Foundation? What are your specific job responsibilities?
I began working for the ANNIKA Foundation in March of 2017. While I didn’t golf too much growing up, my cousin plays professional golf so I spent a lot of family time at golf tournaments which were a lot of fun. Once I saw the job opening and more specifically who I would be working for, I knew I had to apply.
I started out as a Marketing and Event Coordinator where my main projects were re-creating the website, logos, social media strategy, and charting a new course for content creation. It was exciting to be first starting out and be given so much responsibility and have so much trust put into my work. Since it such a small organization, everyone wears a lot of hats and that is one of the things that I love about my job.
As the years have gone on, I have continued to handle the marketing side of things while also working more closely with Casey Ceman (COO) on event operations, sponsorships, and more. The best part about the job is being able to work for such a strong, inspiring female athlete who has chosen to give back and provide incredible opportunities to girls around the world. It is extremely rewarding to be a small part of the amazing work Annika does.
Why is the goal of the ANNIKA Foundation so important and how is it getting more young women involved in golf?
I would say the most important part of our goal is opportunity. Traveling to different parts of the world for our events, you see so many girls with the potential to do something great whether on or off the course, and Annika and the Foundation are there to support their dreams. I think many people assume that we are only focused on creating LPGA stars but that’s not really the case. Annika undoubtedly teaches skills of the game but also encourages positive personal development through an emphasis on nutrition, fitness, etc. so that these girls grow up to be their best versions of themselves.
Many of the places that we host events have few resources to put toward hosting junior girls’ events, especially to the degree that we do so in the States. I think being in these different regions and inviting players from all over the continent to come and compete in these elite events makes the girls excited about the sport and excited for their future. With this comes new friendships, new connections, and new experiences which I think leads to more girls becoming interested in the game.
Do you think women’s golf is growing? How so?
I do think women’s golf is growing but I believe there is always room to do more. The numbers speak for themselves with higher purses and more TV time. I think there are a lot more resources for women in the game; there are more and more organizations dedicated to supporting women’s golf like the ANNIKA Foundation does.
Unfortunately, though, I think that golf is still such a male-dominated game and many clubs and courses still portray that, so I think it may turn some women off from wanting to try it. I know I was intimidated the first time I played 18 holes, and at some places, I still feel a little uncomfortable.
I think if we want to grow women’s golf, it has to start with the average golfers who may want to play with their significant others or friends or those who’re looking for a new form of exercise and providing them with an inviting and comfortable environment to play.
How important is creating a lasting impact on and off the golf course to the foundation and its mission?
It is very important. Our slogan is “More Than Golf,” which we really try to emphasize at all our events. As I mentioned earlier, we are not just focused on golf techniques and skills. It’s about setting these girls up for success no matter what they do with their lives. We have so many players who have competed in our events that are now extremely successful in other careers outside of golf. For example, Abby Carlson, who played for Vanderbilt and recently competed in the 2021 Augusta National Women’s Amateur, is now a stress analyst for secondary structures on NASA’s Space Launch System. There are so many other life lessons you can learn from playing the game and we want these girls to know that even if you don’t end up playing professionally, the opportunities for success are still out there.
What are some of your favorite or most impactful memories from your time with the organization?
This is a hard one because I have had some amazing experiences over the past 4 years. I think some of my best memories come from Annika’s clinics at our junior invitationals. Usually, at every clinic, Annika shares a few stories from her career and all the girls listen in amazement. You can probably guess I have heard/seen A LOT of clinics, but I still catch myself with goosebumps every time. Hearing the stories about the time she set an LPGA Tour record by shooting a 59 or how she played with the men on the PGA Tour in 2003, or about her first major championship win, it just never gets old. And even more so, it is truly mind-blowing that Annika has accomplished so much in her life and still chooses to do more. I am extremely grateful to work for not only a legend in the game of golf, but also an incredibly hard-working woman and mom who is living proof that you can do anything.