The IX: Golf Thursday with Sarah Kellam, October 22, 2020
"It's about asking for better support" — Interview: Diane Knox — Must-click women's golf links
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What (golf) Women Want
Last Monday, Golf Digest dropped an episode of their Local Knowledge podcast titled “The bootstrapping life of an LPGA Tour player” and there was quite a response. Many women that I follow on social media shared the post about the podcast to their Instagram stories and a slew of comments, both positive and negative, were made in reaction to the episode.
I’m not the kind of person who calls out internet trolls nor do I want to stir that pot in any sort of way, but I have some thoughts of my own about the podcast and want to share what I think host Keely Levins was trying to convey with this release.
Having listened to the episode a few times, I was really struck by the interviews with Lindsey Weaver, Angel Yin, and Meg Mallon. All three poignantly shared their experiences from both a modern and early 2000s perspective, effectively highlighting some of the discrepancies between the men’s and women’s games that golf fans, including myself, wouldn’t immediately think about.
It’s common knowledge that LPGA Tour players earn less money than PGA Tour players, but it’s easy to forget that it costs just as much to support a professional golf career no matter your gender or the tour that you choose to play on. Thus, playing for smaller purses and making less money per made cut can really affect the financial situation of a player and their ability to continue their professional career.
A lack of sponsorships for players may not seem like a pressing issue, but, when you consider that these women are living off the income generated by making the cut each week instead of a contractual deal, it brings to light the grit that they must possess to not only play the game, but to simply survive. So many things are considered givens for both male and female professional golfers. However, that’s just not the case for the LPGA Tour.
I think the most common misconception that arises when the disparities between women’s and men’s sports are pointed out is that there’s frustration and bitterness on the female side of things. While that could sometimes be the case, I think this episode of Local Knowledge showed anything but those emotions.
Keely plainly presented the facts of life as an LPGA Tour player and the difficulties that these women face compared to their male counterparts. A lack of sponsorship opportunities and smaller purse sizes affect everything from who you can afford to have on your bag and on your team to how you travel and what events that you get to play in.
I don’t think that it’s fair to qualify any of this information as bitterness, but rather to recognize that it makes being successful as a LPGA Tour professional much tougher — that these women have to fight and work harder to achieve their goals. And I think it’s fair to say that, while money and ample sponsorship dollars would be great, what these women really want is respect and support for what they do.
Now, if you choose to delve into comment sections, you would find plenty of them on Golf Digest’s post about this episode. Again, I don’t deal with trolls, but the comments of one particular person showed me what the women of the LPGA are really looking for when it comes to this debate. Ryann O’Toole, 3-time winner on the tour, went to bat on the topic on Instagram, classily debating with commenters on what the podcast really was trying to convey.
I don’t want to speak for any LPGA professional, but I’m willing to bet that this sentiment is shared by most if not all of those who compete on tour. Recognizing the sheer amount of skill and the effort that it takes to participate at the professional level really matters to these players. O’Toole’s comment proves that having more support for women’s golf is really what the argument is all about. And that starts with us.
With that being said, I want to challenge you. Go listen to this podcast episode. Seek out more women’s golf content. Turn on the LPGA. When you have the opportunity, talk about it with other people! Support these women competing at the highest level with a refreshed understanding of everything that it takes for them to tee it up each week and know that your support can really, truly make a difference for these women.
To listen to this Local Knowledge episode, click here. It’s also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.
This week in women’s golf
(Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. ESPECIALLY NOW, as newsrooms are forced to make difficult choices. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me! firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Two positive COVID-19 tests at this week’s LPGA Tour event, but not from players. (via Golf Digest)
U.S. Women’s Open to be played without fans. (via Golfweek)
Hyo Joo Kim captures KLPGA major title. (via LPGA.com)
Take a look back at Nancy Lopez and the LPGA in the 80s. (via LPGA.com)
LPGA players acting as role models for girls at risk. (via LPGA.com)
Australian championships canceled for 2021 due to COVID-19. (via LPGA.com)
The Solheim Cup will be held in Spain for first time in 2023. (via Golf.com)
Baylor standout making the most of her game despite missing events sidelined by COVID-19. (via Golfweek)
The QBE Shootout and CME Group Tour Championship will have no fans this year. (via Golfweek)
Final notes from event held at Mission Inn on the Symetra Tour. (via Symetratour.com)
September 18-24 scheduled for 2023 Solheim Cup. (via LPGA.com)
Drive On Championship Reynolds Lake Oconee on the docket for LPGA. (via LPGA.com)
Drive On for the Future virtual scramble announced by LPGA. (via LPGA.com)
Major champion’s mindset at KPMG. (via Golf.com)
What to expect with fans at 2021 Solheim Cup. (via The Detroit News)
Golf legend leaves estate to USGA. (via Golfweek)
Mickey Wright left her estate to the USGA. Here’s why that matters. (via Golf Digest)
Tweet of the Week
Five at The IX: Interview with Diane Knox of Secret Golf
Tell us about yourself. How did you get your start as a golf content producer and host?
My name is Diane Knox, I’m Scottish, moved to the US in 2016 and since then have been working in golf – a sentence I never thought I’d say! My background is media, radio in particular, and I worked as a radio host in Scotland for 12 years. During this time, I got to try my hand at a few different areas of the industry too, such as TV and live sports hosting, and it all kind of fell together when I relocated across the pond. My brother, Russell, plays on the PGA TOUR and golf has consumed our lives since he was young – I rebelled and hated the game during my teenage years! But he helped me with some contacts when I moved to Florida and the rest is history.
Knowing people always helps, but having transferrable skills, a lot of experience and a good social media profile is key. And being a nice person who’s willing to talk to anyone and go the extra mile to make an impression! I started working with Secret Golf in September 2016 and have been part of the (small) team ever since. I was introduced to a well-known golf producer called Judith Coleman, who had worked at Golf Channel and the TOUR, and she was working with golfer Steve Elkington on the Secret Golf TV show. She gave me my first job in the industry, and as the company has evolved I’ve stuck to my role as content producer & host, as well as working as player liaison for the many golfers we have as part of the team.
What platforms do you create content and host for?
We create content for Secret Golf – our website, app and social media platforms. I host our weekly podcast too. We also work alongside SportsGrid to produce a weekly one-hour show on the golf tournament. I do freelance work for the PGA TOUR and host their highlight show, The Takeaway, when the regular host, Teryn Gregson, is unavailable. That’s always a lot of fun! And in addition to both of those, I am part of the content team for Foresight Sports, creating content for their website and social platforms. I love the technology side of the game and the way it’s trending with the need for speed and distance!
When did Secret Golf decide to start The SG Tour Report on the SportsGrid network?
We’ve actually been working on the concept for the past few years; we saw where golf was going in the betting/gambling/fantasy market and knew we wanted to be in on the action. We work so closely with so many people at the forefront of golf – the golfers themselves, caddies, coaches, etc that we obtain so much knowledge week after week on what’s going on at tournaments. We combine that with the expertise of Steve Elkington who played on TOUR for years, and our patented form of stat analysis to come up with The SG Tour Report for the week. The show airs on the SportsGrid network every Wednesday at 2PM EST.
You picked Scotsman Martin Laird at 250/1 as a dark horse to win the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and he made birdie on the second hole to capture the title. What goes into making a pick like that?
I just picked the fellow Scotsman!! I knew Martin Laird had great form around TPC Summerlin over the years, I knew what kind of stuff he’d been working with his coach, and knew he’d been recovering from a knee injury – so that probably meant he’d spent a lot of time perfecting his short game and putting! Also, when we looked at the skillset required to do well around the course and matched that with his game, he shot up the board. So I trusted my gut and went with it, and it paid off. The Scottish fans loved me!
Any advice for those looking to start gambling on golf?
Well, watch our show and listen to the podcast! I never want to be responsible for how people spend their money, but you can start with free fantasy line-ups and take it from there. It’s so fun to follow the tournament over 4-days and see who can last the pace! And play against your friends, the trash-talking (and gloating) is the best bit.