The IX: Golf Thursday with Carly Grenfell, June 20, 2019

Major Championship week — Interview with Mia Hamm — Must-click links in women's golf

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KPMG Women’s PGA Championship

Hello, friends. I’m writing to you from Chaska, Minnesota today at the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, where we teed off for Round 1 bright and early this morning! It’s already shaping up to be a pretty exciting week with a lot of awesome storylines coming together.

Whether it’s Brooke Henderson coming off her ninth career win — the most-ever by a Canadian on the PGA and LPGA Tour — or Lexi Thompson looking to become World No. 1, or defending Champion Sung Hyun Park being primed to win Major Championship for the third straight year, the buzz is real!

Hazeltine National Golf Club is also a highly touted golf course — and a pretty difficult one at that. It will present the longest test in the 65-year history of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Playing at 6,807 yards, Hazeltine will break the record previously established at Kemper Lakes in Kildeer, Illinois, which measured 6,741 yards last year.

So far, players have given plenty of high praise to the setup, so it will certainly be a fun challenge. Outside of hosting 156 of the best LPGA players in the world at one of the most historic courses in golf, there’s another component of this championship that make it really unique.

Through our partnership with KPMG, each year, we hold a Women’s Leadership Summit that aims to empower women on and off the golf course. The Summit is an investment in women leaders aspiring to reach the C-suite by providing content, tools and networking to encourage their advancement.

But let’s not forget about the rockstar lineup of speakers that this summit attracts. This year, speakers included Condoleezza Rice, soccer icon Mia Hamm, PGA President Suzy Whaley, Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell, business Chairman Peter Grauer and KPMG CEO Lynn Doughtie. More insight from the legendary Mia Hamm below, by the way!

Lynn Doughtie mentioned something yesterday in a press conference that speaks exactly to how powerful an initiative like this is. She said that nearly half of the women who have been part of our previous Summits have been promoted. How cool is that? We are actually celebrating five years this year of KPMG being our title sponsor! They truly have helped elevate this championship in a unique way, and we are seeing results on both sides – inspiring greatness and future leaders but continuing to showcase these LPGA players and provide them with an experience they won’t forget. I can tell you that it’s working, as the crowds were already lining the ropes early this morning for Round 1 action!

I hope you’ll tune in to the championship at some point this weekend! The broadcast will be on Golf Channel, but you can also check out the social media coverage on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter — @KPMGWomensPGA. It’s bound to be a thrilling few days in Chaska and we are pumped to see who we will crown a Champion on Sunday!

This Week in Women’s Golf

Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me!

Hazeltine National is the latest course to challenge LPGA Players.

Take a peek at some of the featured groups at tee times for this week.

A heartfelt letter from Stacy Lewis to her daughter Chesnee.

The KPMG Women’s PGA is opening doors beyond golf.

A great breakdown by ESPN on players to watch at the KPMG Women’s PGA!

Canada’s finest Brooke Henderson’s success is a family affair.

Michell Wie inspired by NBA Players, will start her comeback at Hazeltine.

Here’s Henderson’s interview after she became the winningest Canadian golfer.

The LPGA is a global opportunity for a variety of reasons.

There’s a handful of LPGA players getting their first taste of Minnesota this week!

World No. 1 Jin Young Ko isn’t shy about her crush on the other World No. 1.

There were crazy delays at the Meijer LPGA Classic last week but the show went on.

Danielle Kang loves golf, but isn’t consumed by it.

Gary Woodland and Amy Brockerstette: friends forever.

Tweet of the Week

Five at The IX: Mia Hamm

Mia Hamm, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, two-time Fifa Women’s World Cup Champion and the 2019 KPMG Inspire Greatness Award Winner, spoke to the media yesterday afternoon at Hazeltine. She’s had a chance to watch some of these players in action and, as mentioned above, take part in the annual KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit.

It’s clear that your leadership was such a component of that team 20 years ago. How did you manage to be such an effective leader?

I think we all have our own leadership style. Sometimes we just don’t know what it is. And I think through trial and error you kind of search for that. I was very fortunate to have some incredible leaders on our national team. And through discussion and reading interviews that they did, I realized what my role and what my leadership style was. And I think when I was younger, I would beat myself up because I wanted to be like them. But I wasn’t like Julie or Carla. I had to embrace my own style and who I was. And they really helped me kind of connect with that. And once I figured that out, the game became much more enjoyable. And I think I just gave myself a little bit of a break and my game was able to grow faster than it had been in the past.

How have you worked to find that work-life balance that our athletes on the LPGA Tour talk about all the time as well?

All these components — my family, my work with the foundation — I do camps with two former teammates — Team First, with Kristine Lilly and Tisha Venturini — opportunities like I’m here today, enabled me to grow and become a more well-rounded person, which I feel makes me a better mom. It’s hard to leave your kids, especially when they have so much going on in their lives. But I know the lessons and the growth that I’m having here and being with my teammates, because I learn from them every single day, will help me with the life challenges that my kids have and how I can better prepare them for life.

You’ve been such an advocate for Title IX and women’s equality throughout your career. We’re at this major championship, which is committed to putting on a world-class event for women. In your mind, what more needs to be done to help continue to elevate female athletes?

I think we need to continue putting the resources, whether that’s marketing, exposure, sponsorship dollars, creating more opportunities in development, exposure, all these things just make sense from a business standpoint. But also in the growth of our country and humanity in general, I think we can learn so much from each other. And you see the tremendous talent that’s out there, but also the inspiration that these LPGA players have for the young girls and young boys that are lining the ropes this week.

Who has been the most inspirational leader who has touched your life on or off the soccer field? What’s the best piece of leadership advice you’ve ever been given?

I was very fortunate to have our captains in Julie Foudy and Carla Overbeck. An our coach Tony DiCicco, I look at them as one unit because they really supported each other, and I will say the most successful teams I’ve been a part of, the leadership empowered everyone. They understood the importance of making sure everyone felt valued. Like you are here because of this. I chose you because of X, Y and Z. And because in the end that’s all all of us want, is to have a purpose and feel valued. And when that comes from the top, you’re willing to put whatever personal agenda you have or desire or the whispers in your ear from your young coach that says why aren’t you starting over so and so, you’re willing to put that all aside for what the team goal is. And that comes from your leadership. When that’s the message every single day that you’re hearing, it’s a really emotional and inspiring environment to be in.

How is your golf game?

I have clubs. And I haven’t been able to play in a while. But it’s a game that my husband and I love playing together. And obviously with our kids we can take them and it’s a game we can play well into our later years. But I love it. And just driving by the range today was — their swings are so pure. It’s effortless. Now I realize what I’m doing wrong, which is just my swing. I don’t know, it’s a really great game. I wish I had found it earlier. To be honest with you, golf helped me in my soccer, because I was such an emotional player. The first time I ever played golf, I was just out of college. I spent 300 bucks on a pair of clubs, and I barely had $300. And I shanked my 7-iron and I kept swinging and I threw it into this thicket bush. I was standing there going, I need a 7-iron to play, but I don’t want to go in there and get it. So I had to swallow my pride. Went into the thicket. Came out. I was all scratched up, bloody, but I had my 7-iron and I just realized that golf is a sport that, like in soccer, if you get mad, that effort makes a difference. But in golf, the harder you try, the more, like, frustrated you are, the worse you get. And so it allowed me to kind of step away, take a deep breath and really just kind of let go of all that anger and frustration and just focus on whatever shot was in front of me.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Lindsay Gibbs, @Linzsports ThinkProgress
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by The IX Team