The IX: Golf Thursday with Carly Grenfell, September 26, 2019

The LPGA's final lap — Interview with Alexandra O'Laughlin — Must-click links in women's golf

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The Final Lap

Can you believe the LPGA season is winding down already?

This weekend is the Indy Women in Tech Championship in Indianapolis, and after that, the grinding continues in Texas at the Volunteers of America Classic. Then comes the Asia swing—which kicks off in Shanghai the week of October 17 and ends in Japan November 10. The very last event, the CME Group Tour Championship is November 18-24 in Naples, Florida. This event has a purse of $5 million and only the top 60 qualify, so some players’ season may come to an earlier than November (and could be as early as late October).

I’m just trying to reflect on the season and some of the best things that have happened this year. I think the most obvious is the excitement that the Solheim Cup brought to women’s golf. As everyone and their mother was tweeting, it was a win for women’s golf. I hope in Toledo for the 2021 Solheim Cup, the momentum continues. The word on the street is that Ohio is crazy about their golf! So my expectations are high, if not higher for 2021. Also—I bet Suzann Pettersen gets named European Captain. Mark my words.

I think another unique thing about this year is all the first-time winners. This list includes Celine Boutier (ISPS Handa Vic Open), Bronte Law (Pure Silk Championship), Lee Jeong-eun (U.S. Women’s Open), Hannah Green (KPMG Women’s PGA Championship), Hinako Shibuno and (British Open). What especially jumps out at this list is the fact that three of the five LPGA’s Major winners were first-time winners: Lee Jeong-eun, Hannah Green and Hinako Shibuno. I would love to see a comparison of the Major winners from the previous five years to see if 2019 was unique in this sense. With a handful of tournaments to go, we’ll see if other first-timers will get their time in the spotlight.

When it comes to highlights outside of the ropes that created a lot of buzz in 2019, a few happenings that come to mind are Michelle Wie’s injury struggles and her wedding, Lexi Thompson forgetting her passport in her golf bag, Angel Yin’s clubs getting lost before Solheim, Suzann Pettersen retiring, Hank Haney being a jerk about players on the LPGA and Haley Moore’s story about overcoming bullying and adversity and finding peace on the golf course. All over the spectrum with those topics, but that’s sport isn’t it?!

It’s been a really great year, honestly. This is probably the most invested and the closest to women’s golf that I’ve ever been. Although pretty new to the sport generally speaking, as my first job and true exposure to golf was in 2016, it’s been nothing but a pleasure to follow and keep up with. That’s what makes me so upset about people saying “the interest isn’t there” or “nobody cares,” because so much of it is just giving it a chance. It’s unfortunate that stubbornness wins a lot of the time. To go with that, I think the other half of the battle is that everyone compares the women to the men. And how is that fair? The women’s game is unique in it’s own way. It’s about appreciating them for them, not dwelling on what they can’t do compared to the men.

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!

My podcast is alive again! Check out the latest episode of Fairway Tales.

Mariah Stackhouse is the latest feature in the #DriveOn campaign.

You can follow along with the live leaderboard at the Indy Championship.

Nelly Korda won an LET event by 8 strokes. That’s not bad.

Stacy Lewis likely out the rest of the season due to injured rib.

Never too early for Solheim Cup chat. Who will the captains be in 2021?

This 23-year-old is chasing her LPGA dream.

Will Juli Inkster serve a fourth term as Solheim Cup Captain?

The Annika Foundation is giving back to golf on a global scale.

The craziest broken rules in golf history. Remember Lexi’s in 2017?

Charley Hull won a Solheim Cup then got married. What a week!

Suzann Pettersen is forever linked to Ryder Cup history.

Tweet of the Week

Five at The IX: Alexandra O’Laughlin

Golf Channel’s Alexandra O’Laughlin just launched her new YouTube show and I asked her some questions about it. She stopped by PGA headquarters last week to be on the podcast with her camera in tow! I gave her a little tour of headquarters as it was her first time here. Enjoy and be sure to check out the first episode of her show: Go Around with Alexandra O’Laughlin.

I: How did you end up at your role at Golf Channel?

My role at Golf Channel didn’t actually exist before me. It was a very new creative role that’s been evolving since the day I started. I think Golf Channel and the network knew there was room to bring in someone young and fresh to reach that demographic to social media platforms. I was lucky enough to be the chosen one. It’s been a really great experience because I have a big hand in the content we create. We just launched my new show, so that was a big part of it too. It’s just showing outside of professional golf and what it’s like for me and my personal experience with the game. It’s really just connecting with people who sort of have similar interests and love that you do.

II: What sort of advice would you give to someone else who wants to do what you do? You got to create your own role, and in a world where digital and social media is thriving, where would someone start?

Honestly it’s right there, you just have to start. It’s taking some initiative. You have to be confident because you don’t always know what you’re going to get in response to what you put out there. If you believe in your beliefs and what you think is cool, then you just hope that other people will too. So just get it out there, especially whatever you’re interested in.

III: Do you have to deal with any internet trolls?

I have really, really nice fans. My fans will say ‘Ms. O’Laughlin’ and the comments are always very nice. So no, luckily enough, nobody says anything mean. It’s been a great experience. That’s sort of what got me to a very comfortable place. People like what I’m doing, they know it’s authentic, they know it’s genuine and they know I love the sport and I love to play. So that’s a big part of it too—I’m not trying to be anyone I’m not.

IV: Take us inside your head a little bit when it comes to content. Where do you start and where do you really see success?

When we’re at tournaments, there’s definitely a difference in how I cover each tournament. It could depend on LPGA or PGA or just that tournament in general. Matt Gibson produces and we get along great; he went to the University of St. Andrews so he really understands the history of golf, which I think is so important when you’re trying to share the story. You just think about—what’s the goal? That’s how my show came about. People are interested in the process, so we figured out something where we can just roll the camera and share that experience and the journey.

V: Tell us more about your show. What exactly is it? Where can people watch? Give us all the details!

You can watch on the Golf Channel YouTube. I shared with you a little bit about my summer travels and that’s episode 1 is where I played. I got to play the old course so that’s on there. Definitely check it out if you love golf. I’ve had a lot of friends from high school or college golf who messaged me and said wow, I kind of fell out of love with the game and it’s nice to watch something like this because it makes me want to get out and play.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Lindsay Gibbs, @Linzsports QUEEN OF ALL MEDIA
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