Nelly Korda's winning streak gives women's golf its 'Caitlin Clark moment' (2024)

Korda, 25, is having a “Caitlin Clark moment,” with her run bringing renewed attention to the sport. The Chevron Championship attracted about 950,000 viewers on NBC on Sunday.

Women’s golf has faced many of the same challenges as other women’s sports, including basketball: inconsistent TV broadcasts, fewer resources, arduous travel arrangements. Korda and her peers lug golf bags and suitcases through commercial travel and rental car shuttles for weeks at a time before big competitions. “I appreciate the airports so much that have the rental car places right there,” Korda joked. Women’s golf has endured an additional hurdle: the stereotype that the sport is only for old, white men.

Last fall, I connected with Korda and two other women’s golfers—2023 breakout champion Lilia Vu and former world No. 1 Stacy Lewis—while they were in New York. At the time, we talked about many of the themes that are now rising to the forefront with Korda’s historic winning streak. When asked on Sunday how her success can elevate the sport, Korda said her answer was “going to be the same” as before her streak started. “It’s a stage. We need a stage,” she said. “We need to be on primetime TV, we need to showcase the talent we have out here.”

Nelly Korda's winning streak gives women's golf its 'Caitlin Clark moment' (1)

Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle—Getty Images

Korda told me last fall that the tour has elite talent; women’s golf just needs the right resources to reach new fans. The success of other sports, including women’s basketball, helps with that. “The more that these other sporting events are on TV, it becomes more normal,” she told me. Golf has compelling player stories that aren’t yet reaching audiences, she said. “When we get the platform, we can showcase the talent.”

LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan agreed in a press conference on Sunday, saying that women’s players need “exposure and investment.” “There is no doubt that the product is world-class,” she added.

Golf is attracting more female players, thanks to a pandemic boom and new stylish golf clothes. “You are seeing more women come out with their girlfriends,” Korda said. Golf has faced more of an uphill battle to get women to tune in as fans; not as many are already watching the Golf Channel, compared to broadcast TV or ESPN. The push to get regular coverage on network TV combined with Korda’s historic run could be the boost the sport needs.

As Korda told me: “I think that we’re finally kind of getting recognition and respect from others.”

Emma Hinchliffe

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Nelly Korda's winning streak gives women's golf its 'Caitlin Clark moment' (2024)
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