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How the women's game is viewed — if at all

While a percentage of The First Call readers believe they can relate to how the women's game is played, others have issues with the fields and the networks' presentation or don't bother to watch

Marathon LPGA Classic, Thursday, July 8, 2021, Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio, USA.
A television camera rig waits by the 18th green during the first round of the 2021 Marathon LPGA Classic at the Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.

Question of the week [February 26-March 3]: Of the amount of time you spend watching or streaming professional golf, what percentage would you say is devoted to women's golf? And what do you or don't you like about the women's coverage? 
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I watch about 5 to 10% depending on the tournament and courses. The thing that keeps me from watching the most is too many foreign players showing little or no emotion. It is not because of lack of talent because many are extremely talented. Also, there are no real breakthrough stars like their used to be with Annika Sorenstam.

Ron DeAngelo
Phoenix, Arizona

I spend very little time watching women’s golf. Almost all the players are Asian. No interest. The women are not very attractive. No one wants to say it, but it needs to be said. 

Steve Pratt
Ardmore, Pennsylvania

I spend about 40% of my golf watching on the LPGA.

Jim Noyd
San Marcos, California

I enjoy watching coverage of the LPGA, but feel the Golf Channel treats it with little respect or priority.

The tournaments are shuffled around to different time slots and the amount of commercials are ridiculous. There is also way too much coverage of short putts.

We enjoy the tournaments that challenge the women. The courses that offer short holes get eaten up by the straight hitters and driver-wedge golf is boring.

The announcing crews are good. I have to admit that I don't care for Morgan Pressel's voice, but her insight and knowledge has won me over. Tom Abbott is one of the few golf announcers left who seems to notice the entire surroundings and his quick wit and humor is appreciated.

It would certainly help to see some American girls be constants on the leaderboards. Our girls have some work to do. Maybe we should adopt Brooke Henderson and Gaby Lopez and be team North America.

Terry Fraser
Huntsville, Alabama

I have been a long-time fan of the LPGA and have been watching for a long time.

My viewing priorities have changed since last year. I don't like 
watching the mules of the PGA Tour and never waste my time with the PGA Tour Champions. Hence my viewing priorities are:
1. Women's golf
2. LIV Golf
3. Majors
4. DP World Tour. I watch it live with my morning coffee here on the 
east coast.

1. Women's golf always get cut short by some men's tournament running long.
2. I don't watch the LPGA season-opening tournament; I am very tired of watching John Smoltz, etc.
3. Why does everyone on TV and podcasts say they can't find LIV Golf on TV? The first round is live on YouTube and it's four hours without commercials.

Steve Magno
Framingham, Massachusetts

About 10-15% of the golf that I watch on television is women's golf. I like that they hit the ball comparable distances that I currently hit the ball. I like to see the clubs that they use and the course strategy that they use.

I detest the slow pace of play and the extreme amount of time that they take on virtually every shot. There is no shot clock. 

I do not like that they are usually expressionless and show no emotion whatsoever. It is probably a cultural thing, but it really turns me off. 

Thomas Sample
Saluda, South Carolina

I watch the PGA Tour with some regularity. Mainly the weekend.  Never watch LIV Golf. Do not stream. Watch more of the majors.  Seldom watch the tournaments played overseas as the field is weak.  Big names do not need to make these long trips, just for some points and smaller purses.  

I virtually never watch the LPGA. Lack of interest due to the strong  Asian population who played little to no college golf. Thus, no name identification while playing at that level. 

Larry Hone
Ft. Myers, Florida

My viewing of women's golf is 15%. I do watch all of the Augusta National Women's Amateur each spring, which is essential viewing. I enjoy the quality of the ladies game and its depth of field. I love their sense of professionalism and sportsmanship. The LPGA has a great variety of players and play a truly global schedule, which I enjoy.

There is much to like about ladies golf. What I don’t like is the TV commentary. The talking heads tend to be cheerleaders and sycophants. The ladies game is strong enough where it does not need LPGA self promoters. Let the fine level of play speak for itself. 

I think we all miss Judy Rankin, who was truly a great commentator. Rankin always said the right thing at the right time. She was truly objective and candid all of the time. It is that type of unbiased analysis that is currently missing. Let the action on the golf course paint the picture. No embellishment required.

Reid Farrill
Toronto, Ontario

I would guess that I spend 30 to 40% of my time watching the women. There are two things that really draw my attention — their tempo and the distance they hit the ball.

With very few exceptions, the women have very smooth, languid swings that 99% of amateurs would do well to emulate — and I count myself among that group. They also hit the ball normal distances compared to the men. This is also something amateurs should take note of since they show it's not necessary to carry a driver 300 yards or hit a 7-iron 185 yards to play amazing golf.

Rob King
Savannah, Georgia

I very much like watching the women's game. As an aging male golfer I find I relate better with their game more than I do with the players on the PGA Tour.

I am no longer able to hit the ball anywhere near the distance the men do and I'll never be playing a 7,500-yard course.

The ability to relate to something in the sports world makes it more enjoyable to watch. The young ladies play at distances most of us experienced golfers play. Drives in the neighborhood of 250 yards are far more believable than 325-yard monsters.

If you haven't given the ladies a look, then you should because these young ladies can really play.

I don't know what my percentage of viewing is, but I do know the majority of the time I'm watching the LPGA.

Robert Fish
Sun Ĺakes, Arizona

First, I record everything and buzz through commercials. And, boy, there are a ton of commercials and interruptions in women's golf coverage. When watching the LET or any coverage from the Far East, the commercials are incessant. It seems Golf Channel just sticks them in anywhere, as if they are pre-programmed, computer generated — regardless of who is hitting a shot. 

On Golf Channel, for LPGA coverage, I find the chatter to be a bit much. Morgan Pressel and Karen Stupples have a lot of credibility, but seem to be in a tiny battle over who knows more about the game. They had a chatfest while Megan Khang was putting a 2-footer, and both were shocked and surprised when she missed the putt, Pressel saying "Well, what happened just now?" Perhaps if you were letting the action play out and not talk over it, you wouldn't have missed it. Sadly, Jerry Foltz jumped to the LIV broadcast. I miss his hard work when he covered the LPGA.

All the coverage suffers from a lack of cameras and technical support. I understand that they need to use feature groups in early coverage since they have less cameras and people working. But its maddening to see someone lighting up the leaderboard and get little or no coverage, while the feature group is making pars.

Dave Curley
Las Vegas, Nevada

I watch women’s golf about an hour a week. I like to see the golf courses they play on. Their short games are on par with the men, in my opinion.

The one thing I would like to see in the women's broadcast is the distances they are hitting the ball. This does not seem to be shown as much as with men’s golf coverage.

Ken Belzer
Evans, Georgia

I didn’t need a calculator to determine the percentage of women’s golf I tune into. The answer is zero. I’ll be willing to guess that for the entire year in 2023 I may have seen 10 minutes of women’s coverage, and that was tuning into the Golf Channel a couple of minutes while waiting for the guys to come on.

In 2022, I’ll bet it was less. It’s not because I don’t think they have game. They certainly do. It’s predominantly due to the fact that I don’t watch nearly as much golf as I used to. But when I do, I like to see the guys tee it up  playing for all the marbles, whatever that means. At least that’s how I see or watch it.

Paul Vicary
The Villages, Florida

I probably spend only 5% of my golf viewing  watching women’s golf.  Nothing really against their game, I just can’t seem to devote much viewing time to it. I’ve been to a couple of LPGA events and have thoroughly enjoyed them.

I guess I like the speed and power of the men versus the women. You have to admit that most of the women have beautiful swings and excellent short games, but it just can’t hold prolonged viewing for me. 

Also it’s the same for me viewing Champions Tour golf. It seems too much like pitch and putt. They shoot 16 to 20 under every week in three rounds, even in the majors. Although I appreciate the fact of what is necessary to shoot 6 under every day, there doesn’t seem time be much challenge in the course set-up. Hit the wide open fairway and every pin seems to be a green light special. 

Barry Duckworth
Knoxville, Tennessee

The norm around this house is 65% PGA Tour viewing and 35% LPGA, even with a wife who is a golfer. 

Both of us are pretty turned off by the Asian takeover of women’s golf and our interest in any given LPGA tournament is directly proportional to how many Americans are on the leaderboard. 

The second biggest turnoff in women’s golf is the English accent of many commentators. Since we’re both a bit advanced in our hearing capabilities, the accent makes it tough to pick up and/or follow the nature of the comments. It’s grating. But, the English accent is the going thing in men’s announcing too, so, I guess if I don’t like it, I should buy a network and hire my own commentaters.

Bert McCauley
Cheyenne, Wyoming

90% LPGA, LET and Mixed AU golf.
10% Majors, NCAA, DP World Tour.

I like to watch golfers on an architecturally interesting course being challenged with a variety of shots and using EVERY club in their bag.  The PGA and this other thing (XXX) are bomb and gouge and it only gets interesting around the green, while the others offer much more entertainment. 

Mark Chatfield
Houston, Texas

With the PGA Tour now having watered down fields due to barring LIV players, I don’t watch men at all except for the majors that allow everyone in. When I watch the LPGA, I’m taken by their accuracy off the tees and almost metronomic swings. 

What I find a bit amazing is their lack of similar skills around the greens and in traps. Where the men usually get up and down in two, the women are far less proficient and often seem to play those shots defensively.

I don’t much care for their "We Drive On" ad campaign either. It seems a bit whiny. If someone or some entity has been holding them back, then they should name that person or corporation. Otherwise, it seems their purses are up, they get childcare at events and play on superb courses. Save the “woe is me” and just play. Compared to others, they’ve got a good thing going.

Vinny Mooney
Poughkeepsie, New York

I enjoy watching women's golf, you can learn a lot by watching. My biggest complaint is that the Golf Channel treats women's golf like it's a third world country with its tape delays. Who watches the Senior Tour?

Chris Ferrara
Jeannette, Pennsylvania

My husband and I watch more women’s golf than men’s. He finds the women’s game more relatable, and I appreciate that the women players are more personable. We also like the LPGA broadcast crew and find them to be better commentators than those on the PGA Tour — especially NBC. Finally, golf manufacturers have recognized that the women’s game is growing and they are featuring more players in their ads. 

The recent Skechers commercial featuring Matt Fitzpatrick and Brooke Henderson is a true joy. He holds one major trophy while slipping into his shoes, while she holds two major trophies. Kudos to the ad agency that developed that one.   

While Korean golfers once dominated the LPGA, that is no longer true. But many men, such as Hank  Haney, think that everyone’s name on the tour is either Kim or Lee. It is a truly international tour with top players representing many different countries.  

While the tour is improving in purses and locations, there is still a long way to go. KPMG’s investment in creating stats equal to the men, has made a big step toward equality. 

I have been playing golf for 50 years. As a corporate executive that funded our membership in several private clubs, I lived through the era where I couldn’t play on Saturday and Sunday until after 1 p.m.  Thankfully most of that has ended, but there was no reason for it from the beginning.

The adage that women play slowly is a crock ... just follow my group, but don’t keep us waiting. Now that I am in my 70s, I don’t hit the ball as far as I did in my younger days. My husband has encountered the same and his group has moved up to the forward tees. Unfortunately, the forward tees are where I have to play since there are no shorter ones. I just wish more golf courses would recognize that challenge and create shorter courses that are appropriately sloped and rated. 

Susan Gauff
Lake Wylie, South Carolina

I am 69, now retired, don't watch any regular primetime network shows. I watch the stock market, Newsmax, Fox News and Fox Business, Turner Classic Movies, and golf.

I watch the LPGA sometimes. It depends on the event, who is leading, my local time of day, and my local weather. I do like watching Patty Tavatanakit since I happened to catch her a few years ago when she won her first event. The women's swings are more like mine, so I do watch swing mechanics and it is relaxing at night to watch live from Asia.

I watch European DP World Tour events on the weekends — morning my time — sometimes. I like how they broadcast. No Brandel Chamblee, no Paul Azinger, no psychological motor mouths.

Donn Rutkoff
Oceanside, California

It is like almost everything else in my life — once I get to know the characters it is so much more enjoyable. I have been a women’s golf fan for 30 years and the more familiar I am with the players, the more I enjoy watching them. Rose Zhang and her rookie friends are people I watched in the NCAA finals and will continue to watch on TV in the LPGA.

Dave Hall
Scottsdale, Arizona 

I have always watched a lot of golf. Over the past three years I have started watching much more women’s golf than the men. Probably 80% of my viewing of the women. I feel the PGA Tour game has gotten very stale — I prefer to watch LIV or even Korn Ferry for men’s golf. The majors can be compelling, but otherwise the PGA Tour is boring. 

The women have much more personality. And as I have gotten older (I’m 61) my game is closer to the ladies, to be honest. I cannot relate to a guy hitting an 8-iron from 200 yards. So, for whatever reasons, I follow the LPGA much closer than the PGA Tour, although I keep up with all tours.

As far as the LPGA coverage, the announcers are good. Grant Boone and Tom Abbott are standouts. My only complaint is most regular events lack enough cameras and you can be confined to watching the same featured groups during the coverage. Many times, a player could be making a big move, but if they are on the wrong holes, they don’t get coverage.

John Harrison
Albemarle, North Carolina

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