Golf Channel to Deliver Nearly 30 Hours of Live Coverage of the 2017 NCAA Women's Golf Championships May 22-24, Most in History

By Golf Channel Public RelationsMay 18, 2017, 4:00 pm

Two National Championships to be Decided Over a Three-Day Span – Individual (May 22) and Team (May 24)

 Field of 24 Teams and 12 Individuals Headlined by Top-Ranked Stanford University, 2015 National Champions and 2016 NCAA Runners-Up

 Exemptions to LPGA Tour Events and Invitations to the East Lake Cup Determined at NCAA Golf Championships

 Live Scoring and Information: College Central

ORLANDO, Fla., May 18, 2017 – Golf Channel will shine a spotlight on women’s college golf and the LPGA Tour’s future stars at the 2017 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships, taking place Monday-Wednesday, May 22-24. With nearly 30 hours of live tournament and news coverage on-site from Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., Golf Channel’s comprehensive coverage will be the most number of live hours of the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships in history.

Golf Channel’s live tournament coverage of the women’s championships begins on Monday, May 22 to crown the individual national champion, which also will track the teams attempting to qualify for the eight-team match play championship. Golf Channel’s coverage on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 23-24 will include all three rounds of the team match play, ultimately crowning a team national champion. In addition, Golf Central will surround live tournament coverage with pre-and post-event news coverage produced on location, as well as daily news updates on Morning Drive and online via Golf Channel Digital. News and tournament coverage also will be live streamed on Golf Channel Digital.

Golf Channel NCAA Women’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)

Monday, May   22

Individual National Championship

4-8 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday,   May 23

Quarterfinals, Team Match Play

11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday,   May 23

Semifinals, Team Match Play

4-8 p.m. (Live)

Wednesday,   May 24

Team Match Play National Championship

4-8 p.m. (Live)

Format: The championship format consists of 24 teams and 12 individuals (not on those teams competing) in 54 holes of stroke play, beginning Friday, May 19. Following Sunday’s third round, the top-15 teams along with nine individuals not on an advancing team will compete on Monday, May 22 to crown the individual national champion. The top eight teams from the 72-hole stroke play championship will advance to the team match play championship on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 23 and 24.

Teams (24): Alabama, Arizona State, Baylor, California, Clemson, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Furman, Kent State, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oregon, Pepperdine, Purdue, South Carolina, Southern California, Stanford, Texas, Texas Tech.

Individuals (12): Martina Edelberg (Cal State Fullerton); Bianca Pagdanganan (Gonzaga); Nadine White (Campbell); Jennifer Kupcho (Wake Forest); Laura Fuenfstueck (College of Charleston); Maya Walton (Princeton); Cara Gorlei (Arkansas); Camila Serrano (Florida International Univ.); Maddie Szeryk (Texas A&M); Julienne Soo (Oklahoma); Alex White (Brigham Young); Susie Cavanagh (Oregon State).

Marathon Classic Offers Two Exemptions From 2017 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships: The individual champion from the 2017 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships and a representative from the team national champions once again will receive exemptions to compete in the 2017 Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I taking place July 17-23.

Semifinal Teams in Match Play to Receive Invitations to Compete in East Lake Cup presented by Hewlett Packard Enterprise: The East Lake Cup, taking place in late October at historic East Lake Golf Club will feature the top-performing teams from the 2017 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships. Invitations for the field will be extended to the semifinalists of the team match play tournaments at both the 2017 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships. Modeled after the NCAA Golf Championships, the format for the East Lake Cup will consist of an opening round of stroke play to crown an individual male and female champion and determine seeding for the following two days of match play competition. Golf Channel will air live coverage of the East Lake Cup Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

Women’s Golf Championships On-Air Team: Golf Channel’s on-air team for the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships will feature major champion Karen Stupples as lead analyst and Bob Papa as play-by-play host. Curt Byrum will serve as hole announcer, with Billy Ray Brown, Kay Cockerill and Gail Graham reporting from the course. Golf Channel’s college insider Steve Burkowski will join the broadcast booth as co-analyst. Lisa Cornwell will host Golf Central, joined by Paige Mackenzie, Amanda Blumenherst, Chantel McCabe and GolfChannel.com senior writer Ryan Lavner.

College Central – Golf Channel Digital Coverage: Golf Channel will provide comprehensive coverage via College Central, Golf Channel Digital’s home for college golf. Led by Jay Coffin, Lavner and Burkowski, College Central will be the source for all things college golf, including tournament results and scores, features and columns, video highlights and breaking news.

Golf Channel also will deliver comprehensive social media coverage via the network’s official social media platforms on Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. Social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin will make her Golf Channel debut at the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships. O’Laughlin, a former college golfer with Lewis University in suburban Chicago, will contribute to Golf Channel’s digital and social media coverage for both championships.

ANNIKA Award Winner Announced on Golf Central Wednesday, June 7: Golf Channel will announce the winner of one of the most prestigious awards in college golf –the ANNIKA Award Presented by 3M – following the conclusion of the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships, on a live edition of Golf Central, Wednesday, June 7 at 6 p.m. ET. The show will include profiles on the top candidates for both awards and live interviews with the winner, who also will receive an exemption to compete in the 2017 Evian Championship in September, the final major on the LPGA Tour in 2017. The ANNIKA Award Presented by 3M honors the nation’s most outstanding female Division I collegiate golfer as selected by her peers, coaches and the golf media. The 2016 winner of the ANNIKA Award was UCLA junior Bronte Law, who won three times and recorded eight top-10 finished in 10 starts during her 2015-16 NCAA season.

Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA

By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 5:11 pm

Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.

Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.

Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.

With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

Ko told GolfChannel.com Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.

“It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”

Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.

Piller pregnant, no timetable for LPGA return

By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 4:22 pm

Gerina Piller, the American Olympian golfer and three-time Solheim Cup veteran, is pregnant and will not be rejoining the LPGA when the 2018 season opens, the New York Times reported following the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

Piller, 32, who is married to PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, is due with the couple’s first child in May, Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz reported.

Piller declined an interview request when GolfChannel.com sought comment going into the CME Group Tour Championship.

Piller told the New York Times she has no timetable for her return but that she isn’t done with competitive golf.

“I’m not just giving everything up,” Piller said.

As parity reigns, LPGA searching for a superstar

By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 4:00 pm

Apologies to the LPGA’s golden eras, but women’s golf has never been deeper.

With the game going global, with the unrelenting wave of Asian talent continuing to slam the tour’s shores, with Thailand and China promising to add to what South Korea is delivering, it’s more difficult than ever to win.

That’s a beautiful and perplexing thing for the women’s game.

That’s because it is more difficult than ever to dominate.

And that’s a magic word in golf.

There is no more powerful elixir in the sport.

Domination gets you on the cover of Sports Illustrated, on ESPN SportsCenter, maybe even on NBC Nightly News if the “D” in domination is dynamic enough.

The women’s best chance of moving their sport to another stratosphere is riding the back of a superstar.

Or maybe a pair of superstar rivals.


Photos: 2017 LPGA winners gallery


A constellation of stars may be great for the devoted regular supporters of the women’s game, but it will take a charismatic superstar to make casual fans care.

The LPGA needs a Serena Williams.

Or the reincarnation of Babe Zaharias.

For those of us who regularly follow the LPGA, this constellation of stars makes for compelling stories, a variety of scripting to feature.

The reality, however, is that it takes one colossal story told over and over again to burst out of a sports niche.

The late, great CBS sports director Frank Chirkinian knew what he had sitting in a TV production truck the first time he saw one of his cameras bring a certain young star into focus at the Masters.

It’s this player coming up over the brow of the hill at the 15th hole to play his second shot,” Chirkinian once told me over lunch at a golf course he owned in South Florida.  “He studies his shot, then flips his cigarette, hitches up his trousers and takes this mighty swipe and knocks the shot on the green. It was my first experience with Arnold Palmer, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, who is this guy?’

“The thing about golf, more than any other sport, it’s always looking for a star. It’s the only sport where people will root against the underdog. They don’t want the stars to lose. They’re OK with some unknown rising up to be the story on Thursday or Friday, but they always want to see the stars win.”

And they go gaga when it’s one star so radiant that he or she dominates attention.

“It didn’t matter if Arnold was leading, or where he was, you had to show him,” Chirkinian said. “You never knew when he might do something spectacular.”

The LPGA is in a healthy place again, with a big upside globally, with so much emerging talent sharing the spotlight.

Take Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

The back nine started with Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie making the turn tied for the lead. There is no more powerful pairing to sell in the women’s game today, but there would be no duel. It would have been too far off script as the final chapter to this season.

Parity was the story this year.

Sunday in Naples started with 18 players within two shots of the lead.

Entering that back nine, almost a dozen players were in the mix, including Ariya Jutanugarn.

The day ended with Jutanugarn beating Thompson with a dramatic birdie-birdie finish after Thompson stunned viewers missing a 2-foot putt for par at the last.

The day encapsulated the expanding LPGA universe.

“I’ve never seen such crazy, brilliant golf from these ladies,” said Gary Gilchrist, who coaches Jutanugarn, Lydia Ko and Rolex world No. 1 Shanshan Feng. “It was unbelievable out there. It was just like birdie after birdie after birdie, and the scoreboard went up and down. And that’s why it’s so hard to be No. 1 on this tour. There’s not one person who can peak. It’s all of them at a phenomenal level of golf.”

If Thompson had made that last 2-footer and gone on to win the CME, she would have become the sixth different world No. 1 this year. Before this year, there had never been more than three different No. 1s in a single LPGA season.

Parity was the theme from the year’s start.

There were 15 different winners to open the season, something that hadn’t happened in 26 years. There were five different major championship winners.

This year’s Rolex Player of the Year Award was presented Sunday to So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park. It’s the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

Thompson won twice this year, with six second-place finishes, with three of those playoff losses, one of them in a major championship. She was close to putting together a spectacular year. She was close to dominating and maybe becoming the tour’s one true rock star.

Ultimately, Thompson showed us how hard that is to do now.

She’s in a constellation we’re all watching, to see if maybe one star breaks out, somebody able to take the game into living rooms it has never been, to a level of popularity it’s never been.

The game won’t get there with another golden era. It will get there with a golden player.

Love's hip surgery a success; eyes Florida swing return

By Rex HoggardNovember 22, 2017, 3:31 pm

Within hours of having hip replacement surgery on Tuesday Davis Love III was back doing what he does best – keeping busy.

“I’ve been up and walking, cheated in the night and stood up by the bed, but I’m cruising around my room,” he laughed early Wednesday from Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala., where he underwent surgery to replace his left hip. “[Dr. James Flanagan, who performed the surgery] wants me up. They don’t want me sitting for more than an hour.”

Love, 53, planned to begin more intensive therapy and rehabilitation on Wednesday and is scheduled to be released from the hospital later this afternoon.

According to Love’s doctors, there were no complications during the surgery and his recovery time is estimated around three to four months.

Love, who was initially hesitant to have the surgery, said he can start putting almost immediately and should be able to start hitting wedges in a few weeks.

Dr. Tom Boers – a physical therapist at the Hughston Orthopedic Clinic in Columbus, Ga., who has treated Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman and Brad Faxon – will oversee Love’s recovery and ultimately decide when he’s ready to resume normal golf activity.

“He understands motion and gait and swing speeds that people really don’t understand. He’s had all of us in there studying us,” Love said. “So we’ll see him in a couple of weeks and slowly get into the swing part of it.”

Although Love said he plans to temper his expectations for this most recent recovery, his goal is to be ready to play by the Florida swing next March.