NBC Sports Group Kicks Off 2016 LPGA Season With the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic

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Live Coverage of 8 LPGA Events on Golf Channel in Next 10 Weeks Heading into Golf’s First Major of 2016, ANA Inspiration

Following a 2015 season where Golf Channel and NBC combined to air more than 550 hours of LPGA Tour coverage – the most ever in a single year – NBC Sports Group will continue to ride the wave of momentum as the 2016 LPGA season begins this week with the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic, airing live on Golf Channel Thursday-Sunday, Jan. 28-31.

This year, NBC Sports Group will broadcast 31 LPGA Tour events in the season-long Race to the CME Globe, featuring live coverage of four of the five women’s major championships and the biennial UL International Crown. And in August, women’s golf returns to the Olympics for the first time in more than 100 years.

“Golf Channel’s coverage of the LPGA Tour last year was fueled by the most live hours ever, showcasing the game’s emerging and established stars through storytelling via our news, live tournaments and digital platforms,” said Molly Solomon, Golf Channel executive producer. “We will continue to build on this momentum as we embark on a momentous year in 2016 on the LPGA Tour with 10 months of coverage of the Race to the CME Globe, nearly all of the major championships and the UL International Crown as well as golf’s return to the Olympics.”

“Our relationship with Golf Channel continues to grow thanks to their significant promotion, production value, and coverage of our accessible and personable players,” said Brian Carroll, LPGA Senior Vice President of TV and New Media. “With the amount of great events on our schedule, we are very excited about 2016.”

PURE SILK BAHAMAS LPGA CLASSIC: The event begins a series of eight LPGA tournaments airing live on Golf Channel over the next 10 weeks leading into golf’s first major championship of 2016, the ANA Inspiration. Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson, Nos. 2-4 in the Rolex Rankings, headline an international field in the Bahamas that also includes Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Alison Lee, Gerina Piller, Yani Tseng, Michelle Wie and 2017 U.S. Solheim Cup Captain Juli Inkster. Eventual 2015 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Sei Young Kim captured the 2015 event in a playoff for her first of three LPGA wins in 2015.

Live coverage of the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic will air on Golf Channel Thursday and Friday from 11:30 am-2:30 p.m. ET, and will continue on Saturday and Sunday from 3-5 p.m. ET.

COATES GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP: The LPGA Tour will head to the continental U.S. next week for the Coates Golf Championship in Ocala, Fla., a Wednesday-Saturday event that will feature the 2016 debut of Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko. Na Yeon Choi defeated Ko by one stroke in the inaugural Coates Golf Championship in 2015, which served as the kickoff to the season.

ANA INSPIRATION, GOLF’S FIRST MAJOR OF 2016: Following the Coates Golf Championship, the LPGA Tour will travel to Australia, Thailand and Singapore for a three week stretch before returning to the U.S. in March for three weeks, concluding with the ANA Inspiration, golf’s first major championship of 2016 (Thursday-Sunday, March 31-April 3). Taking place at historic Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Golf Channel will air comprehensive news and tournament coverage ANA Inspiration week, headlined by 20 hours of live tournament action.

GOLF CHANNEL BROADCAST TEAM: Hall-of-Famer Judy Rankin returns as lead analyst for Golf Channel’s LPGA tournament coverage in 2016, and will be joined by Whit Watson as play-by-play host for the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic. Tom Abbott will serve as a hole announcer with Jerry Foltz and Kay Cockerill reporting from the course.  Lisa Cornwell will conduct post-round interviews and provide reports for Golf Central.

Major champion Karen Stupples and play-by-play host Terry Gannon will join the broadcast team at the Coates Golf Championship. Stupples will serve as a course reporter and also will rotate with Rankin as lead analyst at select events in 2016.

NBC SPORTS GROUP’S 2016 MARQUEE LPGA EVENTS: 2016 is set up to be a transformational year for NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the LPGA Tour. With the addition of the RICOH Women’s British Open in July, Golf Channel will have coverage of four of five women’s major championships. Three majors will air on NBC: the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, RICOH Women’s British Open – returning to broadcast television in ’16 – and The Evian Championship. The biennial UL International Crown also returns in 2016, with weekend coverage on NBC, and in August, Golf Channel and NBC will air live coverage of women’s golf in the 2016 Summer Olympics from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.