Weekly 18: Wagner, P.I.

By Jason SobelJanuary 16, 2012, 3:00 pm

Forget long putters, belly putters or whatever it was that Matt Every was using at Sony Open. (More on that later.) Disregard 460cc drivers and softer golf balls.

If there’s one secret ingredient to success, it’s facial hair.

Think about it: Lucas Glover shaved his beard … and injured himself in a paddleboarding accident. Johnson Wagner grew a mustache … and won.

Wagner was top-10 in the field in ball-striking and putting, but all anyone wanted to talk about was the lip hugger. Referred to as everything from Thomas Magnum, P.I. to Corey Pavin’s younger brother, the ‘stache equaled cash at Waialae.

This week’s edition of the Weekly 18 begins with a look at what we learned during the season’s first two weeks in the Aloha State.

 1. Aloha Means Goodbye

Matt Every

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Yes, there are plenty of young talents on the PGA Tour right now and many of them will find their day in the winner’s circle, but the season kicked off with a couple of repeat performers from last year.

Matt Every is a lightning rod. Fans will either love him or hate him. The folks in Ponte Vedra Beach headquarters won’t admit this, but it’s good for the game to have guys like this out there.

Through two events, only two players have multiple top-10 finishes. One is Wagner, the other is Harrison Frazar. Frazar has already earned $608,000, which is more than he’s made in two of the past four seasons. From the brink of retirement to right in the thick of contention. Great story.

Charles Howell III almost has to win soon by accident, right? Last year he had seven top-10s. He finished T-2 at this past week's Sony. Dude is too good to keep missing. When it finally happens, it could happen in a big way.

Who is the biggest driver and one of the best ball-strikers on Tour? Yes, it’s early, but just check the rankings. Jason Kokrak leads in driving distance at 328.0 per pop and Bill Haas leads in greens in regulation at 87.50 percent.

 Three Up 

Jason Gore

2. Social Media

A new barrier has been broken. It may not be the polio vaccine or man walking on the moon, but we saw a breakthrough this past week.

For the first time ever, a social media campaign vaulted a professional golfer into a tournament field, as pleas for Jason Gore to compete in the Northern Trust Open were answered by the title sponsor by the way of a sponsor exemption.

So what’s next? I think it could be the wave of the future. Just as Major League Baseball allows voters to push one snubbed player into the All-Star Game from each league, I can see sponsors letting fans choose which player they’d most like to see receive an exemption. After all, if the main priority of such companies is to please the consumer, wouldn’t this be the most direct way of hearing that collective voice?

Here’s the story of how Gore got into the field at Riviera.

3. Johnson Wagner

A two-stroke cushion on the final hole is a wonderful thing.

Wagner got to the par-5 18th hole on Sunday afternoon and promptly left his birdie putt about 4 feet short and somehow brushed his weak par attempt into the hole.

That was about the only thing that went wrong for him down the stretch, though.

Wagner played the back-nine in 3 under. We’re starting to learn a little bit about him after his third career win. Some players fade under the pressure of the spotlight. He doesn’t get into that spotlight very often, but when he does, he thrives.

4. Branden Grace

I’m not going to rub it in. Not going to toot my own horn or bring attention upon myself.

Grace won his first career European Tour title at the Joburg Open on Sunday and the spotlight should be squarely affixed upon him. It’s been a nice seven-round rally for the youngster from South Africa. After a first-round 77 at the season-opening Africa Open, he not only battled to make the cut, but finished in a share of 14th place.

At the Joburg, the man dubbed “Amazing Grace” triumphed in front of the home folks for his initial win in his 50th career start.

So this should be all about him, not a prediction made prior to the season. And yet, I can’t help myself. I’m sorry. I’ve got to do it. Scroll to the bottom on this article. One down, nine to go.

 Three Down

5. David Toms

There’s really no such thing as a rough two-week stretch in Hawaii. But if there is, Toms may have just experienced it.

Toms posted rounds of 76-74-75-71 to finish 26th in the 27-man field at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He followed that with scores of 73-67 at Waialae to miss the Sony Open cut.

The second of those results should be the most concerning, as the course suits Toms’ game, evidenced by his victory there in 2006.

If there was a saving grace to his time in the islands, it’s that Toms was able to tee off first in the final round at Kapalua, flying around the course without a marker. That allowed him to finish in plenty of time to watch his beloved LSU in the BCS title game.

Of course, his good fortune dissipated pretty quickly, as the Tigers were shut out by Alabama.

6. Richard G. Gawlik, Jr.

It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Gawlik, 41, a firefighter in Allentown, Pa., decided to play hooky from his job for three straight days and played golf instead.

That turned out to be a career-ending decision.

Shortly after a private investigator uncovered Gawlik’s scheme, he was fired, only to be reinstated later and forced into early retirement.

All of which begs the question: What ever will Gawlik do with all this free time on his hands?

7. Val Sills

Sills made a hole-in-one on the fifth hole at the Northern Wairoa course in Dargavilla, New Zealand, this past week, then followed up with another on the ninth hole less than an hour later.

An incredible accomplishment, of course. So why does the 74-year-old find himself in the Three Down section of this column?

Because after the round, all he could do was grumble about his poor final score of 14-over 86.

“It wasn't a very good round altogether,” he told the New Zealand Herald. “I think it was pretty obvious right from the start that I wasn't concentrating very well.'

 Three Wishes

8. I wish Matt Every’s post-round interview on Friday didn’t overshadow his play.

It was the talk of the tournament after the second round. Every walked off the course with the lead, then sat down for a live interview with my colleague Kelly Tilghman in which she asked about his arrest and subsequent suspension for marijuana possession two years ago.

Every’s response was unconventional, to say the least, as he explained, 'I just got three months off. It was just golf. I didn't think I did anything wrong. I'm the same person, I have the same friends. I don't think it's that big a deal, what I got in trouble for.'

A few quick thoughts on the entire situation:

- The question about Every’s past absolutely needed to be asked. He spent last year on the Nationwide Tour and this was his first time back in the spotlight since that incident. It would have been borderline irresponsible journalism to have him sitting there without addressing how it affected his career.

- Every should be applauded for his honesty. Most players in his situation would have recited exactly what the public relations folks had suggested, showing contrition and focusing on moving forward. He undoubtedly earned some fans for showing the type of raw honesty that is rarely displayed by public figures these days.

- Not that he cares, because Every seems like the type of guy who has absolutely no worries about what other people think of him, but maybe he should be concerned with appearing too cocky and careless. This is a guy who once failed to make it through Q-School, then contended, 'You know, 25 guys are getting through and I'm not. It's 25 I'm better than, too.'

- If it helps him to perform better with a major chip on his shoulder, then Every should continue thinking that he was wronged, both in the suspension and how it was addressed by the media this week. More often, though, a conflicted player is a struggling player. Letting his guard down a bit could allow him to focus more on the task at hand.

9. I wish the recent Open Championship qualifier made any sense.

Congratulations to Aaron Townsend, Ashley Hall and Nick Cullen. Those three Australians will be competing in this year’s Open Championship. Good on ya, mates. 

It’s certainly no fault of those three, but I have a tough time understanding exactly why they’ll be in the field.

The Open will be held at Royal Lytham & St. Annes this year. That’s in England. And it will be in July. So tell me: Why are three players qualifying for the event six months earlier in Australia?

Kudos to the R&A for wanting to spread its qualifying process around the world and I understand that it’s currently summer Down Under, but I still take issue when there’s such a strong disconnect between the qualifier and the tournament itself.

10. I wish this statistic made sense.

Anyone who watched the season-opener at Kapalua knows about the booming, wind-aided drives that often got so much roll that broadcast producers started putting a clock on ‘em.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there were 41 tee shots of at least 400 yards during the four-day event. Even with only 27 players in the field, there’s a good chance that will account for more than half of all 400-yard drives at season’s end.

But here’s the quirky part: Through that first event, the average PGA Tour driving distance was 270.4 yards, with Bubba Watson leading at 296.4.

Make sense? Of course not. It almost sounds like players were peashooting 130-yarders to bring that average down. Instead, it’s just a matter of the two measured driving holes coming on No. 3 and 15, which never yield very big drives.

According to one Plantation Course guide, No. 3 “is a hole of medium length made longer by playing directly into the trade winds” and No. 15 “is strongly defined by its slopes [and] the crossing winds.”

There’s an easy solution to the dichotomy between reality and the numbers. Either measure more than two holes or at the very least measure two holes that yield different types of distances.

 11. Stat of the Week

Johnson Wagner has made 141 starts on the PGA Tour. He owns nine career top-10s and three wins. Let's compare those numbers with a couple of Hall of Famers, just for fun:

Johnson Wagner: 141 starts, nine top-10s and three wins - that's a top-10 percentage of 6.4 and 33.3 percent of this top-10s are wins.

Tiger Woods: 274 starts, 168 top-10s and 71 wins - that's a top-10 percentage of 61.3 percent and 42.3 percent of his top-10s are wins.

Phil Mickelson: 443 starts, 158 top-10s and 39 wins - that's a top-10 percentage of 35.7 percent and 24.7 percent of his top-10s are wins.

 12. Fact or Fiction

Matt Every

More players will start using Matt Every’s putter soon.

It’s called the BlackHawk – and it was the talk of the Sony Open this past week.

The unconventional flatstick is the brainchild of an engineer named David Kargetta, who talked Every into trying it out last year.

Featuring a 6-inch-wide black putter head, it’s been described as anything from a VHS tape on a stick to the reincarnation of the game “Pong” to something that should be used to block nudity on basic cable.

It (mostly) worked for Every, though, who ranked highly in putting at Waialae – at least through the first 54 holes.

So will other players follow suit? Much like a long putter, they won’t want to simply for tradition’s sake, but if Every keeps finding himself on leaderboards others will give in to curiosity, too. He mentioned that already players such as Tim Wilkinson and Fred Funk have at least tested it out.

Yes, it’s ugly and no, players won’t want to make the switch. But consider the above to be a FACT, because some of ‘em must already be considering it.

 13. Tweets of the Week

@PGA_JohnDaly: nothing like rain all day, movies on the couch, a make shift indoor rowdy play center & now time for a hot quiet bath! #yesilovebaths

Too much information? Um, yeah! As I tweeted in response…

@JasonSobelGC: John Daly just tweeted about loving baths. Now there's a mental image we'll never be able to erase.

Much to his credit, Daly was not only a good sport about the jab, but explained himself, too. 

@PGA_JohnDaly@JasonSobelGC haha! Real men take bubble baths bc we know their woman can't resist joining them!! Works every time........

Again, TMI. But I’m pretty sure Daly doesn’t care. 

 14. From the Inbox

Two questions this week, one from Twitter, one from good ol’ fashioned email:

@brianros1: if you had to pick 12 guys for the American Ryder Cup team today who would they be?

Love this question, because someone is bound to clip and save, then taunt me for going 2-for-12 come September.

Well, here you go…

Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson, Steve Stricker, Nick Watney, Gary Woodland and Tiger Woods.

Apologies to snubs Bill Haas and Jim Furyk. Just couldn’t find a place for ‘em on this roster.

From Patrick in Charlottesville, Va.:

Which first-time major winner will get another first: Charl Schwartzel or Keegan Bradley?

I really like both players, but I think Schwartzel is a more refined talent and ready to win another very soon.

Remember watching him down the stretch at Augusta last year? Dude was making birdie putts on the final four holes and looked like he was playing a Tuesday morning practice round. He takes the old slogan “Never let ‘em see you sweat” to the extreme.

 15. The List

There was a time when hatless professional golfers weren’t so unique, when a man’s hair served as his only head covering. 

Those were the days before deep-pocketed sponsors realized hats could serve as billboards, advertising for their companies throughout four rounds of every event.

Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo may have been the last of the ultra-elite hatless players, but there have been a few others since then who have achieved varying degrees of success.

This edition of The List looks at the best hatless players – not based on performance, but on brilliance of the coiffe.

Players who don

5. Ted Tryba: With hair like that, it’s no wonder he went on to work in television.

4. Colin Montgomerie: On the rare occasions he wears a visor, it just looks… wrong.

3. Robert-Jan Derksen: The style of an upturned collar just wouldn’t fit with a golf cap.

2. Pat Bates: Is that a bassist in a 1980s heavy metal band? Nope, it’s a PGA Tour pro!

1. Robert Rock: His ‘do looks like it was chiseled from granite. Or built by Lego.

 16. Photo of the Week

Cristie Kerr, Morgan Pressel, Paula Creamer

Morgan Pressel (center) was joined by Cristie Kerr (L), Paula Creamer and others to raise money at the Morgan and Friends Fight Cancer Tournament. (View Photos of the Week)

 17. Quote of the Week

 “I said last week if I got into the Masters, it was going to be around for a while.” –Johnson Wagner on his mustache.

 18. And the winner is ...

I’ll start this section with a mea culpa. In my recent “Top 25 Under 25” project, I left Cameron Tringale off the list. Not because I don’t like his game, but because I’m bad at math. Thought he was 25; he’s really 24.

So instead I’ll put him on this more exclusive list: Players who will win the 2012 Humana Challenge.

Tringale is a SoCal kid who finished T-68 in the desert last year, but may be primed for an early victory. After all, he’s one of the best under-25 players in the world. Just do the math.

Getty Images

McIlroy: U.S. Open MC 'blessing in disguise'

By Will GrayJune 21, 2018, 11:47 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Watching a major championship unfold from the comfort of your living room is never an ideal strategy for any top-ranked pro, but sometimes players are forced to make the best of a bad situation.

Case in point Rory McIlroy, who ballooned to an opening-round 80 at the U.S. Open and never factored after that. The Ulsterman struggled to find a comfort zone at Shinnecock Hills, missing the U.S. Open cut for the third straight year.

But given a few extra days to prep, McIlroy appears to have cured what was ailing him after leading the Travelers Championship field in a number of ball-striking categories during an opening-round 64 that left him one shot behind leaders Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson.


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“Obviously you never want to miss a cut in a major, but it might have been a blessing in disguise for the rest of the year,” McIlroy said.

Even after hitting 17 of 18 greens in regulation during his second trip around Shinnecock, McIlroy went back to the drawing board as he looks to emulate the swing he used in 2010 and 2011 when he won twice on the PGA Tour including the U.S. Open. While he notes that changes to his body will limit his ability to conjure an exact replica, he’s more in search of the positive thoughts that helped get his burgeoning pro career off the ground.

“It’s just trying to go back and, OK, I was swinging it really well then. What was I doing? What was I thinking about? What was the focus on the swing?” McIlroy said. “Just trying to rack your brain to recreate feelings that you had back then. That’s basically what I did over the weekend. I got a feeling that really sort of resonated with me, and brought me back to a time when I was swinging it really well, and just sort of went with that feeling.”

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Spieth, McIlroy get back on track at Travelers

By Will GrayJune 21, 2018, 11:18 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – What a difference a week makes.

Players speak in unison about a desire to peak four times per year when the major trophies are on the line. But it’s a soft science, easier said than done. Sometimes the key is to play your way onto the biggest stages, while other times the best practice is to build reps far away from the PGA Tour rope line.

Jordan Spieth got to Shinnecock Hills the weekend before the U.S. Open began, logging two full practice rounds before sitting down for his pre-tournament interview. Rory McIlroy went to an even further extreme, basically establishing residency in the Hamptons while playing every top-100 golf course within a 20-mile radius.

They were concerted efforts, carefully calculated plans of attack that both men hoped would yield a second U.S. Open title. They also blew up in their faces in record time.

Spieth was 4 over after just two holes at Shinnecock, while McIlroy played his first 11 in 10 over. Just like that, the best-laid plans got lost in the knee-high fescue as one of a finite number of legitimate shots at major glory went by the wayside before lunch was served.


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Both players snuck off the premises well before the course became the weekend storyline, each bearing the battle scars of a missed cut. But given a chance to quickly reverse their fortunes, they both took full advantage at the Travelers Championship.

Spieth has spoken openly in recent weeks about the wars he continues to wage with his own game, as his putter has been downgraded from balky to outright uncooperative. Just as things started to turn around on the greens at the Memorial, his reliable ball-striking began to fade. A full-blown game of whack-a-mole has ensued.

“It’s certainly a testing year for me, and it’s a building year,” Spieth said. “It’s one where I can actually come out stronger. I’ve kind of looked at it that way the last couple months.”

It’s also been difficult for Spieth simply to get out of the gates in recent weeks. His third-place showing at the Masters remains a high water mark, but it was the product of a scintillating finale that came after starting the day well off the pace. Spieth remains candid about the fact that he has lacked a quality chance to win this year, one that he has previously defined as being within six shots of the lead entering Sunday.

All of those factors combined to make his opening 63 especially satisfying, as he returned to TPC River Highlands as defending champ and quickly grabbed a share of the lead, once again carving up a lush layout where he has nothing but positive memories.

“First rounds have been tough for me, trying to do a little bit too much. Trying to get shots back when I drop one and trying to have to birdie easy holes,” Spieth said. “The putter is starting to look better to me, so I can play a little bit more conservatively and still get a lot out of the round.”

McIlroy was alongside Spieth and Zach Johnson before a bogey on the final hole, but even a 6-under 64 matched his low round of the season on Tour. The Ulsterman downplayed his eye-popping score at Shinnecock entering a fresh week, noting that his tee-to-green performance where he hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation during the second round might be good enough to win this week at a more vulnerable venue.

It appears his thesis has merit, albeit through one round.

“I did a lot of similar things to what I did today. It’s just a completely different animal,” McIlroy said. “Like, it’s nice getting off to a good start here. But as I keep saying, I’m not playing that differently now than I did last Thursday, and it’s a 16-shot difference.”

Just like his last competitive round, McIlroy missed only one green in regulation. But this time the stat line portends even greater potential, as he also led the field Thursday in driving distance, strokes gained: off the tee and strokes gained: tee-to-green.

McIlroy’s ceiling remains absurdly high, as demonstrated by the way he surged from the pack to win at Bay Hill and seemingly took early command of the BMW PGA Championship without breaking a sweat. It also doesn’t need lowering after a couple errant days on a grand stage.

“I played really well today. I feel like the work that I did over the weekend sort of started to pay off already,” McIlroy said. “Being able to work the ball both ways was something I wasn’t quite as comfortable doing last week.”

Despite flooding their respective scorecards with birdies, neither Spieth nor McIlroy created any distance from the field on a day when low scores were ripe for the picking. A total of 22 players opened with rounds of 66 or better, including four major champions not named Spieth or McIlroy.

But after pouring time, effort and energy into last week’s major and watching it all go so horribly wrong, this was a day to remember that sometimes the solutions are closer than the recent results make them appear.

“I’ve been sticking to the process. I’ve been very positive about making progress from how I got pretty off earlier this year. So it’s nice to see a good score,” Spieth said. “Just glad. The first rounds have been kind of detrimental to me, so it’s nice to be in the thick of things.”

Getty Images

Spieth shares Hartford lead; Rory 1 back

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 10:35 pm

Just a few miles north but light years removed from the difficulty of Shinnecock Hills, the PGA Tour returned to week-in, week-out normalcy with the Travelers Championship. Here's what happened in the first round at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.:

Leaderboard: Zach Johnson (-7), Jordan Spieth (-7), Rory McIlroy (-6), Peter Malnati (-6), Brian Harman (-6)

What it means: The two biggest names in the field, Spieth and McIlroy, are looking for a boost of confidence after missing the cut in the U.S. Open. Their scores look good, but McIlroy won't be happy about closing with a bogey.

Round of the day: Johnson and Spieth both put up 7-under 63s. Johnson, after a relatively pedestrian 2-under front nine, caught fire on the back, making six consecutive birdies on holes 11-16. A three-putt bogey at the 17th ended the run, and he parred the last for his 63. Spieth, the defending champion, put up two birdies and an eagle on the front and four more birdies on the back. Like Johnson, he had only one blemish, a bogey-5 on the drivable par-4 15th when he hooked his drive into the water.

Best of the rest: McIlroy, Malnati and Harman each shot 64. Malnati eagled the 15th and followed that with birdies at 16 and 17 and a back-nine 29. Harman had a rare birdie on the 444-yard 18th for his 64, but McIlroy threw away a shot at the closing hole to fall out of a share of the lead. His right foot slipped as he was hitting his approach shot, and he missed the green. After taking a drop to get away from a sprinkler head, he was unable to get up and down.

Biggest disappointment: Bubba Watson, a two-time winner of this event, could manage no better than an even-par 70. Two-under through 11 holes, he bogeyed three of the next four.

Shot of the day: Can we safely say that Spieth likes the bunkers at River Highlands? Last year he got up and down from one at the 18th hole to get into a playoff, then he holed out from the same bunker to win the playoff. On Thursday he worked his magic at the par-5 sixth hole, sinking his sand shot for eagle.

Biggest storyline going into Friday: Most eyes will be on Spieth and McIlroy, to see if they're over their U.S. Open funks and gearing up for The Open Championship.

NBC Sports Group to Showcase Top Players in Women's Golf With Comprehensive Coverage of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, June 25-July 1

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJune 21, 2018, 9:35 pm

Golf Channel and NBC to Combine for More Than 40 Hours of News, Tournament and Instruction On-Site from Kemper Lakes Golf Club, Most in Tournament History 

KPMG Ambassador Phil Mickelson to Join Golf Central on Monday, June 25 Live from Soldier Field 

Condoleezza Rice and Olympians Nancy Kerrigan, Hilary Knight and Maia Shibutani to Headline KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit Wednesday, June 27

 

ORLANDO, Fla., June 21, 2018 – Featuring one of the strongest fields of the year, NBC Sports Group will dedicate more than 40 hours of comprehensive on-site news, tournament and instruction coverage of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – most in tournament history – Monday, June 25 - Sunday, July 1. Taking place at Kemper Lakes Golf Club near Chicago, the third LPGA Tour major of the season will be headlined by World No. 1 Inbee Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn, No. 3 Lexi Thompson, ANA Inspiration champion Pernilla Lindberg and defending champion Danielle Kang. In 2017, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship was the most-watched women’s major championship of the year. 

Through the partnership with KPMG, the PGA of America and the LPGA Tour, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship has been elevated to become one of the most impactful weeks of the year in women’s golf,” said Molly Solomon, executive vice president of content, Golf Channel. “As the broadcast partner for the championship, we strive to elevate our coverage each year to celebrate not only the best players in women’s golf but also female leaders in the workplace through the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit.” 

BROADCAST TEAM: Live tournament coverage of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship will be anchored by Dan Hicks, joined by Paige Mackenzie and Gary Koch in the broadcast booth. Tom Abbott will report from an on-course tower, with Kay Cockerill, Jerry Foltz and Mark Rolfing walking the course. Steve Sands will conduct player interviews. 

NBC SPORTS GROUP TO IMPLEMENT POPULAR “PLAYING THROUGH” ENCHANCED COMMERCIAL BREAKS: Making its debut on NBC at the Ryder Cup in 2016, Golf Channel and NBC will implement the popular “Playing Through” enhancement in an effort to elevate the viewing experience for fans tuning in to the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. NBC Sports Group is partnering with several national advertisers to present select commercial breaks in utilizing “Playing Through,” which will employ a split-screen model for a select number of national commercial breaks. This enhanced break will display both the commercial with audio as well as a continuous feed of the tournament action. 

COMPREHENSIVE ON-SITE NEWS COVERAGE: Golf Channel’s signature news programs, Golf Central and Morning Drive, will provide comprehensive, wraparound news coverage throughout the week, produced on-location at Kemper Lakes Golf Club. In addition to daily shows, Golf Central will present special player news conference shows Tuesday and Wednesday, June 26 and 27, at 5 p.m. ET. 

Rich Lerner will anchor Golf Central’s live coverage alongside LPGA major champion Karen Stupples and Arron Oberholser beginning Wednesday, June 27, with Lisa Cornwell reporting and conducting player interviews. Chantel McCabe will set the stage each day on Morning Drive with on-site interviews and analysis, with Paige Mackenzie joining her Monday-Wednesday. 

PHIL MICKELSON TO JOIN GOLF CENTRAL LIVE FROM SOLDIER FIELD MONDAY, JUNE 25: Kicking off KPMG Women’s PGA Championship week will be the KPMG Windy City Skills Challenge, taking place at Soldier Field in Chicago on Monday, June 25. KPMG Ambassadors Phil Mickelson and Mariah Stackhouse along with athletes from the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Fire, Red Stars and Skywill be conducting a special clinic and skills challenge event with local youth organizations. Mickelson will join Golf Central live from Soldier Field on Monday following the conclusion of the skills challenge. 

SCHOOL OF GOLF ON-SITE AT KEMPER LAKES: School of Golf will air Tuesday at 7 p.m. from on-site at Kemper Lakes Golf Club, with Martin Hall and Blair O’Neal hosting a special short-game episode. Scheduled guests include 2018 U.S. Women’s Open champion Ariya Jutanugarn and her coaches, Golf Channel Academy coaches Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott, as well as LPGA major champion Morgan Pressel.  

KPMG WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP SUMMIT: Golf Central will offer news coverage of the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit, which will be hosted on-site Wednesday, June 27, featuring an assembly of accomplished leaders in sports, business, politics and media to inspire the next generation of women leaders. 66th Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Olympians Nancy Kerrigan, Hilary Knight and Maia Shibutani will headline the gathering. NBC Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Michele Tafoya will serve as master of ceremonies. The summit will be streamed live on Wednesday on Golf Channel Digital. In addition, portions of the summit also will be streamed via Golf Channel’s Facebook Live. 

DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Golf Channel Digital will feature expanded editorial content during KPMG Women’s PGA Championship week. GolfChannel.com senior writer Randall Mell will report from Kemper Lakes Golf Club with columns and daily blogs, and Golf Channel social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin will contribute to Golf Channel’s social media platforms with exclusive behind-the-scenes content throughout the week. Golf Channel and NBC also will integrate social media throughout the telecasts, incorporating social media posts from players and fans using the hashtag #KPMGWomensPGA. 

News and tournament action surrounding the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship can be accessed at any time on any mobile device and online via Golf Channel Digital. Fans also can stream NBC Sports’ coverage of live golf via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports app.

 GOLF CHANNEL / NBC LIVE TOURNAMENT AIRTIMES(all times Eastern):

Thursday, June 28

Round 1

11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Golf Channel

Friday, June 29

Round 2

11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Golf Channel

Saturday, July 30

Round 3

3-6 p.m.

NBC

Sunday, July 1

Final Round

3-6 p.m.

NBC

 

The PGA of America and KPMG joined forces with the LPGA Tour in 2015 to create a world-class major championship that not only sustains the 60-year legacy of the former LPGA Championship, but also aims to elevate women on and off the golf course. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship provides a platform to inspire the next generation of women leaders through the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit and the KPMG Future Leaders Program.

 -NBC Sports Group-