NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. — Golf is very much a game of tradition. Things are normally conducted as they always have been, and change comes at a glacial pace. This doing of things as they always have been done is part of the charm of the game, but at times it can put the sport at a disadvantage.
For example, one of the most noteworthy clubs in the world — Augusta National — only in the last decade has expanded their membership to include women. And that tradition-over-all-else mentality permeates into broadcasts as well. In recent years, there has been much critique of the staleness that is exuded in golf on TV.
But at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship this weekend, that tradition will be challenged. In a normal event, the leaders on the weekend go off at the end of the wave. This makes sure the leaders are on TV in more optimal windows later in the day and puts them at an advantage as they know what scores they need to post to win. But this weekend at Aronimink, that won’t be the case.
As a result of the pandemic-induced reschedule of the Women’s PGA from summer to fall, golf will be competing for eyeballs with many other sports. This means the TV coverage window on the weekends ends earlier in the afternoon than is typical, with a 12-2 p.m. window on Sunday.
In order to make sure the leaders get their due on TV, and fans get a more optimal viewing experience, leaders will NOT go off last on Sunday. Instead, they will tee off earlier in the day, so their entire rounds are broadcast.
“We feel it’s important that everyone watching the telecast will see the leaders, see the leaders play all 18 holes,” said Kerry Haigh, the Chief Championships Officer of the PGA of America. “Although it’s a little different and out of the box, we as partners with the LPGA and KPMG are prepared to make those changes for what we think will be a greater and a better championship for everyone to observe.”
It’s certainly unconventional, and especially so in a sport like golf, but the pivot does ensure the viewers get the best broadcast experience possible. Sometimes breaking tradition is the right thing to do.