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Sunday Scroll
From The GIST Team

Hi there!

Welcome to The GIST’s Sunday Scroll, where we dive deep into one timely sports topic.

The LPGA will crown its first winner of the year when the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions — 2024’s season opener — swings to a close today. So, with the season just teeing off, today’s Scroll is all about the iconic past and present women of the tour. Who said golf is boring?

Quote of The Day
Quote I’m taking a stats class, so I had to finish a [problem set] last night at around 12:30. And then this morning, it was a very early Pro-Am time, so I didn’t have too much time to rest.
Rose Zhang poses for Golf Digest.

— Twenty-year-old American phenom Rose Zhang on her current course load at Stanford, where she’s a full-time student in addition to competing on the LPGA Tour. Exhausted just thinking about it.

The Scroll

📗 The origin story

Members of the LPGA pose for a group photo in 1959.
Source: AP Photo/FILE

The longest-running women’s pro sports organization in the U.S., the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) was formed in 1950, long after the men’s PGA was founded in 1916. Sexism in sports? Groundbreaking.

  • The LPGA was preceded by the Women’s PGA, which was formed in 1944 — but it only lasted five years due to financial issues.

Spearheaded by 13 trailblazing women, the LPGA’s founders did it all — from planning and organizing the inaugural season’s 15 tournaments to setting up the courses to drafting the tour’s by-laws and much more. But are you really surprised?

In 1963, the LPGA was covered on TV for the first time with the airing of the final round of the U.S. Open. For context, the first broadcast of the men’s US Open came nine years prior in 1954.

  • From there, the LPGA continued to grow, expanding to 32 events by the end of the 1960s with a steady increase in prize money, too. But, fast forwarding to present day, there’s still a long way to go to reach full parity.

💪 The history makers

Althea Gibson swings on the LPGA Tour.
Source: LPGA

Before we preview the 2024 season, let’s discuss some of the women who paved the way for the tour we know and love today:

Althea Gibson: You may know her as the tennis legend who, among many other accomplishments, became the first Black athlete to win a Grand Slam after her 1956 French Open victory, but Gibson also broke barriers on the links.

  • In 1963, she became the first Black golfer in the LPGA and went on to play 171 events on the tour. Incredible.

Babe Didrikson Zaharias: Another multisport athlete, not only did Zaharias help to found the LPGA, but she also won two golds and a silver at the 1932 Summer Olympics in track & field. Zaharias broke countless other barriers, including becoming the first woman to play in a PGA tour event when she made the cut at the 1945 LA Open.

Kathy Whitworth: The winningest golfer on any pro tour (women’s or men’s), Whitworth notched 88 career victories, but her success didn’t come overnight. In fact, she spent 3.5 years on tour before securing her first win, adversity that gave way to sustained dominance featuring wins across a record 17 consecutive years.

Mickey Wright: Wright was instrumental in helping grow the popularity of the women’s game, notably partnering with Barbara Romack to beat Arnold Palmer (yes, that Arnold Palmer) and Dow Finsterwald in a 1961 televised exhibition match.

Nancy Lopez: Lopez burst onto the scene with a sensational 1978 rookie campaign in which she won Rookie of the Year, Player of the Year, and the Vare Trophy (awarded to the player with the lowest scoring average) — the first and only time a player has won all three in the same season.

  • But her impact goes well beyond the course. Lopez was the first Hispanic player to compete on the tour and continues to inspire the next generation of golfers.

⛳️ The 2024 season

Photo of the LPGA logo in black and white.
Source: Golf Channel

With that history in mind, here’s what to look forward to this year. As mentioned, the 2024 campaign teed off with the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions on Thursday and will conclude with the Grant Thornton Invitational in mid-December. How’s that for a quick offseason?

One of the biggest changes in 2024? Even more prize money, baby. Tour members will compete for a record $116.55M in official prize money across 33 events, up from last year’s $101.4M. Even better, 16 tournaments will have a purse of at least $3M, up from just four in 2023. Keep moving, keep climbing.

When it comes to events, the biggest deals are the majors. The men’s PGA tour only has four, but the women have five: the Chevron Championship, the U.S. Women’s Open (featuring a whopping $11M purse), the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the Amundi Evian Championship, and, finally, the AIG Women’s Open (aka the Women’s British Open).

  • On top of that, there’s the Paris Olympics that kick off in July. Each country can take up to four women to compete, and golfers qualify based on ranking, which means performance at this year’s events is especially important. Pressure’s on.

Plus, there’s another massive event on the calendar this year: September’s Solheim Cup, a (normally) biennial tourney which pits 12 of Team USA’s best vs. 12 of Team Europe’s brightest in one of women’s golf’s most exhilarating competitions, even if it can end in a tie.

💃 Players to watch

American golfer Lilia Vu raises the trophy at the 2023 AIG Women’s Open.
Source: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

🇺🇸 World No. 1 Lilia Vu: No one had a better 2023 campaign than Vu, who won her first two career majors — The Chevron Championship and the AIG Women’s Open — last year. Considering Vu nearly quit golf during the COVID-19 pandemic, her rise to the top is especially worthy of 2023’s LPGA Player of the Year honors. Never back down, never what?

🇫🇷 No. 3 Céline Boutier: Like Vu, Boutier’s star potential shined bright in 2023 when she became the winningest French player in Tour history even before winning the Amundi Evian Championship in her home country. Not only was it her first major victory, but Boutier became the tournament’s first French champion. Magnifique.

🇺🇸 No. 5 Nelly Korda: After a rollercoaster 2022 season marred by injury, Korda’s play was similarly up and down in 2023. She failed to win a single LPGA Tour event but recorded nine top-10 finishes and even ascended to world No. 1 twice. After recovering from a lower back injury last spring, Korda is working hard to return to her dominant form.

🇳🇿 No. 12 Lydia Ko: Currently riding a serious upswing, Ko has her eyes on multiple prizes this year. The 26-year-old former world No. 1 is just two points (aka two tourney wins or one major championship win) away from qualifying for the LPGA Hall of Fame.

  • But beyond cementing her legacy as one of golf’s greats, Ko is looking to add some gold hardware to her collection at the Paris Olympics after securing a silver medal in 2016 and a bronze in 2020. Gotta complete the set, right?

🇨🇦 No. 13 Brooke Henderson: Canada’s most decorated golfer etched another LPGA title on her name last year, upping her total tally to 13, including two majors. But after starting the season strong, she struggled to maintain momentum, until it came time to defend her 2022 Almundi Evian Championship title.

🇺🇸 No. 24 Rose Zhang: Balancing her Stanford studies with her full-time pro career, Zhang is only playing in one tournament (this weekend’s competition) between now and mid-March. She’ll miss four events to focus on school, which could impact her ranking and her Olympic dreams.

But a strong performance in her spring return could secure the 20-year-old a spot in Paris. And if anyone can do it, it’s Zhang, who won her LPGA debut last June, a feat last accomplished in 1951.

👀 How to tune in

LPGA flag blows in the wind.
Source: LPGA

As mentioned, the first tourney of the year is already underway check here for updated standings and tee times for today’s final round. And the party’s just getting started — weekly tournaments begin in late February, airing on the Golf Channel.

The GIST's Picks

Here’s what has The GIST team currently hyped:

💡 Who else to know

Trailblazing golfer Michelle Wie West, who officially retired from full-time play in July 2023. She may be stepping away from the tour, but her legacy of advocating for everything from mental health to pay equity will leave a lasting impact.

📖 What to read

This article about the LPGA’s efforts to increase diversity on the tour — a challenge in a predominately white sport — spearheaded by Laura Diaz, the LPGA’s senior director of foundation operations and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

⛳️ What to play

Golf, of course. The LPGA has plenty of instructional videos, and you can even search their database to find an LPGA teacher near you. See you on the links.

📚What to check out

Make 2024 the year you’re doing the right things with your money. Ellevest, the financial company built for women, is hosting a free virtual workshop to chat about the most essential (and actionable) money tips for the new year. Check it out!

Fun and Games

Question of the Day

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Older messages

A single mom who works two jobs

Friday, January 19, 2024

Wow, wow, wow ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Just how fast the night changes

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Serving up upsets ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Sunday Scroll: Tim tam, Grand Slam

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Oi oi oi ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Special Edition: Playoffs?!

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Wild (card) weekend, loading ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Can’t stop the feeling

Friday, January 12, 2024

The end of an era ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

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