Shackelford: Golfing gods blow it with stacked schedule on holiday weekend

KPMG Women's PGA Championship-Danielle Kang Getty Images

Shackelford: Golfing gods blow it with stacked schedule on holiday weekend

Golf

Shackelford: Golfing gods blow it with stacked schedule on holiday weekend

While the 2017 editions of the KPMG Women’s PGA, U.S. Senior Open and Quicken Loans National probably won’t be talked about a century from now, each featured enough intrigue for a sports fan to savor. Yet each started and finished at almost the same time on a summer Sunday in the United States.

Former USGA communications director Joe Goode wondered if this was a good or bad thing.

Put me down for seriously flawed programming.

Even with the July 4th holiday falling on a Tuesday, therefore opening up Monday July 3rd as a de facto holiday, three golf tournaments went head to head for no good reason. With each played at compelling venues that alone would attract viewers (Salem CC, Olympia Fields, TPC Potomac), they competed for viewers on a Sunday that not only failed fans, but will fuel the ratings decline narrative.

Next time the five families meet, perhaps they can bring calendars along to their meetings and kick around a way to spread the viewing love. A Monday finish most likely would not have hurt any one of the three, particularly the Quicken Loans, where galleries were thin.

More importantly, tours that too often serve the needs of players over fans fail their players by asking them to compete for the public’s attention.

End of rant, beginning of celebration.

The best story of the day and one of the most heartwarming of the year revolved around Danielle Kang breaking through to win her first LPGA Tour event and more importantly, first professional major.

A two-time U.S. Amateur champion, Kang’s road to professional success was derailed by heartbreak over the loss of her father to cancer.

Kang would have given anything to have the person who caddied for her in those U.S. Amateur wins present for the pro breakthrough.

“I don’t know what it would have felt like to win right away as a rookie,” Kang told Golf Channel. “However, if I could wish anything, I would wish that my dad saw me win.”

Kang’s father died from brain and lung cancer during her second LPGA season.

K.S. Kang was Danielle’s caddie for her U.S. Women’s amateur victories in 2010 and ‘11

“I think that it’s been a really difficult road for me for the past four or five years,” Kang said. “It’s life, though. You have to pick yourself up, and you have to keep working hard at it, and then believe in what you’re doing, and not letting yourself down.”

If you were touched by Kang’s triumph over Brooke Henderson, you won’t want to miss Beth Ann Nichols’ Golfweek story that includes some great behind the scenes insights, including a note from mom, Kang’s Sherwood CC fans that texted after the win, and her tight bond with Michelle Wie.

A teary-eyed Bo Wie, mother of Michelle, came over a few minutes later for a hug. Michelle Wie and Kang are so close they started a lifestyle blog together, though they’ve been lax in updating it lately. There’s certainly something worthy of writing about now.

Wie, the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open winner, said they’ve been in constant contact this week.

“If I don’t text her in six hours she sends me 50 messages,” Wie said, grinning.

It’s too bad golf fans who opted to watch Kenny Perry’s U.S. Senior Open victory or Kyle Stanley’s win in the Quicken Loans National had to miss it.

 

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