LPGA launches new campaign Drive On focused on empowerment, diversity

Todd Kelly/Golfweek

LPGA launches new campaign Drive On focused on empowerment, diversity

LPGA Tour

LPGA launches new campaign Drive On focused on empowerment, diversity

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Women’s sports empowerment videos are all the rage these days, and rightly so, because very few developments in our culture over the last few decades have been met with such universal approval as the rise of girls and women in sports.

It was just a matter of time before the LPGA, the oldest continuing women’s professional sports organization in the United States, now in its 70th season, chimed in with a video campaign of its own.

The theme is “Drive On,” and the first video, titled ‘This is for Every Girl’, is a montage of girls and young women, some of them working out or playing a sport, others appearing as part of their everyday lives, interspersed with the picture-perfect, strong swings – and drives – of five LPGA stars who narrate the 45-second spot.

The video was made available to USA TODAY Sports before its release Wednesday afternoon. It will appear on air during LPGA tournament telecasts beginning Thursday on Golf Channel. It is voiced by Lizette Salas, So Yeon Ryu, Anna Nordqvist, Brooke Henderson and Mo Martin.

“This is for every girl who’s ever been left out or told she doesn’t belong,” it begins. “This is for every girl who’s been told she’s too loud, too quiet, too this or too that. This is for every girl who thinks her body isn’t good enough. This is for every girl who feels she doesn’t fit in.

“This is for every girl who’s been told that success and kindness are two different things. This is for every girl who’s been told to give up. This is us, crushing it for you, so you can crush it for the next girl.”

Drive On

Junior golfers pose for a photo with LPGA legend Nancy Lopez and LPGA founder Marilynn Smith at the Drive On announcement at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa on March 20, 2019. (Photo by Todd Kelly/Golfweek)

LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said it wasn’t difficult to settle on the campaign’s “Drive On” theme.

“The LPGA’s history has always been about this incredible drive, a message that works for women today, that worked for our founders 70 years ago and that will work for women for the next 70 years,” Whan said in a phone interview earlier this week.

“‘Drive On’ for us is to act like a founder. Our players are standing on the shoulders of those who came before them, and the next generation of girls will be standing on their shoulders. As we were talking about this, I’d love to say the light bulb went off, but we’ve been in this space for 70 years.”

‘Our story wasn’t being told’

LPGA great Nancy Lopez said she had tears in her eyes the first time she saw the video.

“I was like, wow, the story is being told,” Lopez said Wednesday morning in a phone interview. “I felt throughout my career that our story wasn’t being told. We were strong women, businesswomen, but we were kind of forgotten, yet we kept going. The theme of ‘Drive On’ is just perfect. Girls and women are told they can’t do something and we’ve always had to protect ourselves from that.

“A lot of girls and women, when they see the video, I hope they’ll say, ‘Hey, that’s me. I might be a golfer or I might not be, but I’m independent, I’m successful, and this is for me.’”

The campaign emphasizes the geographic and ethnic diversity of not only the LPGA tour, but of girls and women around the world, thus taking on the old, predictable, jingoistic criticism by some Americans that there aren’t enough U.S. women winning tournaments.

“We sell our TV rights all over the world,” Whan said. “We’re on in 175 countries. This is the future for all sports, to be global, and we have had that global fan base for many years now. It’s fun to see what this game and our tour are doing for female dreams around the world.”

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