World No.1 Nelly Korda has won her last four tournaments – but can she help elevate golf in a similar way to what Caitlin Clark has done with women’s basketball?

April 17, 2024

World No.1 Nelly Korda has won her last four tournaments – but can she help elevate golf in a similar way to what Caitlin Clark has done with women’s basketball?

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‘Women’s Sports Just Needs A Stage’ – World No.1 Nelly Korda On Bringing Caitlin Clark Effect To Golf

World No.1 Nelly Korda has won her last four tournaments – but can she help elevate golf in a similar way to what Caitlin Clark has done with women’s basketball?



It’s fair to say that women’s golf is looking for its Caitlin Clark. The former Iowa Hawkeyes star helped attract an audience of 20m people to women’s college basketball recently.

Clark, who was drafted into the WNBA by the Indiana Fever, is one of the greatest college players in history having beaten Steph Curry’s record for most three-pointers in a single season. She is spearheading a growth in women’s basketball as arguably the greatest college player in history – so is that something women’s golf can witness?

The first women’s Major of the year takes place this week at the Chevron Championship, where World No.1, one-time Major winner and Olympic Gold medallist Nelly Korda looks to win her fifth title in a row.

However, the Chevron is up against a $20m PGA Tour signature event with the RBC Heritage and Korda admitted that women’s golf “needs a stage” and “we need to be put on TV”, admitting that the LPGA being on tape delay “hurts our game.”

The Chevron will be on TV this week, with Golf Channel and Peacock showing two separate windows each day and featured group coverage all day on ESPN+. It will inevitably be competing up against the RBC Heritage, though, featuring almost every single one of the PGA Tour’s best players, which certainly isn’t ideal for a women’s Major.

Nelly Korda has won her last four tournaments

“I think that it just depends on the opportunities that are brought to you. If you’re playing good golf and you’re competing well and people see how much love you have for the game or how much work you put in day in and day out, I think everything comes with results,” Korda said on whether she can see a return of female golfers on the front page of the New York Times, as seen in 1978 when Nancy Lopez won five in a row.

“If you don’t have results you’re not going to get opportunities. At the end of the day, everything is about results.


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“Listen, I feel like for me, the way that I promote the game is just the way I am. I’m very true to myself. I’m never going to do something I’m not really comfortable with. Obviously I love seeing all the kids and I love promoting the game.

“I mean, there is nothing more that I enjoy more. I’m always going to stay true to myself, and hopefully that way do I promote the game.”

Korda was then asked the Caitlin Clark question. How can women’s golf attract 20m viewers? Realistically, for now at least, it can’t – with CBS Sports’ Masters figures showing a peak of 12.562m and an average of 9.589m in numbers that pale in comparison to the peak viewership that Clark helped draw in to women’s college basketball.

But how can the women’s game grow, at least?

“I feel like we just need a stage. We need to be put on TV,” Korda said.

“I feel like when it’s tape delay or anything like that that hurts our game. Women’s sports just needs a stage. If we have a stage we can show up and perform and show people what we’re all about.

“No, never any burden when it comes to this [if she feels a burden to grow the women’s game as World No.1]. I just hope I show people how much I enjoy being out here week in and week out competing against all the girls, practicing, and hopefully that drives more attention to us.

“Obviously with the run I’ve been on, maybe there are more eyes on me, but I always am very grateful for this because I know how fast something can be taken away from you.

“So I hope that people see who I am, my true self and that inspires them, too.”

Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley was asked about Clark ahead of last week’s Masters, where he described her as a “unicorn” and said golf needs more of those.

“I think that every once in a while somebody comes along that just captures the imagination of the sporting world,” Ridley said.

“And I say sporting world because it really goes beyond basketball. I have to confess that in spite of my love of the game and the women’s game of golf, that I haven’t watched a lot of women’s basketball, but I watched the last three or four games that Iowa played this year. So there you go. I mean, it’s just the way she plays, the way Caitlin plays the game, her passion, her energy – it really just captures the imagination of the fans.

“We hope that more people will come along like [Clark], and certainly we hope that people will come along in golf.

“You know, I do think that it illustrates, though, one very interesting thing is that, for the time being anyway, Caitlin Clark is an amateur. She’s a collegiate player. And so we think that the young women who play here in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur have that same capability.

“There’s something about – even with all the change in rules and NIL and transfer portal — but amateur athletes just have an appealing characteristic to me. And particularly the young ones.”

Nelly Korda headlines the Chevron this week in a Major that has seen a huge prize purse increase. This year’s payout has risen from $5.2m to $7.9m, with the winner taking home $1.2m.

The stacked field sees all of the world’s top-10 tee it up including last year’s winner Lilia Vu, who won two Majors in 2023 – also picking up the AIG Women’s Open.

Elliott Heath

News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan’s memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 – a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV


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