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Is Nelly Korda’s Winning Streak What the LPGA Needs?

Updated: May 16

Courtesy of Getty Images

Micheal Jordan. Caitlyn Clark. Tiger Woods. Nelly Korda? All names of previous superstars who jump-started the mainstream interest in their respective sports. Is Korda going to do it for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA)? Her recent wins combined with a large portfolio of sponsors and a professional pedigree seem to point to yes.

Korda continues her impressive run with five consecutive wins and a major championship under her belt. There is a newfound interest in the LPGA. The surge in interest can be attributed to different factors, including Korda’s legendary winning streak. As a result, there has been a noticeable uptick in viewership. Adding to the momentum, is the involvement of tennis sensation Naomi Osaka’s production company, Hana Kuma. Hana Kuma announced its commitment in March of this year to empower and inspire the next generation of female athletes, starting with the LPGA. Their collaborative efforts focus on conducting workshops centered around personal branding. Scheduled to begin in May, these workshops will select eight current LPGA players to participate.

Korda seems to be designed for this moment, or even TaylorMade. TaylorMade is one of her prominent sponsors; for those less familiar with the golf scene, the company is a leading golf equipment manufacturer. They support Korda across various aspects of her game, from clubs and hats to balls and bags.  Korda left her previous brand for TaylorMade, who gave her one of the largest sponsorships ever for a female golfer, which totaled over a million dollars. Her switch to TaylorMade marked a significant move. She secured one of the largest sponsorships ever for a female golfer; surpassing a million dollars. TaylorMade also sponsors other LPGA athletes, including Brooke Henderson and Charley Hull.

Korda’s sponsorships extend beyond TaylorMade. Nike stands out among her sponsors, with Korda frequently sporting a blue polo as she dominates on the course. She is also backed by Delta Airlines, Goldman Sachs, and T-Mobile. This diverse range of partnerships not only highlights her prowess in golf but also her appeal across various industries. These partnerships helped put Korda on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for 2022, and contributed to her ranking as the 11th highest earning female athlete overall in 2023.

Courtesy of Getty Images

The surge of interest in women’s sports overall has significantly boosted the LPGA tour. The LPGA’s season-long purse total has crossed the $120 million mark. That is an insane increase since 2019, when the tour’s purse was only $70 million. 11 non-Major tournaments this year feature prizes upwards of $3 million. This is a substantial uptick from the previous year, where only five tournaments reached this milestone. Additionally, last year marked a historic milestone for the LPGA as three players earned $3 million or more on the course for the first time ever. The increased interest is also evident on digital platforms, as reported by Zoomph. Since 2023, the LPGA has witnessed a remarkable 62% increase in impressions, accompanied by a 65% increase in engagement measured through comments, interactions, and overall interest. Furthermore, video views have surged by an impressive 70%. 

To support their operations with this increased interest, the LPGA has also expanded their global staff by 18%. They also had a strategic partnership with Fenway Sports Management, leveraging Fenway’s extensive portfolio to secure advantageous deals for the tour. 

Matt Chmua, the LPGA’s Chief Marketing, Communications, and Brand Officer, told that this is the biggest benefit for them as an organization. “We’re best prepared now more than ever to try to capitalize on an athlete’s performance.” Chmura adds that even metrics in events that Nelly hasn’t played in are significantly higher. However, amidst Korda’s extraordinary winning streak and her top-ranking status, questions remain about whether the LPGA can fully capitalize on this opportune moment. Despite Korda’s impressive accomplishments, there is a consideration of whether additional strategies and initiatives are necessary to maximize the potential of women’s golf in the current sports landscape. 

 Despite some critics’ claims, it’s evident that Korda does promote both herself and the LPGA through various channels. Her presence in mainstream media outlets such as Golf Digest, Golf magazine, ESPN’s “SportsCenter”, and NBC’s “Today” demonstrates her commitment to raising awareness of women’s golf and the LPGA. Korda is also hosting The Nelly Invitational in her hometown of Bradenton, Florida. It’s a girls only invitational, in collaboration with the American Junior Golf Association. 

Korda’s appearance at the Met Gala further solidifies her status as a prominent figure beyond the golfing world. Dressed by Oscar de la Renta in a hand-crafted gown, she made history as the first-ever professional women’s golfer to attend the prestigious gala. THis achievement not only highlights her personal brand, but also elevates the visibility of women’s golf on a global stage. Korda’s presence at such a high profile event underscores her efforts to promote both herself and the LPGA, debunking the notions that she doesn’t do enough in that regard.

Courtesy of Korda’s Instagram 

“Our athlete pool right now is incredibly strong with great personalities,” Chmura said. “It’s probably not the same lightning bolt that Clark had for women’s basketball, but Nelly’s performance recently and her overall career is shining a brighter light on the tour.” You can’t argue with that.


Edited by Hadlea Lindstrom

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