Golf News for Friday, January 24, 2014 | Media

Golf Channel expands coverage of LPGA Tour to historic level

DAYTONA BEACH/ORLANDO, Fla. -- With 32 tournaments and the debut of the inaugural Race to the CME Globe, the LPGA Tour has been riding a strong wave of momentum so far in 2014. That momentum continues with the unveiling of a Golf Channel schedule that features more than 355 hours of coverage - the most televised hours in LPGA Tour history. As Golf Channel expands its tournament coverage in 2014, fans will have the opportunity to follow the LPGA each week as players vie for the coveted $1 million first-place prize in the Race to the CME Globe.

Following a 2013 season that saw a 14 percent increase in viewership, Golf Channel will kick off its 2014 LPGA tournament coverage today at the season-opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic. Live first and second round coverage from the Bahamas will be aired from 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET today and Friday, with the third and final-rounds shown live from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. ET on the weekend.

"The LPGA Tour has exciting things in store for the 2014 season and the Golf Channel's increased television coverage gives fans the opportunity to follow the tour throughout the season," said Brian Carroll, LPGA Vice President of Television and Emerging Media. "Golf Channel's partnership with the LPGA has given fans an in-depth look into players' lives both inside and outside the ropes."

Highlights of the television schedule include:

• Golf Channel will provide 16 hours of live coverage of the inaugural International Crown (July 24-27), the first-of-its-kind, global match-play competition.

• Similar to previous years, Golf Channel will continue to provide robust tournament coverage of three LPGA Major Championships: the Kraft Nabisco Championship (Apr. 3-6), Wegmans LPGA Championship (Aug. 14-17), and the Evian Championship (Sept. 11-14), combining for 53 hours of Golf Channel coverage.

• For the third-consecutive year, the tour will provide live coverage for more than 90 percent of North American telecasts, including 100 percent of weekend telecasts.

• Golf Channel will televise pro-am shows from four tournaments - Kraft Nabisco Championship (April 3-6), Manulife LPGA Financial (June 5-8), International Crown (July 24-27), and CME Tour Championship (Nov. 20-23) - providing viewers the opportunity to get an in-depth look inside-the-ropes as the pros prepare for competition.

In addition to robust tournament coverage, several LPGA Tour standouts including Juli Inkster, Paige Mackenzie and Karen Stupples will be featured in Golf Channel's 2014 on-air talent lineup. While still continuing to play on tour, Inkster will be featured as a course reporter for five LPGA events in 2014 beginning at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic. Mackenzie will also continue playing on tour while co-hosting Morning Drive and appearing on Golf Central. In addition, the 2007 LPGA Tour rookie of the year will report from select events providing in-depth player interviews and news for Golf Central. Stupples will transition primarily to television in 2014 and will work as a course reporter and booth analyst at several LPGA Tour events.

Hall-of-Famer Judy Rankin will return as lead analyst, joining one of three play-by-play hosts that includes Terry Gannon, Whit Watson and LPGA mainstay Tom Abbott, who will serve as a hole announcer when not calling play by play. In addition to Stupples and Inkster, the on-course reporting team will include Jerry Foltz and Kay Cockerill.

About the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association)
The LPGA is the world's leading professional golf organization for women. Founded in 1950, the association celebrates a diverse and storied membership with more than 2,300 members representing more than 30 different countries. With a Vision to inspire, empower, educate and entertain by showcasing the very best of women's golf, LPGA Tour Professionals compete across the globe, while dedicated LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals (T&CP) directly impact the game through teaching, coaching and management. The Symetra Tour consistently produces a pipeline of talent ready for the world stage. The LPGA is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida.

About Golf Channel
Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. Golf Channel, co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and now part of the NBC Sports Group, is available in more than 120 million homes and 83 countries worldwide. Exclusive partnerships with the world's top tours allow Golf Channel to feature more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, as well as a programming schedule distinguished by golf's highest-quality news, instruction and original programming. Customers of participating cable, satellite, telco and other video subscription services, are able to enjoy 24/7 streaming of live Golf Channel content through GolfChannel.com and Golf Channel's mobile application, Golf Live Extra. Golf Channel's digital platforms are the leading golf destinations on the Internet, delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf, as well as services that connect the world to golf.

Follow the LPGA on its television home, Golf Channel, and on the web via: LPGA.com, facebook.com/lpga.official, twitter.com/lpga, and youtube.com/lpgavideo.

Media Contact:
Kelly Thesier, director, Media Communications, kelly.thesier@lpga.com, +1 810-599-6942

Ali Kicklighter, Sr. Communications Coordinator, Tour Media; ali.kicklighter@lpga.com; +1 386-274-6278

Jeremy Friedman, Golf Channel Communications, Jeremy.Friedman@golfchannel.com, 407-355-4058