Wasn’t it unusual for us to be basking in sunshine (ok, basking might be too strong a word) for the majority of the Easter weekend, while watching players at Augusta National being rained upon and layered up for the best part of the four-day Masters? We’re so used to switching on the TV to watch coverage of tournaments across the pond only to feel envious of clear blue skies, blistering sunshine and short-sleeved shirts!
Nevertheless, whatever the weather, the Masters always does it for me. I love this tournament and am always sad when it’s over for another year. I’m sure, like many of you, my heart (and money) was with Rory McIlroy, but sadly it wasn’t to be, although it was great to see John Rahm presented with a green jacket, just one of the many Masters traditions that make it so special.
Talking of traditions, and one that lasted for almost 35 years, it’s a shame that we’ll no longer see the winner of the first women’s major of the year jump into Poppie’s Pond at Mission Hills Country Club. After the traditional leap, which would often also include the player’s caddie and family members, the winner would wrap herself in a white robe, which became the LPGA’s equivalent of the green jacket!
It’s next week that this half-century run at the course in California comes to an end as The Chevron Championship (formerly the ANA Inspiration) moves to the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at The Club at Carlton Woods in Houston, Texas. It should be exciting to watch, as the course is characterised by challenging par 4s and water comes into play on half the holes. World No 1 Lydia Ko and World No 2 Nelly Korda will be leading the charge, but let’s hope for a British win come Sunday 23 April. What a nice belated birthday present that would be for England’s Georgia Hall, who turns 27 this week!
As we look towards the Summer, did you see that superstar Ellie Goulding is the headline music act in a concert performance being staged during the AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath on Saturday 12 August. That’s a coup, and as part of a new enhanced fan experience, there’ll also be a new look festival village with all kinds of golf experiences on offer and a collective of street food traders, so all in all, this should help to attract new and diverse audiences to the championship.
Interestingly, the above all came about from research commissioned by The R&A into the UK golf audience which highlighted that two-thirds of fans are interested in live music and entertainment at women’s golf championships, so it might well be that this will become a new tradition – get your requests in now!