Officials at the LPGA’s first major championship were concerned that the inaugural women’s amateur at Augusta National would take away the emphasis of their event, and it turns out their fears were valid. While the professionals were playing, the amateurs were garnering most of the attention.
The ANA Inspiration, made famous by entertainer Dinah Shore, was held at Mission Hills Country Club and won by South Korean golfer Jin Young Ko.
Ko was the favorite, mostly on her recent events. She won in Phoenix two weeks prior, and came in second the week before in Carlsbad. She went off at 9/1.
Still the 23-year-old was surprised at winning her first major of her career.
“I still can’t believe,” Ko said. “I’m really happy.”
The Augusta National Women’s Amateur proved to be more popular than the ANA Inspiration. The final round of the amateur event at the site of the Masters drew a .96 rating, according to The Nielsen Company. That is the highest overnight rating for a women’s golf telecast since the final round of the 2016 US Women’s Open, which had a .98 rating.
The significance of the first competitive round at Augusta National for women was not lost on winner, Jennifer Kupcho. She said at the awards presentation that this was a big step.
“I think we’re going to really start something great in women’s golf,” Kupcho said. “Just to play here at Augusta and have that kind of treatment, I think the woman’s game is really going to come out stronger.”
Monday Qualifier Succeeds
Canadian Corey Conners became the third golfer to qualify for a tournament on a Monday, then win it six days later. Arjun Atwal at the 2010 Wyndham Championship and Fred Wadsworth at the 1986 Southern Open were the others.
The odds, though, for Conners were not as good as you would think. Because he Monday qualified after the line was posted, Conners was put in the field category. That only brought 9/1.
Considering backing him at the Masters, though, brings a much better payday. He is listed at 250/1.
Tiger Signs TV Deal
There was heavy criticism for the Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson exhibition over Thanksgiving Day weekend, but that hasn’t stopped Discovery Communications’ Golf TV from announcing more contests like it will be featured in the future. Woods signed an exclusive content partnership in 2018 and now the company is playing on a series of worldwide matches.
In partnership with the PGA Tour, Golf TV aims to reach out to international audiences, and has said that Woods can help bring the game’s popularity to other locations beside the United States.
The first match with Woods has already been set to take place in Tokyo, though the date, location, opponent(s) and format have yet to be announced.
This Week’s Odds, Pick
The Masters begins on Thursday, and Rory McIlroy is the favorite at 7/1. Dustin Johnson is next at 10/1. The last four winners of the major championship had never won a major before, and we think that trend will be broken this year. We like McIlroy at 7/1, but if you are looking for a longshot, go with Tommy Fleetwood at 20/1 or Matt Kuchar at 40/1.