The first women's Major of the year was significantly down on viewers after clashing with the Augusta National Women's Amateur
ANA Inspiration Faces Dilemma After Augusta Women's Amateur Clash
The inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur proved a huge success this year with thrilling play and great feedback from the golfing world.
The tournament was won by World No.1 amateur Jennifer Kupcho who played the final six holes in five under, holding off Mexico's Maria Fassi.
It produced fantastic numbers too, with 1.16m viewers on NBC in the US, making it the most-watched women's golf event in almost three years.
However, all of that success impacted the women's first Major of the year, the ANA Inspiration.
Despite all of the viewers watching women's golf that week, not many were tuned in to the professional action.
The ANA's viewing figures were reportedly down 56%, from 437,000 in 2018 to 194,000 this year.
Attendance on site was also down 10%.
The Augusta National Women's Amateur is likely the cause for this huge drop, and the ANA Inspiration now faces a dilemma whether to move in the calendar.
As you might imagine, moving a Major Championship has huge implications on the schedule and this is the struggle that the ANA now has.
A week later is The Masters, which it would never go up against, and two weeks later is Coachella, the huge festival that takes place less than 10 miles down the road.
Go even later and the southern California temperatures would be much hotter, and even earlier would significantly impact the club's membership at Mission Hills, and cause further schedule changes with events in California and Arizona.
The WGC-Match Play Championship would also be a bad event to clash with just a couple of weeks earlier.
“At this point, I think it’s 50-50 we stay, 50-50 we move,” Chris Garrett of IMG, tournament director for the ANA Inspiration, told the Desert Sun (opens in new tab).
“If I am a tournament sponsor and I am ANA and looking at coverage that was given to ANWA by Golf Channel and certain media outlets, I can understand their concerns that we are golf’s first Major and they are feeling overshadowed by an event in its first year.
“I’m not convinced moving to after Augusta is a better date.
“We’d be up against Coachella, Stagecoach, the number of golf fans in the desert has decreased, your volunteer base has gone home.”
“It's unfortunate really that they have to make that choice,” 2011 ANA Inspiration winner and former World Number One Stacey Lewis said.
"I would like to see that tournament [ANWA] played at a different time of the year so they don't have to make that choice.”
In what was a huge week for women's golf, the ANA Inspiration clearly suffered up against what was a great tournament at Augusta.
Let's not forget that the Jordan Mixed Open also took place that week, leaving fans of the women's game three tournaments to choose from which is simply too much.
Schedule changes are perhaps needed, as the ANWA, ANA Inspiration and Jordan Mixed Open are all great tournaments.
Let's hope these events can all have their own weeks to themselves, which would surely increase the viewership on all three.
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Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. 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:
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Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max
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Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
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