KPMG Women’s PGA celebrates 10th anniversary with technology advancement

It wasn’t all that long ago that major championships on the LPGA schedule were mired in uncertainly. Today, it’s the majors – along with CME Group – that propel the women’s game forward. In three years, purses at LPGA majors have increased over 100 percent. Championship venues have turned iconic and TV windows, well, they’re improving.

The 2024 KPMG Women’s PGA marks an important milestone in the rebirth of the LPGA’s majors. It’s been 10 years since the partners of the KPMG Women’s PGA met in a rental home in Augusta, Georgia, during the 2014 Masters Tournament and agreed to not only rescue the LPGA Championship but transform it.

“They want to make it the best event we have,” KPMG ambassador Stacy Lewis said a decade ago.

Stacy Lewis looks on from the 15th tee during the second round of the 2024 Chevron Championship at The Club at Carlton Woods. (Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

To that end, the 10th edition of the KPMG Women’s PGA at Sahalee Country Club will continue to offer more firsts. In what’s being hailed as the most statistically advanced and 5G-connected event ever on the LPGA, T-Mobile has joined KPMG and the PGA of America in delivering ShotLink 2.0 technology that will allow players to compare advanced statistics from their current round with historical data from throughout the season.

In addition, AI-powered predictive analytics will be delivered in real time through KPMG Performance Insights.

Several years ago, KPMG came to the LPGA with a simple question: What’s the tour’s greatest pain point? The answer was a lack of statistics and analytics.

Addressing that pain point turned out to be a natural fit for KPMG, a U.S. audit, tax, and advisory firm that does data and analytics for a living.

The KPMG Performance Insights technology platform launched in 2021, and this week’s technology bump at Sahalee – known as the KPMG CHAMPCAST – is yet another investment toward closing the analytics gap that exists between the men’s and women’s game. (ShotLink 2.0 technology was also used earlier this month at the U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club.)

“In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the KPMG Women’s Championship,” said KPMG U.S. Chair and CEO Paul Knopp, “this new collaboration with T-Mobile is the latest milestone in our effort to advance the women’s game by utilizing and integrating the latest technology.”

2023 Women's PGA Championship
2023 Women's PGA Championship

Ruoning Yin raises the championship trophy after winning the 2023 KPMG Women’s PGA Championshipt. (Photo: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports)

LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan calls technology a great equalizer in sports as it helps more accurately tell the stories that unfold week-to-week on tour. It also arms players with more detailed information on their own games.

In addition to player stats, T-Mobile 5G solutions will bring a better viewing experience for fans as NBC will utilize a private 5G network during the tournament, with more shots and expanded camera angles across the 12th, 13th and 18th holes and the T5G Range. Fans will also be able to see a feed of Toptracer data on a video board at the range.

Some advancements, like the venues and purse, are more obvious than others, but each detail that KPMG and the PGA tends to helps to raise the bar that others might follow.

When former LPGA commissioner Mike Whan first phoned former PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua with the idea of partnering together for a major, Bevacqua told him to “stop selling” five minutes into the conversation. He was hooked.

The first and only corporate partner they talked to was KPMG, whose roots in women’s game traced back to Lewis. KPMG chair John Veihmeyer quickly came on board and, inspired by Lewis’ talks to female leaders at sponsorship outings, Veihmeyer came up with the idea of the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit, which has been replicated at events all over the country.

At the beginning of all this, when Lewis was trying to convey to KPMG what the tour needed, she’d often go back to the 2014 U.S. Opens at Pinehurst, where the men’s and women’s championships were held in back-to-back weeks.

It felt big that week, felt like a major. That was Lewis’ main message: It needs to feel big.

Since the first KPMG Women’s PGA held at Westchester Country Club, organizers have succeeded in making the LPGA’s flagship major once again feel like a major.

Imagine where another 10 years might take it.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek