The 2022 Tour has officially begun with its signature “Party on Tour.”
The 2022 LPGA Tour kicked off with a bang last week thanks to the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions in Orlando, Florida. The Pro division of the tournament––as well as a prize of $225,000––was won by Danielle Kang, making this her first Tour win since 2020.
To put it bluntly, Kang had a less-than-stellar 2021. She made fifty-one tournament appearances, placing in the top 5 only four times. She finished her Olympic run in 20th place, lagging well behind compatriot Nelly Korda. To rub extra salt in the wound, her year-end ranking dropped out of the top 10 in December. But she showed up and showed out in Orlando, going 16-under and only bogeying twice in the entire competition.
Kang recently revealed to GOLF magazine that she worked with a sports psychologist during the off-season. She explained that his services, as well as her exercise routine, help her to be “comfortable with being uncomfortable.” Judging by how she expertly handled heckling, poor weather, and unlucky lies on her way to the win, she now certainly seems able to thrive in uncomfortable situations. Hopefully, she can use this newfound skill to rock the Tour and make her 2021 struggles a distant memory.
Kang’s hard-fought win wasn’t the only source of joy during the tournament: like the editions that came before it, the 2022 ToC was just as much a celebration as it was a competition. Food vendors, DJs, and kid-friendly events helped to create an enjoyable atmosphere amongst spectators, truly making the tournament a “Party on Tour.”
The ToC’s environment serves as a stark contrast to golf’s reputation as a more “serious” sport. “Golf still holds a stigma on its rules and stuffiness. There is, of course, a time and place for all of that. But many events — and especially on the LPGA Tour — have pivoted to include as much fun as possible,” writes Adam Stanley of Sports Illustrated. Of course, the 2022 Tour has only just begun, and fans will have to tune in to see whether its events will truly bring the fun. But one thing’s for certain: this tournament was a perfect way to start it off.