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Roe v. Wade decision hangs over PGA Championship: 5 takeaways

In Gee Chun celebrates her third major title at the KPMG PGA Championship on Sunday after an eventful week. (Elsa/Getty Images)

In Gee Chun won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club on Sunday, coming from behind after surrendering a large lead early in the final round to win her third career major title. Here are five takeaways from Chun’s fourth career victory on tour.

1. In Gee Chun’s historic first round delivers title

Chun won the PGA Championship at five-under par, making her opening-round 64 — an eight-under strike at the recently renovated Congressional Blue Course — all the more impressive. No one else in the field even touched eight-under par over the weekend. Chun’s second-round 69 Friday gave her breathing room, and she used all of it from there, posting back-to-back rounds of 75 for a one-shot wire-to-wire victory.

“When I got a slump, I really wanted to quit the golf, but not because of them. I keep trying to play golf. That’s how I made win this week,” Chun said.

After a T-15 finish at the U.S. Women’s Open earlier this month, Chun called her sister and told her she missed home. Winless since 2018, Chun didn’t feel like she had any goals. Her sister kept it blunt and suggested she quit golf.

“When I heard what she said,” Chun said, “I don’t want to — I didn’t want to quit the golf. Then I believe I still have a spirit, and I [said], In Gee, you still want to play golf.”

Chun’s perseverance was rewarded with her third major title. The 27-year-old felt the support of her fans — particularly her dedicated fan club, nicknamed “The Flying Dumbos” — and her sponsors, all of whom stuck with her during her four years away from the winner’s circle.

“I want to keep saying thanks to everyone who believed in me and never gave up on me,” she said.

2. Lexi Thompson’s heartbreaking runner-up finish — again

Lexi Thompson’s final round at Congressional Country Club on Sunday felt all too familiar. Trailing by three strokes at the start of the round, the 27-year-old posted two birdies took the lead on the fourth hole as Chun scuffled early on. Thompson then recorded her first bogey in 20 holes on the seventh and entered the final nine holes with a two-shot lead.

The back nine became her undoing as her short game faltered. She hit a two-foot putt that spun out of the cup. She took four shots to get down from the greenside for a bogey on the par-5 16th. She had a 3-footer that never touched the hole on the 17th, keeping her square with Chun.

All would have been forgiven if Thompson had raised her second major championship trophy. After a towering approach shot on the 18th, she had to make a 12-foot, left-to-right breaking putt to force a playoff with Chun.

The putt fell short and to the right of the cup.

“Because I’m a player too, when I saw someone miss the short putt, my heart is hurt too because I understand everything,” Chun said of Thompson’s miss.

Thompson signed autographs for kids, and then left the course without speaking to the media after the round.

The major championship wounds continue to deepen for the 27-year-old. The runner-up finish Sunday was her fourth since she won her first and only major at the 2014 ANA Inspiration. The others came at the 2015 Evian Championship, the 2017 ANA Inspiration and the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open. The result also was just one year removed from her collapse at the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open, when she lost a five-shot lead with 10 holes to go.

Thompson last won on tour at the 2019 Shoprite LPGA Classic.

3. The backdrop of Supreme Court controversy

When the Supreme Court’s watershed decision overturning Roe v. Wade was handed down on Friday, the LPGA was playing its major championship just 12 miles from Washington, D.C. As leagues and athletes across women’s sports spoke out over the decision, the tour’s response came a day after the court’s ruling.

On Friday, the LPGA confirmed with Golf.com that it would not make a statement. On Saturday, it provided the following statement:

The tour’s statement did not mention reproductive rights or abortion, central tenets of the decision. Players and caddies shared their frustrations over the LPGA’s response privately to Just Women’s Sports.

One player texted, “Well this is something, but really, it’s nothing. Just dancing around it.”

Marcoux Samaan appeared on NBC for an interview Saturday to discuss the state of the championship. The ruling was never brought up.

Charlotte Thomas and Su Oh shared on their Instagram stories that they participated in the protests at the Supreme Court.

LPGA layer-board member Amy Olson tweeted a Golfweek article in which she shared her perspective on the situation as a pro-life advocate.

“Now states have the opportunity to protect every life, they haven’t had the option to do that in almost 50 years,” Olson told Golfweek.

“For those who say this hurts women, my question to them is — when does a woman’s life begin? If we can’t answer that question, how can we even have a conversation about women’s rights?”

4. Why was the Congressional course so long?

Congressional Country Club played to a total of 6,894 yards this week, 200 yards longer than Pine Needles for the U.S. Women’s Open (6,638) and 53 yards longer than the PGA Tour’s TPC River Highlands this week.

Rain drenched the course on Wednesday, slowing down the roll of the balls on the fairways and greens. Course officials did not move the tees from their original positions as a result.

Golfer Mariah Stackhouse compared the length to around 7,100 on Thursday due to the conditions, highlighting the extra challenge Chun faced when she shot an eight-under 64 in the first round.

Travis Kreiter, the caddie and fiancé of U.S. Women’s Open runner-up Mina Harigae, expressed his concerns with the setup. He noticed that both Harigae and Jeongeun Lee6, who played in their group, could not reach a number of greens in regulation. With the new $9 million purse raising the stakes of the tournament, the importance placed on distance relative to other facets of the game came under question.

“There is no formula that says that the LPGA Tour should have been playing 6,900 yards,” Kreiter said, “There’s no formula. That or I would like to know what the formula was to get to that number, because it doesn’t make sense other than the fact that they just wanted to have the longest golf course in major championship history.”

Eight players finished the PGA Championship under par 72.

5. Life-changing money for the field

LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan joked that once the news of the tournament’s purse increase hit players’ inboxes on Tuesday, they would trickle out of the dining area to work on their games.

The pressure was already high for Jennifer Chang, who was making her LPGA major debut in 2022 at the PGA Championship. With a strong performance, she could earn a spot in the next major of the season, the Amundi Evian Championship. If she faltered and missed that, she would move closer to another trip to Q-Series, the LPGA’s qualifying school.

The 22-year-old found something in her game Thursday that allowed her to pull the trigger more quickly over the ball. The adjustment resulted in a T-10 finish, Chang’s career-best finish at a major and a guaranteed spot in the field of the major in France. Perhaps most impactfully, she earned $156,315, the largest paycheck of her career by over $100,000.

“I mean, it’s a huge check,” Chang said. “Usually, in a regular event, third place might get that. It’s a big deal. I can’t even process what’s just happened yet.”

Twenty players earned more than $100,000 on Sunday. Lauren Coughlin and Stephanie Kyriacou also made the first six-figure checks of their careers.

“It really takes one week, right?” Chang said. “Kind of a huge eye-opening experience. And that was the case for me.”

Kent Paisley is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering golf and the LPGA. He also contributes to Golf Digest. Follow him on Twitter @KentPaisley.

Serena Williams is ‘super interested’ in owning a WNBA team

Serena Williams speaks on stage during keynote conversation at 2019 conference in San Jose, California
The tennis icon is all in on women's sports — and the WNBA is right on her heels. (Photo by Marla Aufmuth/WireImage via Getty Images)

Could Serena Williams co-own a WNBA team in the near future? 

Speaking with CNN on Monday, Williams expressed her interest in that potential — as well as the mounting enthusiasm for women’s sports around the world. 

"I think women’s sport is having a moment that it should have always had," Williams said. "I feel like tennis has had its moment. It’s international, and it’s huge, and it’s always gonna be there.

"Now it’s time to lift up other sports — women’s soccer, women’s basketball — there’s so many other sports that women do so great, let’s put it on that platform. Women’s basketball is getting there, and it’s arrived."

When asked if she had any interest in adding a WNBA team to her roster of ownership stakes, the tennis great welcomed the idea. "I absolutely would be," Williams said. "With the right market, I would definitely be super interested in that."

"There is no risk — women’s sport is exciting," Williams added, citing the 2024 NCAA women's tournament's record-breaking viewership as evidence. "People are realizing that it is exciting to watch, so it's an overly safe bet."

Williams may not need to wait long to act on that bet. On Monday, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said that she is "pretty confident" the league will expand to 16 teams — up from its current 12 — by 2028. 

The goal, she said, is to reach 14 by 2026. Oakland's Golden State is already on track to launch the league's 13th team in 2025. The move will mark the WNBA's first new franchise since the Atlanta Dream debuted in 2008.

"It's complex because you need the arena and practice facility and player housing and all the things," Engelbert said at a press conference before Monday's WNBA draft. "You need committed long-term ownership groups, and so the nice thing is we're getting a lot of calls."

Engelbert went on to name a few of the cities behind those calls, saying that the league continues to engage in discussions with Philadelphia, Toronto, Portland, Denver, and Nashville, as well as South Florida.

"These can either take a very long time to negotiate or it can happen pretty quickly if you find the right ownership group with the right arena situation," Engelbert added.

The Commissioner's 16 team goal is not only good news for WNBA fans, it's great news for current and future WNBA players. At 12 teams with just 12 roster spots each, the league is held to a total of 144 players for any given season. An abundance of fresh talent coming up through the NCAA ranks has put pressure on the organization to make room for more worthy competitors, and four additional teams might be just the ticket.

Hellen Obiri claims back-to-back Boston Marathon wins

Hellen Obiri, winner of the women's division of the Boston Marathon, poses with the Boston Marathon trophy
Hellen Obiri, winner of the 2024 Boston Marathon's women's division, poses with her trophy. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Kenyan runner Hellen Obiri won the 128th Boston Marathon on Monday, becoming the first woman to claim back-to-back titles since 2005.

She clocked a total time of 2 hours, 27 minutes, and 37 seconds in a women's division that race organizers described as "historically fast."

"Defending the title was not easy," Obiri said. "Since Boston started, it's only six women [that have repeated]. If you want to be one of them, you have to work extra hard. And I'm so happy because I'm now one of them — I'm now in the history books."

A two-time Olympic silver medalist and two-time 5000m world champion, Obiri is a clear favorite in this summer’s Paris Olympics.

“Last year I was pretty familiar to the marathon, but this year my training was perfect — we trusted everything we were doing,” Obiri said. “When we won last year, of course I was saying I’m going to win this one. Winning is like love. It’s something precious to me.”

Though, she wasn’t without a challenge. Fellow Kenyan Sharon Lokedi finished a mere eight seconds behind Obiri. Edna Kiplagat, who won the 2017 Boston Marathon, completed the podium sweep for Kenya with a third place finish.

Emma Bates, the race's top American finisher, came in 12th.

Obiri wasn't alone in making Boston Marathon history this year. The repeat champ walked away with $150,000 in total prize money allocated from a purse that topped $1 million for the first time ever. 

College rivals Angel Reese, Kamilla Cardoso drafted to the Chicago Sky

Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso competing at the NCAA SEC Conference Tournament Championship
Once rivals, Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso are now teammates. (Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports)

The Chicago Sky made a splash in Monday night’s WNBA draft, taking Kamilla Cardoso and Angel Reese in the first round. 

South Carolina’s Cardoso, who was the 2024 Final Four Most Outstanding Player, went third to the Sky. The day before, the team had swapped picks with the Minnesota Lynx to land the No. 7 pick as well, which they used on Reese, the 2023 Final Four MOP.

Now, the two will team up in Chicago after battling each other in both college and high school

"She’s a great player, and I’m a great player. Nobody's going to get no rebounds on us," Cardoso joked afterwards, while Reese expressed excitement about playing under new Sky head coach Teresa Weatherspoon.

"Being able to be a Black woman and as a head coach, and everything she's done at the NBA level, I just knew everything they were bringing to the table," Reese said of the Sky. "Player development is something that I was looking for and they looked for in me. I'm super excited for this move."

Former NBA star and Chicago Sky co-owner Dwayne Wade welcomed the pair to Chicago.

“The foundation is set,” he wrote.

The Sky have entered re-building mode after winning a WNBA title in 2021. This offseason, they traded franchise cornerstone Kahleah Copper to the Phoenix Mercury for a package that included the No. 3 picked used on Cardoso.

Now, Cardoso and Reese will be looking to jump-start the team's return to contention.

Watch: Iowa star Kate Martin’s draft moment goes viral

Kate Martin poses with Cathy Engelbert after being drafted by the Las Vegas Aces during the 2024 WNBA Draft in New York
2nd-round pick Kate Martin poses with Cathy Engelbert Commissioner of the WNBA at the 2024 draft. (Photo by Catalina Fragoso/NBAE via Getty Images)

Former Iowa captain Kate Martin was in the audience during Monday night’s draft when she was selected 18th overall by the Las Vegas Aces. 

The moment quickly went viral, as Martin was in the crowd to support superstar teammate Caitlin Clark going No. 1 overall, and was not one of the 14 players invited to the draft.

"To be honest, I don't think I'd have the type of career if I don't have a teammate like Kate," Clark said about Martin leading up to the 2024 national championship game. "She's been one that has had my back. She holds me accountable. I hold her accountable. But I think at the same time, me and Kate are wired so similarly that we get each other on a different level."

Martin being drafted marks the first time that Iowa has had two players selected in the same WNBA draft since 1998.

“She's one of the best leaders I've been around," Clark said. "She wants the best for her teammates. She's one of the most selfless people."

Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said Monday that she is “so proud” of her player, “because her dreams came true.”

"She has been such a big part of our program over the last six years,” she said. “Her efforts did not go unnoticed by her peers. I wish Kate all the success with this next step.”

Martin said afterward that she’s “excited for the opportunity” and to showcase her “really good” work ethic. Helping Iowa to back-to-back NCAA title games, Martin finished her college career with 1,299 points, 756 rebounds and 473 assists.

“There are a lot of emotions right now,” Martin said in an interview on ESPN. “I’m really happy to be here. I was here to support Caitlin, but I was hoping to hear my name called. All I wanted was an opportunity and I got it. I’m really excited.”

While Martin was watching from the crowd, her family was watching from back home.

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