Q+A: Sam Coffey on NWSL rookie season, USWNT debut and Yates report takeaways

Soccer player Sam Coffey of the Portland Thorns
Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Thorns midfielder Sam Coffey has enjoyed a stellar start to her pro soccer career, earning a nomination for NWSL rookie of the year. Coffey, who grew up in Sleepy Hollow, New York, had an early look at what it takes for elite soccer players to succeed thanks in part to her dad, Wayne, a sports journalist who co-wrote memoirs with Carli Lloyd and, more recently, Briana Scurry.

After beginning her collegiate soccer career at Boston College, Coffey transferred to Penn State. She was drafted by the Portland Thorns ahead of the 2021 NWSL season, but opted to take her extra year of NCAA eligibility before joining the Thorns earlier this year.  Coffey’s strong NWSL rookie season resulted in the 23-year-old earning her first international caps in USWNT friendlies vs. Nigeria, England, and Spain this summer and fall.

Coffey and her Thorns teammate have also navigated an especially challenging few weeks following the release of the Yates report on October 3. The report included damning evidence about how Portland failed to take action after former coach Paul Riley was accused of harassment and sexual coercion. Following the report’s release, President of Soccer Gavin Wilkinson and President of Business Mike Golub, were fired. Merritt Paulson, the owner of the Timbers and Thorns, stepped down as CEO of both organizations. Fan groups and some players — as well as all three of Oregon’s gubernatorial candidates — have called for Paulson to sell both teams.

Ahead of Sunday’s NWSL semifinal at Providence Park, the Portland Thorns announced that a significant portion of ticket proceeds from the game will be donated to three charities chosen by the players.

With her rookie season coming to a close, On Her Turf spoke with Coffey earlier this month to discuss her transition to the NWSL, when pro soccer became her goal, and how she found out about her first USWNT invite. We caught up again after the Yates report was released to discuss her thoughts on the findings and how Portland Thorns fans can support the players moving forward.

This Q&A was conducted over two sessions (October 1 and October 20). The conversations have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity. 

Saturday, October 1, 2022

On Her Turf: How would you summarize your first season playing with the Portland Thorns in the NWSL?

Sam Coffey: I could never have pictured this year going the way it has. It really couldn’t have gone better for me, personally, and I feel so blessed and fortunate to say that. It’s obviously just a testament to this wonderful organization that I was drafted into. I’ve been supported in every way that I could possibly be supported. I’ve been able to be around literally some of the greatest soccer players in the world, every day since January.

The impact that that’s had on me, I don’t think I could put it into words. It’s been a whirlwind. It’s been a journey. It hasn’t all been good and sunshine, but I feel like I’ve grown so much this year, I learned so much and it honestly just makes me so excited for a career in this league and a career as a professional footballer.

On Her Turf: I know you played with U.S. youth national teams when you were younger… but I’m curious, at what point did professional soccer become your goal?

Coffey: Professional soccer has been the goal since I was a pipsqueak. I can remember, even in grade school, we would have those questionnaire sheets about what you want to be when you grow up and the answer for me was always: I want to be a pro soccer player. I have (that goal) written on things that I still have today so it’s cool to look back and see that that dream has come true.

On Her Turf: Given how long it’s been your goal to be a pro soccer player, I’m guessing the NWSL wasn’t even in existence at the time… Was that back when the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league existed?

Coffey: Yeah, it was the WPS. I grew up going to Sky Blue games at Yurcak Field at Rutgers. I would go to those games as often as I could, watching Heather O’Reilly and Marta and Christie Rampone and players that are still playing in this league today… Seeing those women who came before me do what I ultimately wanted to do was so formative for me… It’s so cool to think about myself (as serving as that inspiration) to little girls in the crowd (today).

So yeah, the NWSL was not a thing yet, but (to see) the league going so strong now, that it’s the 10-year anniversary and has such a strong foundation, I feel really honored to be part of it.

On Her Turf: I covered the process behind the NWSL’s first ever collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and it strikes me that — for rookies like you — you never necessarily knew any different. Have you personally felt the impact of the CBA?

Coffey: The CBA is life altering for players in this league. And yeah, I don’t know any different. I know just from hearing (other players talk about it). I think it ultimately gives me gratitude for the players who came before me, the players who did have to endure those hardships. It makes me grateful and in awe of them, and their courage and resilience. And it makes me excited for what’s to come.

On Her Turf: You also made your USWNT debut this summer. How did you find out about your first call-up to the national team?

Coffey: I had heard some rumblings about it possibly being a thing, but I didn’t think of it as anything more than a rumor.

I was at the airport with the (Thorns) — we were about to go to San Diego for a game — and I got a call from (USWNT head coach) Vlatko (Andonovski). I was like, ‘Ok, I wasn’t expecting this,’ but obviously, I talked before about my dreams coming true and that (call) was the epitome of that goal.

It was such a surreal moment. I was like, ‘Did that just happen?’ I was standing outside of McDonald’s at the Portland airport and FaceTiming my family and loved ones to tell them the good news. I had literally been dreaming of that day for my whole life and my experience with the full team has been so incredible so far. I feel so grateful to be part of, what I believe, is the greatest team in the world.


Thursday, October 20, 2022

On Her Turf: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk again. Given all that has happened in the last few weeks following the release of the Yates report, I thought your feelings on some of the topics we spoke about earlier this month may have changed. No pressure, but I wanted to start by giving you the space if you have any initial thoughts on the Yates report that you want to share. I know so much of what was in the report happened before you joined the league.

Sam Coffey: I think we all have a lot of strong feelings about the report. What’s in it is horrifying and disgusting and dark on so many levels. I think reading that, as a player and especially being in the position that I’m in now (as a player on the Thorns), I think for all of us, it was extremely disturbing to read.

I actually posted something to my Instagram a couple days ago about how darkness has just plagued this league for so long. Yes, here in Portland. But it’s everywhere. It’s all around us. It’s in the NWSL. It’s in U.S. Soccer. It’s in youth soccer. The grassroots level is where so much of this — the abuse and mistreatment — is stemming from. There’s no room for it anymore. Obviously there should’ve never been (room for it) and I wish with everything in me that it didn’t have to happen.

But does that mean that I don’t love Portland or I don’t love this club? Of course not. I do love this club. But I think, with that love, comes a responsibility to criticize it and to want it to be better and to do better and to change for the better and I have full faith in the club to do that.

I just feel honored and lucky, honestly, to be with the women that I’m with here every day. We just help one another navigate this unchartered territory. I think we’re not accepting that this is what it is… It’s definitely been a dark period of time, but I am looking forward to the change and the progress that is going to take place as a result of this.

On Her Turf: Thank you for sharing that. Your teammate Bella (Bixby) posted on Twitter about what she hopes fans keep in mind if they’re struggling with how to support the players. I was wondering if you have any thoughts on that ahead of Sunday’s NWSL semifinal at Providence Park?

Coffey: Yeah, I echo everything that Bella said. I think she put it so beautifully and eloquently. We are not naive or ignorant to the fact that fans are struggling with this. I mean, we’re struggling with it as players, in a different way. And it’s now kind of a question of, how do I move forward?

None of us want to condone this… And I understand, from a fan level, you think you give your money to a club and that you’re supporting what it has done. But I think Bella’s statement was so spot on, in that, when you show up to a game, you’re showing up for us and showing that you love us and support us and that you’re in this fight with us and our desire for the club to be better.

Our supporters have been such a pivotal part of that happening since the club’s inception — before I ever showed up here — and that gives me a lot of hope. Thinking about all of us, collectively, in this fight to make Portland a better place, a safer place, and to ultimately grow from all that has transpired and ensure that it will never ever happen again.

On Her Turf: I’ve written before about the fragility narrative and how, for so long, NWSL players we’re scared to speak up because they were told, ‘This league is fragile and you don’t want to break it for your teammates.’ I think something that has given me hope in the last year is that players have spoken up and these truths have come out and fans have reacted by continuing to support them. It feels like a strong rebuttal to the fragility argument to say, ‘We spoke up and made this thing stronger.’ But at the same time, I know there are fans out there wrestling with that.

Coffey: And I don’t blame them. In fact, I applaud them for doing that. I think the fact that we have supporters (that) are going to hold the club accountable… It might be tough for ticket sales and sponsorships, but at the end of the day, I think that is why Portland is the place that it is because we do have supporters that are going to speak their mind.

This is kind of random, but there’s a James Baldwin quote about his love of country: “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” I can’t stop thinking about that quote when I think about what’s going on here… Our supporters love this club so much. We love this club. (Portland) has been a pioneer for women’s soccer in so many ways, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to fight to do better or that we’re going to let any of this slide. We need to criticize her perpetually – I love the way that it’s phrased… I think we assume that because you’re demanding better or criticizing something that means you don’t love it or support it — and I think it’s the opposite.

I think we, as players, are fighting to do that and it’s something that we can all collectively do together. But I do think it’s a good reminder that, if the stands are empty, that ultimately hurts us the most. It’s gut wrenching but, when they’re there and cheering us on and fighting the battle with us — on and off the field — that changes everything for us.

On Her Turf: What are you most looking forward to this weekend with Portland hosting the San Diego Wave in the NWSL Semifinals?

Coffey: It sounds so simple, but I’m just so excited to play. Just to play, to have fun, to enjoy being in Providence Park for the last time, and just to be out there with our supporters and with my teammates. This time has been so dark and heavy for all of us — in different ways for (different people). Everybody’s been navigating it in their own way. But I think, at the end of the day, when I think about Sunday, I’m so excited for us to play with joy because it has been so heavy and dark… I think we’re in need of that and we deserve that. It’s been a lot for us as players.

2022 NWSL Playoffs: Schedule, how to watch, results

Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC

2023 March Madness: What to watch for as South Carolina faces Iowa, LSU takes on Virginia Tech in women’s NCAA Final Four

South Carolina Gamecocks players react during the third quarter of the game against the Maryland Terrapins in the Elite Eight.
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This year’s March Madness has lived up to the hype, with defending NCAA champions — No. 1-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks — riding a 42-game win streak dating back to the 2022 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. Also back for this weekend’s tournament finale are the Louisiana State Tigers, back in the women’s Final Four for the first time in 15 years, and the Iowa Hawkeyes, who are dancing for the first time in three decades and boast the nation’s top player in Caitlin Clark. The top-seeded Virginia Tech Hokies round out the Final Four, where they’ll play in the semis for the first time ever.

Of note, this year’s Final Four, set for Friday at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, marks the first time in 38 years without any of the sport’s longtime powerhouses — Tennessee, Stanford and UConn. Even South Carolina, who also won the title in 2017 and are making its third consecutive Final Four appearance, is a relative newcomer to tournament greatness: The Gamecocks made their first-ever Final Four appearance just eight years ago.

The fresh lineup — headlined by a matchup of the game’s top stars in South Carolina forward Aliyah Boston and Iowa guard Clark — is an opportunity to celebrate the women’s game and its depth of talent more widely, said Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley on Thursday.

“It’s great,” she told media from Dallas. “It’s been building towards this for a long time. Fortunately for us — not just South Carolina, but us as women’s basketball — we’ve got a lot of star power behind our sport. It increases. [Along with Aliyah Boston and Caitlin Clark), you’ve got Angel Reese; you’ve got [Georgia] Amoore; you’ve got [Elizabeth] Kitley. You’ve got all these players who have been incredible, just incredible — creating incredible stories for our game.”

Speaking of storylines to follow, Friday’s double-header kicks off at 7 p.m. ET (ESPN) with No. 1 seed Virginia Tech squaring off vs. No. 3 LSU. The Hokies haven’t lost a game since January, while the Tigers will aim to match the lowest seed ever to win the women’s tournament. The only two teams to have won before as the No. 3 seed are North Carolina in 1994 and Tennessee in 1997.

Drawing the biggest buzz to date is Friday night’s second semifinal, where the overall No. 1 seed South Carolina faces the formidable No. 2-seeded Iowa. In the Hawkeyes’ last game against Louisville, Clark set a new tournament record when she notched 41 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in the first-ever, 40-point triple-double in the NCAA tournament — women’s or men’s.

Clark said afterward that Iowa’s first Final Four since 1993 was the product of a very “Ted Lasso” principle: “When I came here, I said I wanted to take this program to the Final Four, and all you gotta do is dream,” she said. “Then all you gotta do is believe and work your butt off to get there.”

RELATED: Updated bracket, scores and schedule for NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship

No. 3 LSU

Current record: 32-2

Season wrap: LSU finished the regular season 27-1, tying the best regular-season record in program history, matching the 2004-05 team. That LSU team reached the Final Four, but fell to Kim Mulkey’s Baylor team en route to her first national championship as a head coach.

Final Four outlook: LSU is making its sixth Final Four appearance in program history and its first since 2008, which marked the last of five consecutive Final Four appearances for the Tigers with players like Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles. Despite all of LSU’s previous success in reaching the Final Four, the Tigers have never won a national semifinal.

Probable starters: Angel Reese (F), LaDazhia Williams (F), Flau’jae Johnson (G), Kateri Poole (G), Alexis Morris (G)

About coach Kim Mulkey: This year marks Mulkey’s fourth Final Four appearance as a head coach. She holds a 3-1 record in national semifinal games and won three national championships as the head coach at Baylor. She’s the only person in men’s or women’s DI history to win national championships as a player, assistant coach and head coach.

Spotlight on… Angel Reese: Reese, a transfer from Maryland, set an SEC record with her 32nd double-double of the season in the Elite Eight. Through four games in the NCAA Tournament, she’s averaging 22.3 points and 17.3 rebounds. She was extra dominant in the first two rounds, where she averaged 29.5 points, 19.5 rebounds, 4.5 blocks, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals. In LSU’s opening-round game against Hawaii, Reese tied Fowles’ LSU NCAA Tournament record with 34 points. In the second round, she became the first player to ever record 25 points and 24 rebounds (an LSU NCAA Tournament record) in a NCAA Tournament game.

Coach’s last word: “Last thing I shared with them in the middle of the floor was, you’re getting ready to play a No. 1 seed. We’ve not done that,” Mulkey told reporters in Dallas on Tuesday. “You’re getting ready to play a young lady who is the finalist for not one but two awards. We don’t have anybody on our team that’s a finalist for any award. Are we satisfied? Are we patting ourselves on the back and saying, ‘Hey, this is as far as we can go, or are you still hungry?’ And the responses that I received are, ‘Coach, we’re ready to move on and get to the next game.’

“When you have kids that are hungry and not satisfied to just be there, you’re going to go compete. Whether we win or lose, I know we will compete.”

No. 1 Virginia Tech

Current record: 31-4

Season wrap: This was a season of firsts for the Hokies, who are making their first Final Four appearance in program history after making their Elite Eight debut this past Monday night. The season also marked the first time recording 31 wins in a single season and the first time that Tech has had a two-time ACC Player of the Year.

Final Four outlook: The Hokies’s win in the Elite Eight over Ohio State moved VT to 13-11 in NCAA Tournament games (12 appearances) and marked their 15th consecutive victory, tying their longest win streak since they won 15 straight to open head coach Kenny Brooks‘ tenure at Virginia Tech. Tech is a No. 1 seed for the first time in program history, and their semifinal matchup vs. LSU will be their fourth. Tech owns a 1-2 record all-time vs. the Tigers, and the two sides last met Nov. 14, 2006, with LSU winning 70-40 in Baton Rouge, La.

Probable starters: Taylor Soule (F), Elizabeth Kitley (C), Georgia Amoore (G), Cayla King (G), Kayan Taylor (G)

About coach Kenny Brooks: Brooks is closing out his seventh season with Virginia Tech, which is 155-73 since he joined as head coach in March 2016 and 5-2 in NCAA Tournament games. Brooks is just the third Black male coach to lead a team to the Final Four, joining Winthrop “Windy” McGriff with Cheyney in 1984 and Syracuse’s Quentin Hillsman in 2016. In 2022, Brooks led the Hokies to a program record with 13 ACC victories and five ranked wins, and the team advanced to the ACC Tournament Semifinals for the first time ever.

Spotlight on… Elizabeth Kitley: In her last outing, Kitley scored a game-high 25 points, 11 rebounds and had three blocks, marking her 21st double-double of the season and 56th of her career. She now owns the program record for double-doubles and was recently named second-team All-American. On the season, the two-time ACC Player of the Year, who hails from Summerfield, N.C., is averaging 18.2 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game this season while shooting 56% from the floor.

Coach’s last word: “I knew we had the talent this summer, and watching them and how quickly they were starting to gel,” Brooks told reporters Tuesday. “They weren’t a cohesive unit during the summer, but we knew we had the makings of it just because we had so many mature kids. And then really we hit our stride obviously with the winning streak (10-0 to start the season), but when we lost to Duke (on Jan. 26), we learned a lot about ourselves. There was no yelling in the locker room after that game. I told the kids, ‘Let this sting. We’ll get another opportunity to play them,’ and I said, ‘Don’t let it bother us. Let it kick us forward.’

“From that moment, the look in their eyes, they’ve been pure professionals. They’ve gone out, everyone understands their roles, and they’ve done them, and they’ve starred in their roles. The way these kids play for each other is something special.”

Past champions of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship

2022 South Carolina (36-2) Dawn Staley 64-49 Connecticut Minneapolis, Minnesota
2021 Stanford (31-2) Tara VanderVeer 54-53 Arizona San Antonio, Texas
2020 Baylor (37-1) Kim Mulkey 82-81 Notre Dame Tampa, Florida
2019 Notre Dame (34-3) Muffet McGraw 61-58 Mississippi State Columbus, Ohio
2018 South Carolina (33-4) Dawn Staley 67-55 Mississippi State Dallas, Texas

For a complete list of champions, visit NCAA.com.

No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes

Current record: 30-6

Season wrap: With its win over Louisville in the Elite Eight, Iowa set a program record for the most wins in a single season as the Hawkeyes prepare for their second Final Four in school history. Earlier this season, Iowa won its third Big Ten Tournament title since 2019, beating Ohio State by largest margin of victory in BTT Championship history (33 points). Iowa’s 87.6 points per game this regular season is the best in program history, and the Hawkeyes’ made 313 three-pointers this season set a Big Ten Conference record, eclipsing the prior mark set by Ohio State (300) in 2017-18. Iowa leads the nation in points per game, assists per game (21.1) and field goal percentage (50.9).

Final Four outlook: The Hawkeyes were tabbed a No. 2 seed for the fifth time in school history, and they hold a 13-4 record in the NCAA Tournament on the No. 2 Seed line.This will be the second meeting between the two programs, which met on Dec. 28, 1989, in the “Super Shootout Basketball Tournament” in Hilton Head, S.C. No. 20 ranked South Carolina beat No. 4 Iowa 82-76. 

Probable starters: McKenna Warnock (F), Monika Czinano (F), Caitlin Clark (G), Gabbie Marshall (G), Kate Martin (G)

About coach Lisa Bluder: Bluder ranks fourth all-time among Division I active coaches with 849 career wins (first among Big Ten active coaches), and she’s also the all-time leader for Big Ten regular season conference wins with 247.  The Hawkeyes have made postseason tournament appearances in 21 of Bluder’s 23 seasons at Iowa, receiving 17 NCAA Tournament and four WNIT (2003, 2005, 2016, 2017) bids, including four Sweet 16 appearances.

Spotlight on… Caitlin Clark: Tabbed as the Naismith National Player of the Year on Wednesday, Clark became the first player in DI women’s basketball history to notch a 950-point and 300-assist single season. This season, Clark added to her Big Ten Conference record with her 11th career triple-double in Iowa’s Elite Eight win over Louisville, tying for second-most in NCAA women’s basketball history. She joined Marquette men’s basketball All-American Dwyane Wade as the only NCAA Division I players since 1999-2000 with a triple-double against an AP Top-2 opponent when she accomplished the feat in January vs. a then-No. 2-ranked Ohio State (Wade did it vs. No. 1 Kentucky in the 2003 NCAA Tournament), finishing with 28 points, 10 rebounds and a season-high 15 assists, the latter total tying for the third-most assists ever in a conference game. Clark’s stretch this season of four consecutive 20-point, 10-assist games is the most by a Division I player in the past 20 seasons (Jan. 11-23). Her 11 career triple-doubles is the most by a male or female in Big Ten history.

Coach’s last word: “America gets to see two fabulous, spectacular basketball players in the same 40 minutes with (Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston). It doesn’t get a lot better than that,” Bluder told media earlier this week. She followed up Thursday by adding, “I’ve been coming to the Final Four for a long, long time, but my seats are finally going to be pretty good tonight. So I’m excited about that. … I’m just trying to convince my team 40 minutes of basketball and a lifetime of memories, and that’s all we have to focus on.”

No. 1 South Carolina

Current record: 36-0

Season wrap: The Gamecocks opened this season atop both the AP and the USA Today/WBCA Coaches’ Polls for the third time in as many seasons and have remained there. Going wire-to-wire in the AP Poll in back-to-back seasons, South Carolina joins UConn and Louisiana Tech as the only programs to do so in the history of that poll.

Final Four outlook: The Gamecocks have played in the NCAA Final Four five times in the last eight NCAA Tournaments, including winning the 2017 and 2022 National Championships. This year marks South Carolina’s 19th NCAA Tournament appearance and its 11th straight under head coach Dawn Staley. They hold 44-16 record overall in the tournament with 13 Sweet 16 appearances and seven Elite Eight showings.

Probable starters: Aliya Boston (F), Victaria Saxton (F), Brea Beal (G), Zia Cooke (G), Kierra Fletcher (G)

About coach Dawn Staley: In her 23rd season as a head coach, Staley has a .756 (574-185) winning percentage, which ranks ninth in the nation among active head coaches with at least 10 seasons of experience and seventh among those with at least 20 years in the position. The unanimous 2020 National Coach of the Year, she became the first person to win both a Naismith Player of the Year and a Naismith Coach of the Year and the first Black head coach to win multiple national championships in men’s or women’s basketball. She has been named national coach of the year by at least one organization four times, including three times in the last four seasons.

Spotlight on… Aliya Boston: Boston, who earned Naismith Defensive Player of the Year honors this week, is just the fifth four-time AP All-American in the history of the award and just the 10th player to earn first-team honors at least three times. She is the first multi-year winner of the Lisa Leslie Award, vying for the award for a fourth time this season. She’s also a four-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year and two-time SEC Player of the Year.  Additionally, Boston is the GAmecocks’ record holder with 1,483 rebounds (fourth in the SEC, 16th in NCAA), 514 offensive rebounds, 969 defensive rebounds, 82 double-doubles (second in the SEC; eighth in NCAA) and 137 consecutive games started. Her 329 career blocked shots are second in program history and sixth in the SEC.

Coach’s last word: “I feel pressure,” Staley told reporters Tuesday. “Pressure for our team to be successful, pressure to have our team perform as they performed all season long, pressure as a Black coach to win. Then just the pressures that come with being the No. 1 team, being the No. 1 overall seed. You don’t think it impacts you, but it does. It’s not the driving force, though. It’s not the very thing that I say, ‘I feel this pressure.’ I don’t feel it in that way. I feel it in that I don’t want to let whoever’s looking at us in a way that lends hope to them.  I don’t want to let our fans down. I want what this team is supposed to have. Obviously we think it’s a national championship, and there lies more pressure to win.”

2023 DIO Implant LA Open: How to watch, who’s in the LPGA tourney at Palos Verdes GC

Lydia Ko of New Zealand tees off on the second hole during Day Three of the HSBC Women's World Championship.
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The LPGA’s fifth stop of the season features the fifth edition of DIO Implant LA Open, which moves to Palos Verdes Golf Club this year after being played at Wilshire Country Club since its debut in 2018. Japan’s Nasa Hataoka looks to defend her 2022 title, however, two-time LPGA winner Marina Alex is the reigning champion of last year’s event played at Palos Verdes GC, and the two will play together in the first two rounds.

World No. 1 Lydia Ko will make her first start in the United States this season. The New Zealander finished T-6 in her season debut in February at the Honda LPGA Thailand, and that same month she won the LET’s Aramco Saudi Ladies International for the second time, taking home the $750,000 first-place prize. Skipping this week is last week’s LPGA Drive On champion, France’s Celine Boutier, who bested Solheim Cup teammate Georgia Hall of England in a playoff at Superstition Mountain in Arizona to secure her third LPGA title. Hall will play in the LA Open, no doubt looking to keep the momentum rolling as the 144-player field competes for the $1.75 million prize purse, with the winner earning $262,500.

How to watch the 2023 DIO Implant LA Open

You can watch the 2023 DIO Implant LA Open on Golf Channel, Peacock, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Check out the complete TV and streaming schedule:

  • Thursday, March 30: 6:30-10:30 p.m. ET, Peacock; 7-9:30 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Friday, March 31: 6:30-10:30 p.m. ET, Peacock; 7-9:30 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Saturday, April 1: 6-10 p.m. ET, Peacock; 6-9 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Sunday, April 2: 6-10 p.m. ET, Peacock; 6-9 p.m. ET, Golf Channel

Who’s playing in the 2023 DIO Implant LA Open

The field includes six of the top 10 players on the Rolex Rankings:

  • No. 1 Lydia Ko
  • No. 2 Nelly Korda
  • No. 3 Jin Young Ko
  • No. 4 Atthaya Thitikul
  • No. 9 In Gee Chun
  • No. 10 Hyo Joo Kim

Winners and local Southern California connections: Also playing this week are two of the four winners on tour so far this season — Jin Young Ko and Lilia Vu — and two past champions of this event, Moriya Jutanugarn and Nasa Hataoka. Seven players in the field attended nearby attended USC — Jennifer Chang, Karen Chung, Allisen Corpuz, Annie Park, Lizette Salas, Jennifer Song and Gabriella Then — while six attended UCLA: Bronte Law, Allison Lee, Ryann O’Toole, Patty Tavatanakit, Mariajo Urib, and Vu). World No. 15 Danielle Kang, who grew up in Southern California, attended Pepperdine.

Past winners of the LA Open

2022 Nasa Hataoka (Japan) 15-under 269 5 strokes Hannah Green  (Australia)
2021 Brooke Henderson (Canada) 16-under 268 1 stroke Jessica Korda (USA)
2020 No event N/A N/A N/A
2019 Minjee Lee (Australia) 14-under 270 4 strokes Sei Young Kim (South Korea)
2018 Moriya Jutanugarn (Thailand) 12-under 272 2 strokes Inbee Park (South Korea), Jin Young Ko (South Korea)

Last year at the DIO Implant LA Open

Japan’s Nasa Hataoka shot rounds of 67-67 over the weekend at Wilshire Country Club to win by five strokes over Australian Hannah Green. The then-23-year-old Hataoka opened with rounds of 67-68 and was tied with Jin Young Ko after 36 holes, but Hataoka broke through on Saturday when her third-round 67 gave her a four-stroke lead over Green heading into the final round. Ko fell back following a 72 on Sunday that included a quadruple-bogey on the 17th hole. The win marked LPGA title No. 6 for Hataoka, who was the only player to card all four rounds in the 60s, and she finished just one off the tournament scoring record at 15-under 269.

Of note, Wilshire CC is hosting a different LPGA event this season — the JM Eagle LA Championship set for April 27-30.

The last player to win an LPGA event at the Palos Verdes Golf Club was New Jersey native Marina Alex, who won the 2022 Palos Verdes Championship by a single stroke over Ko. Alex posted rounds of 70-68-70-66 to finish at 10-under 274, marking her second win on tour and breaking a four-year win drought.

More about Palos Verdes Golf Club

Located in Palos Verdes Estates, California, Palos Verdes Golf Club was originally designed in 1924 by George C. Thomas and William P. “Billy” Bell, who also designed Riviera Country Club, Bel Air Country Club and Los Angeles Country Club North. The tournament’s back nine is known to members as a “perfect nine,” as there are no two consecutive holes of the same par. In 2013, the course underwent a renovation overseen by Todd Eckenrode that included several new greens, tees and chipping areas, all new bunkers, and the removal of hundreds of trees to restore the ocean views. Par is 71 (36-35), and the official scorecard yardage is 6,258 yards.

The NBC golf research team contributed to this report. 

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