A very fond farewell to Golf Channel


I was born and raised in the Myrtle Beach area. Becoming a golfer was a given for me, and for that, I am extremely grateful. Golf is the fabric of my life.

If I could write a thank you note to this game, it would go like this:

Thank you, golf, for giving me purpose and challenge. Thank you for teaching me responsibility, confidence and respect. Thank you for helping me earn a college scholarship and receive a world-class education. Thank you for affording me the opportunity to travel the world and play at one of the highest levels.

But most of all, thank you for Golf Channel.

It was here that I learned how special golf really is.

At its inception, few believed a 24/7 cable network built around a sport where you can hear birds chirping could survive.

Enter Arnold Palmer. I’ll never forget that day in the early years when he paid our tiny newsroom a surprise visit. It was an honor to be in his presence. One could only imagine how I felt when he put his hand on my shoulder and whispered, “I hope you believe in this place as much as I do.”

Yes, Arnold, I did.

Photos: Best of: Kelly Tilghman through the years

He knew golf was special. In what other sport can you watch an athlete win a tournament, and then become his amateur partner the very next week?

What other sport brings family, friends, athletes, celebrities, politicians and business leaders together like this one?

What other sport allows you to plan countless buddy trips and bond through shared adventures?  

Golf is the great unifier.

So, too, is Golf Channel. Why do you ask? Because it brought us together.

I am so lucky to be able to say I worked here from the beginning.

Yes, the passion of our employees and investors was a huge reason for this company’s success but there was someone even more impactful – you, the viewer.

Thank you for your support in every way. You made me feel like I was part of your family. You watched me mature and grow into the broadcaster I am today. You embraced me and my equally passionate, hard-working colleagues. I want to give special thanks to every one of you who stopped me in an airport, restaurant or grocery store and said, “Kelly, we watch you every night.”

It was my privilege to work for you. It was my honor to be a voice in your living room, to be able to track Tiger and Annika’s history with you. What a thrill it was to share conversations with icons like Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Nancy Lopez with you. It was also my good fortune to usher in the game’s next fearless generation of talent, yes, with you.

I want to personally thank you for your loyalty and relentless passion for this game and this channel.

It is on this note that I announce my 22-year career at Golf Channel is coming to a close – and I’ve chosen Bay Hill as the place to say farewell. It’s the perfect spot for so many obvious reasons. Arnold’s family will be there. My Golf Channel and NBC family will be there. I know you will, too, like you always have.

I’ll forever cherish the memories we’ve built together.

Thank you, Golf Channel, for an incredible run.

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