- 1 Early life and family
- 2 Educational background
- 3 Career
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Hobbies, favorite things and interesting facts
- 6 Social media presence
- 7 Appearance, clothing style
- 8 Net worth and salary
Kelly Tilghman is a popular golf broadcaster, who is best known for being first female lead golf announcer on the PGA Tour. She worked at the Golf Channel for 22 years, quitting in 2018. Let’s find out what she is up to today, what’s her current relationship status, net worth, etc.
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Early life and family
Kelly Ann Tilghman was born on 6 August 1969, in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina USA, so under the sign of Leo, and holding American nationality. She was raised in the family of Katherine and Phil Tilghman, who were very involved in golf from their youth. Kelly’s parents founded and owned a golf course, managing it for more than 22 years, which helped Kelly to find out what golf was at a very young age, and she soon developed strong skills in this sport. There is no information about siblings, so she is probably the only child in her family.
Kelly matriculated from her local high school in North Myrtle Beach in 1987, and right after that entered Duke University. She was an active participant in the university’s women’s golf team, winning the event hosted by Furman University in 1990, the Lady Paladin Invitational. Kelly successfully graduated from her alma mater with a BA in Political Science and History, however, she decided to try herself in sport, and went on to play professional golf.
During her professional golf career, Kelly played in multiple tournaments in many countries around the world, including Australia, several European countries, China and Japan. She also tried herself as a golf coach, training other people and teaching them how to play golf properly.
Her career actively developed from 1992, but in 1996 she decided to retire from professional sports to focus on her broadcasting career, as she had huge experience and deep understanding of all aspects of the game. Kelly managed to get a position in the Golf Channel team right after its inception.
Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) and the “Golf Channel”
Being one of the veteran broadcasters of the Golf Channel, Kelly held the position of the co-anchor of such shows as “Golf General”, “Sprint Post Game” telecast, and “Live From…”. She also hosted multiple original programs of the Golf Channel network, with “Academy Live” and “The Grey Goose 19th Hole” among them. As a mature professional, she was often invited to comment on and to cover various golf events, appearing on-course and reporting the latest results.
In 2007, while her popularity reached its peak, and she was considered to be one of the most experienced golf broadcasters, Kelly signed a contract with PGA Tour (Professional Golfers’ Association) for 15 years ahead. According to this contract, the Golf Channel had the rights to broadcast three key events in the year, adding to this all weekday coverages of any events of the tour. Kelly started co-broadcasting with popular anchor and lead analyst Nick Faldo; the two appeared on all PGA Tour telecasts.
Controversy around Tiger Woods
The tandem of Nick and Kelly was way too energetic, and they sometimes got carried away with their jokes. One of such situations happened in a year after their first mutual broadcasting. In 2008, while reporting on PGA Tour telecast, Kelly tried to support Nick’s joke about Tiger Woods.
He laughed that younger players are probably ganging up on Tiger Woods, and Kelly joked back that they must have planned to ‘lynch him in a back alley’. Even though Tiger Woods himself didn’t see anything criminal in their cocky conversation, and his agent admitted that neither he nor Tiger himself saw any ill intent in the anchors’ chat, the situation was used to shame Kelly. Civil rights activist Al Sharpton claimed Kelly should have been fired the same day she let herself say such offending (to his mind) words. Kelly took her chance to apologize for her lame remarks a couple of days later, but Al Sharpton was restless, and kept on fighting. He asked for the meeting with the authorities of the Golf Channel, pushing that Kelly’s remark was a true ‘insult to all blacks’.
The managers of the “Golf Channel” hurried to invite Vince Cellini to take Kelly’s place if she was suspended. However, it didn’t happen the way Sharpton wanted – the “Golf Channel” suspended Kelly from broadcasting only for two weeks. It is worth mentioning, that Tiger Woods still insisted he didn’t see anything wrong in Kelly’s words, and even invited her to collaborate on his golf video games “Tiger Woods PGA Tour” (in 2009, 2010 and 2011). However, the story wasn’t let go by some other channels, who wanted to use another suitable situation to fire Kelly.
In 2018 she announced her departure from the Golf Channel; even though it was said she was going to focus on her personal life, Kelly kept on working hard even after leaving the channel.
The Golf Channel then hired another reporter, named Alexandra, who looks very much like Kelly, as the audience of the channel often shares such opinions in the comments to the posts on their official Instagram account.
Arnold Palmer Invitational and other side projects
In 2017, a year before Kelly officially quitting the Golf Channel, she was appointed to the position of an ambassador (and also the co-host) of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. She also promoted the Gene’s Dream Foundation she co-created with other professional players, to raise young talents and help junior golfers to get into tournaments. She now promotes the projects entitled “Mentor Cup” which raised around $9 million in 2017 during the tournament at Tidewater Golf Club.
Kelly Tilghman shooting a stand-up for NBC's Presidents Cup preview show that will air September 22nd!
Kelly revealed she was co-operating with Arnold Palmer’s daughter Amy and her husband Roy, to unite efforts and work together in fundraising for juniors.
In 2010 Kelly was rumored to date her co-host, Nick Faldo, as the audience felt the strong sparks between them while they were on-air together. However, the rumors turned out to be false as Nick was dating another girl, Leslie Anne Wade, the CBS Sports communication chief. Kelly kept her private life low-key, never mentioning any names when she was asked about her husband. She gave up once, and stated that she had a daughter (who is around eight-year-old as of 2019), whose name is Ryan. Kelly is often rumored to be lesbian, as the circle of her friends consists mostly of ladies. However, she never confirmed or commented these guesses in any way.
Hobbies, favorite things and interesting facts
Along with her all-time love of golf, Kelly likes swimming and hiking. She is also working hard on supporting junior golf in South Carolina. She was a good friend of Arnold Palmer, the legendary golf player and mentor. She also stands for women’s rights in the sports industry: ‘I encourage women of all ages to watch this and learn. Golf is a game of opportunity in sports, business and life’, she shared in one of her Twitter posts.
Social media presence
One can’t say Kelly is super active on various social media platforms, as she doesn’t have an Instagram account or a Facebook page. However, Kelly is very active on her Twitter profile, which is read by almost 180,000 people, and has tweeted more than 11,500 times.
Just me and tens of thousands of my closest friends having a little get together at the 17th at Sawgrass. Join us Live From right now. pic.twitter.com/yJsML6w5Yy
— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) May 13, 2017
Kelly’s presence on Instagram was only supported by the official account of “Golf Channel” when they posted her pictures from broadcasts (it is worth saying that the managers of the “Gold Channel” Instagram account removed most of her photos from their feed leaving only one picture with the announcement of her leaving). Anyway. she hasn’t yet created her own page, probably feeling Twitter is enough for her to be in touch through social media.
Appearance, clothing style
Kelly has naturally light brown hair which she always bleaches blonde; she has blue eyes. Kelly is 5ft 6ins (1.73m) tall, weighs around 138lbs (63kgs), and her vital statistics are 35-24-35. As to her clothing style, she prefers sporty looks, often wearing sports suits and soft fleece jackets, as most golf players do.
Net worth and salary
According to authoritative sources, Kelly’s current net worth is estimated to be around $5 million; she was reported to earn up to $375,000 per year while she worked at the “Golf Channel”. As she is still working hard on her new projects with Amy Palmer, the daughter of Arnold Palmer, and her husband Roy, who is the vice president of Bay Hill, her net worth is going to grow in the future. Kelly is reported to have a 4,493 square mansion in Windermere, Florida, which has five bedrooms and three bathrooms, valued at around $1.4 million. Kelly is currently residing there with her family and daughter.