Wednesday, June 26, 2013

U.S. Women's Open Preview

The U.S. Women's Open, which is one of my favorite events of the sports year, tees off tomorrow at the Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, New York.  The club is out toward the eastern end of Long Island, close to Shinnecock Hills.  It was designed by Tom Doak and Jack Nicklaus, and opened just a few years ago.  Doak is considered one of the best of the modern golf architects, and his book The Anatomy of a Golf Course is very good, so I'm excited to see this course.

As for the golf, the big story is Inbee Park, the 2008 U.S. Open champion.  After winning the 2008 Open, Park did not win another tournament on the LPGA tour for over four years.  But so far this year, she has won five tournaments, including both of the major tournaments played so far:  the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the LPGA Championship.  She is also coming off of a victory last week in the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship, where she beat So Yeon Ryu (the 2011 U.S. Women's Open champion), in a playoff.  Everyone will be watching to see if Inbee Park can win her third major title of the year.

The top American threat is probably Stacy Lewis, who is ranked number two in the world and who has two victories on the tour so far this year.  But I don't see her holding up very well under the pressure of a U.S. Women's Open.

We are sad to see that Emma Talley did not qualify for the U.S. Women's Open.  In fact, there are no Kentuckians in the field.  We hope for better luck next year.

Finally, here are the winners of the U.S. Women's Open since 1998, when Se Ri Pak became the first South Korean golfer to lift the trophy:

1998:  Se Ri Pak (KOR) (Blackwolf Run, Kohler, Wis.)
1999:  Juli Inkster (Old Waverly G.C., West Point, Miss.)
2000:  Karrie Webb (AUS) (The Merit Club, Gurnee, Ill.)
2001:  Karrie Webb (AUS) (Pine Needles Lodge and G.C., Southern Pines, N.C.)
2002:  Julie Inkster (Prairie Dunes G.C., Hutchinson, Kan.)
2003:  Hilary Lunke (Pumpkin Ridge G.C., North Plaines, Ore.)
2004:  Meg Mallon (The Orchards G.C., South Hadley, Mass.)
2005:  Birdie Kim (KOR) (Cherry Hills C.C., Cherry Hills Village, Colo.)
2006:  Annika Sorenstam (SWE) (Newport C.C., Newport, R.I.)
2007:  Cristie Kerr (Pine Needles Lodge and G.C., Southern Pines, N.C.)
2008:  Inbee Park (KOR) (Interlachen C.C., Edina, Minn.)
2009:  Eun-Hee Ji (KOR) (Saucon Valley C.C., Bethlehem, Pa.)
2010:  Paula Creamer (Oakmont C.C., Oakmont, Pa.)
2011:  So Yeon Ryu (KOR) (Broadmoor G.C., Colorado Springs, Colo.)
2012:  Na Yeon Choi (KOR) (Blackwolf Run, Kohler, Wis.)

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