The Women’s British Open is on the brink of something special. Following the success of England’s Georgia Hall at her home Open last year, women’s golf was plastered over every news channel in the country. Now, women’s golf has a chance to grow exponentially in Britain and across the globe.
Hall became the first Englishwoman since Karen Stupples in 2004 (also the British Open) to win a Major. In 2016, Brooke Henderson (PGA Championship) became the first Canadian women’s Major winner since 1968 before Ariya Jutanugarn (2016 British Open & 2018 U.S. Open) became the first Thai golfer, man or woman, to win a Major. In June this year, Hannah Green became the first Australian woman to win a Major since Karrie Webb’s seventh title in 2006.
There’s no denying a South Korean domination of the Majors; winning 47% in the 5-Major era and three of four Majors so far this year. However, we really haven’t seen a domination of the biggest titles by a single player since Inbee Park’s seventh & most recent win in 2015.Woburn Golf Club could very well favour Europeans and, in particular, Brits. This is an opportunity.
The purse is often cited as the main disparity between the men & women’s game. But money doesn’t come from nowhere. If you want an organisation to dish money out, they’ll need to get money in first! So…Chase fans, and the money will come. And I’d be willing to bet that Georgia Hall’s heroics at Royal Lytham & St Annes will have earned some fans. Incidentally, the British Open purse has risen by 40% to $4.5million (around £3.7million) since last year.
A Few to Watch
Ko Jin-young won her first Major at the ANA Inspiration before going on to win her second at The Evian Championship. As such, she is the obvious favourite. Ariya Jutanugarn isn’t far behind, having progressed methodically through this year’s Majors with results of T61-T26-T10-5. Her sister Moriya was just one stroke behind her last week (T6, -10), though. Moriya also caught the eye with an impressive closing 5-under 67 (T12) to at the ANA Inspiration in April.
Lexi Thompson was restored as America’s poster girl after returning from a mental break from the sport, and looked promising with 3-T2 in the first two Majors but fell away a bit (T26-CUT) in the two Majors since.
Despite Georgia Hall being the reigning Champ, England’s best hope arguably comes in the form of 23-year-old starlet Charley Hull. She was the Ladies European Tour Player of the Year as a teenager and has wins on both the LET and LPGA Tour, including and LET title at the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open in January. This year, she notched a T12 at the ANA Inspiration and a T16 at the U.S. Women’s Open. If that wasn’t enough, Hull became a member of Woburn Golf & Country Club- host of this week’s tournament- aged 11 so will have a better knowledge of the course than most.
Written by Joe Carabini