Editors Blog- Women’s British Open
Well, where to start. That was the best week of golf I have had the pleasure of watching.
In a week where a certain video of Phil Mickelson (in case you missed it) was released, I didn't think that could be topped. However, the Ricoh Women's British Open trumped it by miles! Read my round up of the week below.
Arriving after a few hours sleep it was straight on the course to catch the first tee time at 6:30 am. The weather for the first 3 days was mixed, with rain, sun and wind. However, day 4 was glorious sun all day long!
I have never been to America to watch golf so it was my first time to get a glimpse of some of the LPGA stars in action. Michele Wie has always been a hero of mine and luckily I walked the first 6 holes with her as she unfortunately had to withdraw injured not long after. For those of you that don't know Michele was arthritis in her hands. This means she has very little cartilage in both her hands meaning the bones grind on each other causing serve pain. She then has to get collagen injections before taking a week of which is not ideal for a pro golfer and for her to withdraw she must have been in real pain!
As well as seeing the big named stars from the US I was also keen to watch players that I have been covering on the LET and the LET Access Series. At the beginning of the year I predicted 10 players to watch out for in 2018 , Georgia Hall was one and another was Swedish teenager Julia Engstrom. She played some great golf and went round level par even appearing to be carrying an injury on her foot. She missed the cut by 2 shots but she is definitely a player to watch for the future.
The media center is a fantastic place and everyone is well looked after. It is a the perfect location to keep abreast of all the information on the course. As well as live coverage and live scoring, the media are provided with all the up to date stats, pin locations, and course info which is extremely useful. As well as that we are well looked after with food and drinks all day long.
It was great just to be sharing a room with Amy Rogers. She is a fantastic journalist covering the LPGA. The On the Tee podcast is well worth a listen (give it a go on soundcloud). So thank you to IMG, the LPGA and LET for looking after us all week!
As someone who has spent a lot of time in Colombia I was keen to follow Mariajo Uribe. She didn't disappoint, on the course and off it. If her putter was a bit hotter she could have really pushed on. Off the course she was so nice to fans on and off the course dishing out golf balls to children and spending time after her rounds to take photos with the fans.
There were a lot of Europeans in action who have been mixing between the LET and Access series. Noemi Jimenez Martin (below), Silvia Banon, Astrid Vayson De Pradenne to name a few were on display and it was great to spend a few holes with each of them. There is an LET Access event at Stoke Nayland golf club in September and I urge you all to go and watch some golf, you wont be disappointed.
Another player I was keen to watch was 15 year old Atthaya Thitikul. The Thai star has already won a LET event and is one of the brightest stars of the women's game. She was the only amateur who made the cut and went on to win the silver salver. Her interaction with other Thai players off the course must be one of the reasons she is so grounded. They are like a big group of sisters which means any Thai player must really feel at home on the tour and at these big events and therefore lead to the recent charge by Thai players in the Women's game. All the Thai players, even those that missed the cut were waiting next to the 18th green to show their support for the unlucky Phatlum and support Atthaya Thitikul on winning her leading amateur prize.
After 3 great days of walking more than 16km every day!! Sunday lived up to the hype and Georgia and Pornanong went head to head all the way until the 17th. There could not have been a better winner and it was great to see the reception of the home crowd. Georgia's speech was perfect and I think brought a tear to everyone's eye. It was great to be stood next to Georgia as she carried out her first interview as major champion and then again when she was called forward as the champion. You could see the emotion and happiness all over her face.
The reaction afterwards outside the media tent was something I have never seen before. Young girls surrounded the exit screaming Georgia's name until she was cheered out by her fans. This can only be a great thing for women's golf in the UK. Hopefully it will encourage new players to pick up a club for the first time.
Golf does not stop there either. We currently have the US amateur taking place and this weekend sees the European Golf Championships start at Gleneagles plus the LET Access returns to Sweden to name a few events.
My last point is a real plea. Please show more women's golf on TV. The support is there, the quality of golf is there and these women have personalities, let them show it to a wider audience! Even if it has to be via a red button or live streaming just allow the content to be there because the crowds and hype form this weekend need to be used to keep the women's game moving forward. In my opinion the game has never been stronger.
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