Women’s British Open Primer: History, TV, Field

On the heels of the inaugural Ladies Scottish Open at Dundonald Links, the LPGA Tour will tee it up again in Scotland for the Ricoh Women’s British Open, the season’s fourth major.


 
Co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour (LET) and LPGA, the Ricoh Women’s British Open will be contested at Kingsbarns in St Andrews, where the world’s best players will compete for a tournament-record $3.23M purse.

The final week in Scotland also marks the conclusion of the LPGA’s 12 week summer marathon schedule.

12 Week Summer Marathon

This portion of the schedule includes 12 consecutive tournaments including 3 major championships.

Lap 1

  • 5/18-22: Kingsmill Championship – Lexi Thompson (-20)
  • 5/25-28: LPGA Volvik Championship – In-Kyung Kim (-11)
  • 6/2-4: Shoprite LPGA Classic – Shanshan Feng (-19)

Lap 2:

  • 6/8-11: Manulife LPGA Classic – Ariya Jutanugarn (-17)
  • 6/15-18: Meijer LPGA Classic – Brooke Henderson (-21)
  • 6/23-25: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship – So Yeon Ryu (-18)

Lap 3:

  • 6/29-7/2: KPMG Women’s PGA – Danielle Kang (-13)
  • 7/6-9: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic – Katherine Kirk (-22)
  • 7/13-16: U.S. Women’s Open – Sung Hyun Park (-11)

Lap 4:

  • 7/20-23: Marathon Classic – In-Kyung Kim (-21)
  • 7/27-30: Ladies Scottish Open – Mi Hyang Lee (-6)
  • 8/3-6: Women’s British Open

History

The Women’s British Open was first played in 1976, and established by the Ladies’ Golf Union – the governing body for women’s and girls’ amateur golf in Great Britain and Ireland.


 
The organizers hoped to create a women’s equivalent of men’s British Open Championship. At first the reception was lukewarm, and the tournament was played at, what were considered, “second tier” courses for several years.

In 1994, the LPGA co-sanctioned it as an official tour stop, and as the sport of golf exploded in the late 90s, the brand index of the event grew stronger, which delivered more prestigious links courses playing host – including Royal Lytham & St Annes (1998, 2003, 2006), Royal Birkdale (2000, 2005, 2010), and Turnberry (2002).

The LPGA Tour named it as one of its majors in 2001, as a replacement for the du Maurier Classic in Canada.

In 2007, the tournament finally reached the holy grail, and played at the Old Course at St Andrews. Following St. Andrews, more historic courses followed, such as Carnoustie (2011) and Royal Liverpool (2012).

This edition of the Women’s British Open marks the 18th year as an LPGA major championship.


By The Numbers

  • 2 – Lexi Thompson enters the fourth major ranked No. 2 in the world, leapfrogging defending champ Ariya Jutanugarn.
  • 3 – Most wins: Karrie Webb of Australia and Sherri Steinhauer of the United States are tied with three wins.
  • 7 – Past Women’s British Open Winners: Karrie Webb (1995, 1997, 2002), Catriona Matthew (2009), Yani Tseng (2010, 2011), Stacy Lewis (2013), Mo Martin (2014), Inbee Park (2015), Ariya Jutanugarn (2016)
  • 18 – This week’s field includes all 18 winners in 2017

The Skinny

Tournament: Ricoh Women’s British Open
Managed By: LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour
Title Sponsor: Ricoh
Dates: August 3-6
Course: Kingsbarns Golf Links
Where: St Andrews, Scotland
Vitals: par-72, 6,697 yards
Architect: Ariya Jutanugarn
Purse: $3,230,000
Winning Share: $487,500
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


The Course

Golf has been played on the links of Kingsbarns since 1793. The club was founded by the Merchants and Lairds of Kingsbarns, who drafted articles to form what was called the Kingsbarns Golfing Society.


 
For about 50 years, starting in 1850, the land was turned into a farm. In 1922, however, the old Kingsbarns Golfing Society was re-established and founded the Kingsbarns Golf Club in 1922.

Located just six miles from St Andrews, Kingsbarns Golf Links borders two miles of North Sea coastline, where each hole is focused on the adjoining sea.

The championship links course annually co-hosts the European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, alongside the Old Course at St Andrews and Carnoustie Golf Links.

Kingsbarns will play to a par 72, and stretch to 6,697 yards for the world’s best female golfers this week.


Defending Champion

Ariya Jutanugarn captured her first major title at Woburn Golf and Country Club last year, winning by three shots over Mirim Lee and Mo Martin.


 
The victory was Jutanugarn’s fourth of five during her breakthrough 2016 season. The major championship title was the first for a golfer from Thailand, male or female.


Recent Champions

2016: Ariya Jutanugarn, 65-69-66-72–272 (-16)
2015: Inbee Park, 69-73-69-65–276 (-12)
2014: Mo Martin, 69-69-77-72–287 (-1)
2013: Stacy Lewis, 67-72-69-72–280 (-8)
2012: Jiyai Shin, 71-64-71-73–279 (-9)


The Field

The 144-player field in Scotland includes all ten of world’s top 10 ranked players, headlined by the world’s top three players: No. 1 So Yeon Ryu, No. 2 Lexi Thompson, and No. 3 Jutanugarn.


 
All eyes will especially be on the defending champion Jutanugarn, who has struggled badly since mid-June, with her last five starts resulting in a T-22, CUT, WD, CUT, and T44.

World No. 5 Lydia Ko, who missed the cut last week at the Scottish Open, will also be in the field at Kingsbarns, and still searching for win No. 1 of the 2017 season.

Young Canadian Brooke Henderson, at world No. 9, will be teeing it up for just the third time in the British Open.

A handful of top Americans, who are currently on the Solheim Cup team bubble, will also be teeing it up, including Michelle Wie, Brittany Lincicome, Brittany Lang, and Angela Stanford.


 
The field is additionally highlighted by marquee names such as Danielle Kang, Inbee Park, Cristie Kerr, Katherine Kirk, Stacy Lewis, Karrie Webb, and Paula Creamer.


TV Coverage

Round 1: Thursday 6:00 AM-1:00 PM (Golf Channel)
Round 2: Friday 6:00 AM-1:00 PM (Golf Channel)
Round 3: Saturday 7-11:00 AM (Golf Channel); 11:00 AM-2:00 PM
Round 4: Sunday 7:30-11:30 AM (Golf Channel); 11:30 AM-2:30 PM


Jeff Smith

Jeff is a Producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is producing a digital documentary on the 2016-17 PGA Tour season.



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