A quick look at this week’s Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic:
- After a second place and a win in her last two starts, Michelle Wie’s momentum continues this week at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. Lake Merced Golf Club, the first-year site of this new event, is only 25 miles north of Stanford University, where Wie earned a degree in Communications.
- Lydia Ko can claim the spot as defending champion for a new event. The 16-year-old won what was then called the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters last December in Taiwan, the former site of the event that was then co-sponsored by the Taiwan LPGA and Korean LPGA tours. This year’s event is co-sponsored by the LPGA and Taiwan tours. Last year’s victory was Ko’s first as a professional.
- Swinging Skirts? The name isn’t just focused on women in skirts. It harkens back to the Scottish roots of the game when men also wore kilts while playing. The private, non-profit organization that includes 60 men and women looks to raise funds for women’s golf in Taiwan. The organization members wear skirts or kilts at the event and when representing the event at other tournaments.
- Lake Merced Golf Club, this week’s site, is in San Francisco’s golf holy land. Around the corner is Olympic Club, site of five U.S. Opens. Next door is TPC Harding Park, the municipal course that was the site of a Presidents Cup and numerous other PGA Tour events. And don’t forget San Francisco Golf Club, also adjacent to Lake Merced (across John Daly Boulevard – no, not the golfer), an exclusive A.W. Tillinghast design (his only West Coast design) that is the highest rated of all the local courses. Also, Lake Merced (the body of water) is located between Olympic Club and TPC Harding Park but does not reach the Lake Merced golf course.
- More history: When Babe Zaharias won the 1941 San Francisco Women’s Open Match Play at Lake Merced, it was the first professional women’s event held in California.
- The top four players in the Rolex World Women’s Rankings are in the field, but with an asterisk. None of them have won this season. Inbee Park, No. 1 for a 54th consecutive week, won in China in a non-LPGA event. She finished third last week. Pettersen, No. 2, hasn’t played since late March after sustaining a back injury. She started practicing last week. Stacy Lewis, No. 3, has five top-10s in six starts, including a second. Rookie Lydia Ko, No. 4, has a second and third this season.
- Karrie Webb and Anna Nordqvist, the only two-time winners on the LPGA this season, are in the field this week.
- Lexi Thompson, ranked No. 6 and the only top 10 player not in this week’s field, will return to action May 1 at the North Texas LPGA Shootout in Irving, Texas. It will be her first start since winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
- All four rounds this week will be televised live by the Golf Channel (6:30-10:30 p.m. EDT Thursday-Sunday).