RICOH Women's British Open Top Storylines

Stacy Lewis
Photo Credit: David Cannon/Getty Images

Stacy Lewis of the United States tees off on the 1st hole during the final round of the Ricoh Women's British Open at the Old Course, St Andrews on August 4, 2013 in St Andrews, Scotland.

THIS WEEK ON THE LPGA TOUR
Week of July 7, 2014
Ricoh Women’s British Open
Royal Birkdale Golf Club
Southport, England


(Note: Southport is five hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone)


WOMEN’S GOLF RETURNS IN PRIME SHAPE TO CLASSIC VENUE

The iconic white clubhouse as close to the 18th green as any in major golf sits just behind and to the right of the green, overlooking the massive dunes that dominate the property. It’s Royal Birkdale Golf Club - host of nine British Open Championships and six Women’s British Open Championships - and it might be as respected of a venue outside St. Andrews.

Could women’s golf really be returning in any better shape than it is currently? Michelle Wie, arguably the game’s most transcendant star, is fresh off her first major championship at the U.S. Women’s Open three weeks p

rior, where the women’s edition saw higher weekend TV ratings than the men. Stacy Lewis, the feisty No. 1 player in the world, continues to birdie her way into the winner’s circle with her third win of the year a week prior. And one doesn’t have to look far to find the Rolex Rankings of every winner on the LPGA Tour this season - Hint: They all reside within the top 18.

LEWIS BACK TO DEFEND

In her last start at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G, Lewis birdied the 17th and 18th hole to vault into the lead and had to wait for the players ahead of her to finish before her win was secured. Sound familiar? It should. It’s the same thing Lewis did las t year at the Women’s British Open at St. Andrews when she hit two of the best shots of her life - a 5-iron to 4 feet on No. 17 and a curling 25-foot birdie putt on 18 - for a two-shot win.

Looking to repeat, Lewis comes in with as much momentum as any. She’s No. 1 in the world, has won three of her last seven starts, and fin- ished second at the U.S. Women’s Open. No one in the women’s game is playing better golf right now, and Lewis’ background growing up in the Texas wind makes her game a better fit for the links-style golf a Women’s Open requires.

DEFENDING CHAMPS IN THE FIELD

Previous winners of the Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale are Marta Figueras-Dotti (1982), Dame Laura Davies (1986), Sophie Gustafson (2000), Jeong Jang (2005) and Yani Tseng (2010). Only Davies, Jang and Tseng are in the field this week.

WILL THE AMERICAN RESURGENCE CONTINUE ACROSS THE POND?

Stacy Lewis’ victory a year ago at this event snapped a 10-major dry spell for American players - the longest in women’s golf history. However, a Solheim Cup beatdown by the Europeans last summer seems to have sparked an American revival. 10 of 16 events have been won by an American this season, including the season’s first two majors with wins by Lexi Thompson at the Kraft Nabisco and Wie at the U.S. Women’s Open, and seven Americans rank in the top 14 in the world in the Rolex Rankings.

It’s still an incredibly global tour, though, with nine different countries represented in the top 20 in the Rolex Rankings. This event might have the most global winner’s group of all with eight different countries represented in the winner’s circle since 2001 including five in the last seven. Only twice since this event became a major in 2001 has an American won - Sherri Steinhauer in 2006 and Lewis in 2013. What a perfect showcase of the global nature of the women’s game heading into the inaugural International Crown in two weeks.

17 YEARS OLD AND NO. 1 IN THE WORLD?

It could definitely happen this week. A win by 17-year-old Lydia Ko and a four-way tie for 2nd or worse by Stacy Lewis, and the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings will switch hands. Lewis further distanced herself a week ago with a win, while Ko finished in a tie for second, but Ko’s right on her heels and could potentially overtake her with her first major win. Ko would be right at 5 years younger than Yani Tseng and Jiyai Shin, who both held the No. 1 spot as 22-year-olds.

PRESSURE FREE INBEE

As the former No. 1 player in the world, the target on Inbee Park’s back couldn’t have been any more immense. Neither could the pressure as Park entered the 2013 Women’s British Open with three straight major wins and an opportunity to become the first player in history to capture that season’s first four majors. She admitted the pressure and attention was overwhelming at times, finishing in a tie for 42nd. She’s not off to as hot of a start as a year ago but did win the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic a month ago and enters this week No. 3 in the world.

BUSINESS AT THE GOLF COURSE

The top women golfers are all business when it comes to competing in major championships, so it’s no surprise they were all business - in a slightly different way. For Monday’s photo call at the RICOH Women’s British Open, players took on an office setting as Laura Davies, Paula Creamer, Lydia Ko, Michelle Wie, Charley Hull and Rikako Morita took their office to the 18th green at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club.

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July 10-13
Ricoh Women’s British Open

Royal Birkdale Golf Club
Southport, England

Field: 144 (138 professionals, 6 amateurs)
Par: 72
Yardage: 6,458
Purse: $3,000,000
Winner:  $456,818
Defending Champion: Stacy Lewis

TV Times
ESPN2
July 10 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
July 11 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
July 12 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
July 13 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
All times listed are Eastern time

Top-3 LET Week Prior
Hannah Jun
Amy Boulden
Sally Watson

2014 LPGA Tour Rookies (7)
Amy Anderson Mirim Lee
Stacy Keating Xi Yu Lin
Joanna Klatten Line Videl
Lydia Ko  


Rolex Rankings
Top 10:
10/10
Top 20: 20/20

2014 LPGA Official Money List  
Top 10: 10/10
Top 20: 20/20 

Qualifiers (15)
Becky Brewerton Katie Futcher
Nontaya Srisawang Marianne Skarpnord
Holly Aitchison Su-Hyun Oh (a)
Stephanie Meadow Stacy Keating
Laetitia Beck (a) Liz Young
Cathryn Bristow Bree Arthur
Stephanie Na  
Louise Larsson  

 

PRESS CONFERENCE AND MEDIA EVENT SCHEDULE

Tuesday, July 8
Time Event Location
1:30 p.m. Catriona Matthew Press Conference Media Center
2:00 p.m. Stacy Lewis Press Conference Media Center
2:30 p.m. Michelle Wie Press Conference Media Center
     
Wednesday, July 9
11:00 a.m. Laura Davies Press Conference Media Center
1:00 p.m. Lydia Ko Press Conference Media Center
1:30 p.m. Inbee Park Press Conference Media Center
2:00 p.m. Press Conference Media Center
2:20 p.m. Special Announcement with Charley Hull and Paula Creamer Media Center
2:30 p.m. Press Conference Media Center
     
* All times are local, British Summer Time (BST)

 

Topics: Storylines, Ricoh Women's British Open

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