To Play Or Not to Play the Week Before a Major?

Inbee Park
Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Inbee Park of South Korea hits her tee shot on the first hole during the final round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship at Locust Hill Country Club on June 9, 2013 in Pittsford, New York

August 7 2014, Nicklaus Parker

Play and gain momentum? Or take the week off, practice and work on the areas that need sharpening in advance of one of the Tour’s biggest weeks of the year? It’s the age old quandary that faces every LPGA Tour player before a major – to play or not to play the week before?

Based off the field this week, that answer was clear – play – with nine of the top-10 in the field at the Meijer LPGA Classic Presented by Kraft.

“Well, you know, I think we all kind of have Rochester in our minds just being a major championship. You want to play well this week just kind of building into next week,” world No. 1 Stacy Lewis said. “But the field this week, I mean, it’s really good. I think we always really get good fields, especially the top players like to play leading into a major championship, so I think that’s why a lot of girls are here.”

In the previous two majors – the U.S. Women’s Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open – players didn’t have an option of play or rest before a major because there was already a built-in bye week to the schedule.

“I don’t feel like I need to play the week before a major. It was kind of good going into the U.S. Open to watch the men’s, that was kind of a different experience,” Lydia Ko said. “I don’t mind playing or not playing, but I kind of thought this is a great event to play and that’s why I’m really excited for it to start.”

The schedule falls perfectly for this event with a limited field event at the International Crown two weeks ago and then an off-week last week. Michelle Wie, for example, decided to just put the clubs away for a week of her two-week break after missing the cut in back-to-back events. Lewis didn’t have that option because she was on the American International Crown team. That required her to play three consecutive weeks, and she felt like her game had slipped in July since winning three tournaments in May and June.

“The week off was very necessary. The last three events I played in, I’ve been running on fumes,” Lewis said. “I’ve had a pretty long couple months here and I needed a week off, I needed some time.”

But in typical Lewis fashion, she’s ready to compete again, and this golf course – Blythefield Country Club – is proving the perfect transition into next week. The layout that’s been around since 1929 has the same feel and shots needed at Monroe Golf Club next week – a 1923 Donald Ross layout – that hosts the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

“It’s really similar to what we’re going to see next week, so it’s actually a really good way to prepare and get ready,” Lewis said. “You really have to hit it in the fairways here to give yourself opportunities into the greens.”

Topics: KPMG Women's PGA Championship

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