WOBURN – Defending champion Georgia Hall won’t be returning the AIG Women’s British Open trophy to Woburn Golf Club for this week’s championship. She had it stolen from her car two months ago.
During a visit to London to have the names of the other champions engraved on her replica, it was stolen from her car when her back window was smashed in. It occurred around midday in broad daylight. The trophy has yet to be recovered.
"I was on my own and nothing happened to me like that before, so I was a little bit scared,” Hall said during her Tuesday press conference with the original trophy sitting beside her. “Some things happen like this in life and you just get on with it I suppose.”
The trophy represented Hall’s biggest accomplishment in the game. While some players refuse to show their hand when it comes to the event they would most like to win, Hall has no doubts - the AIG Women’s British Open. It’s the championship she won in historic fashion in 2018 at Royal Lytham & St Annes, where she became the first Englishwoman since Karen Stupples in 2004 to capture a major title.
“This is much more important to me as a person because it’s my home event,” Hall said. “It’s the best major in the world in my opinion.”
Despite winning her favorite event, the victory hasn’t been the springboard Hall hoped for as she recorded just two top 10s since her victory last July. Like so many major champions who find success, she looked for ways to further improve. But for Hall, who likes to keep her game simple, her work with instructor Dan Grieve became too complicated. They parted ways two months ago after three years working together.
“I got a bit too technical, which isn’t me at all,” Hall explained. “I just wanted to simplify everything and it’s a lot better without having those voices in my head.”
While Hall has struggled to find success on the course, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t enjoyed the perks of becoming a major champion. She no longer goes unnoticed during her trips to the United States and attracted the attention of a fan while sunbathing on vacation in Barbados. But perhaps the biggest benefit that’s come from her victory has been inspiring young players.
“Loads of young girls and boys messaged me on social media saying, ‘I have taken up the game because I watched you in the British,’” Hall said. “I think it’s done a lot of good, which I didn’t realize at the time for golf and especially women’s golf.”
She’s also enjoyed the special recognition she receives each time she competes on Tour.
“I think they would announce it on Thursday,” Hall said about being introduced on the first tee as a major champion. “That would be very special teeing it up and hearing ‘defending champion,’ because that’s kind of a new thing for me.”
The staff at the AIG Women’s British Open are working to get Hall a replacement trophy. But with a successful defense, she could have the trophy back in her hands on Sunday.