In 2015 and 2016, Australian Hannah Green earned the opportunity to visit an LPGA Tour major championship by winning a scholarship program run by her idol Karrie Webb. This week, Green took a page out of Webb’s book and brought Alice and Rosie Tonts, two junior golfers from her home club in Perth, to Royal Adelaide for a few days of golf and fun. Since Green won her first title with a major splash at the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Green has made a concerted effort to make the most of her newfound popularity, including these opportunities to make impactful moments with her fans.
“I’ve had obviously a lot more requests for media stuff, which has been very different for me, so I think that’s probably the biggest thing that’s changed in my life the last year or so. I definitely get more attention when I’m back in Australia, golf courses in Western Australia particularly,” said Green. “I guess it’s kind of just making sure that I still stay the same type of person as I was last year and even my rookie year. It can definitely get to your head and you can definitely become a different person and I hope that doesn’t happen.”
Green visited Royal Adelaide a month ago for a practice round and joined the chorus of raves about this week’s links-style track. This is her fifth Women’s Australian Open and with no finishes outside the top 20, including a tie for seventh here in 2017, Green is in prime position to perhaps capture her National Open for the first time.
“I definitely enjoy playing an Aussie Open. Last week I was close to getting another top 10 so I feel like I’ve been working very hard this offseason with all my coaches back in Perth,” said Green. “I’ve been probably practicing more than I have been playing, so I’ve just got to get back into the rhythm of that, but yeah, there’s no reason why I can’t contend and possibly have the trophy on Sunday.”
EVEN SICK, KARRIE WEBB READY FOR WOMEN’S AUSTRALIAN OPEN CHALLENGE
No one has a better track record at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open than Australian golf icon Karrie Webb. The 41-time LPGA Tour winner is playing in her 24th consecutive Open and has five titles to her name, the most in the tournament’s 29-year history. So to call this tournament her favorite would not be out of line.
“I’ve always loved playing at home in Australia and I know I don’t have many Australian Opens left, so it’s just nice to be here,” said Webb, whose last win here came in 2014 at Victoria Golf Club near Melbourne. “It’s nice that I’ve been a part of the history of the Australian Women’s Open as much as I have and won on the courses that I have. I think that’s one of the things I’m most proud of.”
With a rasp in her voice due a battle with strep throat, Webb admitted that she’s well under the weather as she heads into Thursday’s first round. But no mere cough is going to keep her from stepping to that tee tomorrow morning.
“I think just with the adrenaline of competing, I think it will help lift the energy level up and also the focus and concentration,” said Webb. “Yeah, I’m sure that’s not going to be a problem once 7:55 a.m. comes round.”
“I’M JUST SO YEON RYU”
Successful players can make life on and off the golf course look easy. Looking through that lens, So Yeon Ryu’s words about self-doubt and the pressures of the game become even more refreshing. For the two-time major champion, who is donating 50% of her earnings during this Australian Swing to bushfire relief, it takes a concerted effort to look past the trappings of fame and success and focus instead on her own personal needs and values.
“I know it’s really important to have self-confidence and it’s really important to have what you believe instead of what people think about you,” said Ryu. “But when we are in this position it’s so tough when people start not recognizing your name and people start to not really talk about what you’ve done, you sort of feel like, am I useless? Am I not really good at what I’m doing right now?
“I’m not going to lie, sometimes I feel like maybe I’m useless and then I so easily forget what I’ve done too. But at the same time what I learn is just no matter how I’m going to play, I’m just So Yeon Ryu, no matter I’m going to be number 1 or number 100, I’m just going to be So Yeon Ryu. I’m here because I love to play golf. I’m here because I love competing. As long as I’m doing what I love to do, I think I’m still So Yeon Ryu. So, I learn a lot to be, more to be myself instead of thinking about people’s opinion too much.”
NOTABLE FIRST-ROUND GROUPINGS
Defending champion Nelly Korda will tee off No. 10 at 7:44 a.m., playing with Rolex Rankings No. 9 Jeongeun Lee6 and leading Australian Minjee Lee.
Hee Young Park, who broke a six-year victory drought with her win at last week’s ISPS Handa Vic Open, will tee off No. 1 at 12:34 p.m., alongside Australian major winner Hannah Green and former Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko.
Five-time Women’s Australian Open winner Karrie Webb opens her tournament on the 10th tee at 7:55 a.m., playing with fellow Australian Katherine Kirk and major champion Stacy Lewis.
JAN VAN DE VORP NOMINATED FOR LPGA’S AXA LPGA VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARD
The AXA LPGA Volunteer Service Award is a program launched in 2018 to recognize exemplary volunteers at each LPGA tournament. This week’s award recipient is Jan van de Vorp, who is leading the volunteer effort at Royal Adelaide Golf Club for the second time, joining 2017. Tournament officials cited her “absolute passion and dedication” as the reason for her nomination.
After the 2020 season, the name of one AXA LPGA Volunteer Award recipient will be drawn in a random selection. That winning volunteer’s tournament charity will be awarded $10,000 on behalf of AXA.
For more information on the AXA LPGA Volunteer Service Award, visit http://www.lpga.com/tournaments/axa-lpga-volunteer-service-award
Tournament: @WomensAusOpen (Twitter and Instagram), #WomensAusOpen
LPGA: @LPGA, @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram)
TV TIMES (all times Eastern)
Wednesday, Feb. 12 to Thursday, Feb. 13 – 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Thursday, Feb. 13 to Friday, Feb. 14 – 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Friday, Feb. 14 to Saturday, Feb. 15 – 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 16 to Sunday, Feb. 17 – 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.