If you loved the thrilling golf competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games - and given all the storylines that emerged from Kasumigaseki Country Club, how could you not? – then I’ve got great news for you. At the LPGA Tour we do this almost every week, 30-plus times a year, in countries all over the globe with players from everywhere – India to Indiana; Ljubljana, Slovenia to Slidell, Louisiana; South Korea to South Dakota. Pick your flag and we probably have a player for you. You won’t find a more diverse professional sports league anywhere in the world.
Last week outside Tokyo we saw Nelly Korda, the No. 1 player in the Rolex Rankings, from Bradenton, Florida, battling down the stretch against Lydia Ko from Auckland, New Zealand, Mone Inami from Toshima, Japan and Aditi Ashok from Bengaluru, India. For many – including millions of cricket fans in India who spent much of the week searching the internet for the difference between a birdie and a bogey and why being under par was better than over par – the Olympics was an inaugural exposure to international women’s golf. Aditi, for example, was the top-trending topic on Twitter in India last Saturday (even with the rest of the Games still in full swing) and the fifth-highest trending search worldwide. The President of India even tweeted his congratulations to the 23-year-old, writing, “Well played Aditi Ashok! One more daughter of India makes her mark! You have taken Indian golfing to new heights by today’s historic performance. You have played with immense calm and poise. Congratulations for the impressive display of grit and skills.”
Well played, Aditi Ashok! One more daughter of India makes her mark!— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 7, 2021
You have taken Indian golfing to new heights by today's historic performance. You have played with immense calm and poise. Congratulations for the impressive display of grit and skills.
What few of President Ram Nath Kovind’s 14.4 million followers know is that Aditi came to Tokyo on something of a hot streak. Just a few weeks before, she finished in a tie for third in the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational with playing partner Pajaree Anannarukarn of Thailand.
Even fewer know that Aditi, Lydia and Nelly are all friends who see each other no less than 20 weeks a year. That is life on the LPGA Tour, week in and week out.
This week is no exception. Many of last week’s Olympians, including Ko, have traveled from Tokyo to Leven, Fife, Scotland along the north shore of the Firth of Forth, about nine miles from St Andrews, for the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open being held at Dumbarnie Links. Patty Tavatanakit, who won the season’s first major championship and wore the colors of her native Thailand in last week’s Games will be there, along with her Thai Olympic teammate Ariya Jutanugarn. The two players who tied for fifth in Tokyo, Hannah Green of Australia and Emily Kristen Pedersen of Denmark, are also in the field in Scotland, along with both players who represented Germany: Sophia Popov and Caroline Masson.
Minjee Lee, who won a major at the Amundi Evian Championship before jetting off to Tokyo to represent Australia, will play again this week in Scotland. Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow, who wore the green of Ireland last week in the Games, will tee it up again on a links course that will no doubt remind them of their homeland.
Anna Nordqvist (Sweden), Anne van Dam (The Netherlands), Albane Valenzuela (Switzerland): the list of Olympians playing this week goes on. To the ardent fan, this is nothing new. Every week, the LPGA Tour looks like a U.N. convention with players from different countries eating together, playing practice rounds together, staying in the same hotels and competing against each other in the friendliest environment in all of sports.
For those who thrive on patriotism and playing for flag and country, there is more of that coming as well. The Solheim Cup, pitting a dozen of the best women from the United States against a stout defending-champion squad from Europe, takes place over Labor Day weekend in September in Toledo, Ohio.
And we have another major championship, the AIG Women’s Open, at historic Carnoustie coming up next week, immediately following the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish.
So, if you were introduced to women’s golf last week in Tokyo, we welcome you with open arms. You are in for a treat. We do this all the time. Every year. And it’s just as fun to watch and follow every week as it was in the Games. The international players of the LPGA Tour make sure of that.