History often comes out of the blue. You don’t know it’s coming until it kisses you on the cheek, a surprise that brings a lasting smile and a moment of reflection. We had one of those in golf this week, a wonderful reprieve from the ranker, name-calling, and threats of legal action that have dominated the game’s news cycle.
On Sunday, Sweden’s Linn Grant, a standout star from Arizona State University who is in her first year as an LPGA Tour and LET player, made the kind of history few saw coming. The 22-year-old became the first woman ever to win an official event on the DP World Tour (formerly the European PGA Tour).
Grant, who was a two-time first-team All-American for the Sun Devils before advancing through LPGA Tour and LET qualifying, Grant had an extraordinary week in Sweden at the Volvo Scandinavian Mixed, shooting a tournament-low 64 in the final round to win by an eye-popping nine shots over Marc Wilson and major champion and tournament co-host Henrik Stenson.
Thousands of fans flocked to Halmstad Golf Club and crowded around the final green to witness history. Among them was Annika Sorenstam, who created this event with Stenson as a true mixed championship – men and women on the same course, in the same event, for the same prize money.
Grant entered the final round with a two-shot lead, one she quickly widened with five birdies in her first six holes. Her golf swing lit up social media throughout the week, and many fans who didn’t know this event existed, tuned in on Sunday to see if Grant could close it under pressure.
“I didn’t see the leaderboard until the 13th green, and it was a bit of a shock,” Grant said afterward. “I thought maybe three shots (ahead at that point) but to see it was eight, I was like, whew!”
From there it was an exhibition. Grant never sniffed a bogey. Her towering tee shots were only equaled by deft wedges that left her with relatively simple putts. On the few occasions when she missed a green, as she did at the final hole in the left trees, she recovered perfectly, punching out onto the green.
“It’s huge, playing at home with my family by my side,” Grant said. “It’s crazy. I’m really happy. … Hopefully this pumps up the women’s game a little bit more.”
It pumps up the game in general, especially in a week when the debate over the PGA Tour and LIV Golf dominated sports headlines. Few paid attention to the young woman from Helsingborg, even though she is arguably the hottest player in golf.
Grant began her professional career late in 2021 by winning early and often. In October she won on the LET Access Tour at the Terre Blanche Ladies Open on the French Riviera. Then, after a respectable run through Q Series, Grant went to South Africa where she won three events on the Ladies Sunshine Tour and captured that tour’s Order of Merit over LPGA Tour veteran Lee-Ann Pace.
One of those wins was the Joberg Open, a co-sanctioned event with the LET. She then won the Mithra Belgium Ladies Open in late May, her last start before teeing off in her homeland in the Scandinavian Mixed.
As fast starts go, there hasn’t been one this impressive in decades.
Grant credited her college experience in America with preparing her for this moment.
“My time at ASU was very important to me on a personal level,” she said. “Getting to leave home and experience missing Sweden was very important and having to live everyday life by myself without my family. It was probably what I needed to experience to get my game to the next level.”
Of course, the final putt had yet to fall in Tylösand before critics attempted to downplay Grant’s accomplishment, citing the fact that the women and men played different tees, as if that somehow negated this historic win. They fail to mention that DP World Tour officials set up the golf course.
Grant's grandfather, Jim, was a Scottish golf professional who emigrated to Helsingborg in the 1970s, while her father, John, has seven wins on the Swedish Senior Tour.
As Grant accepted the trophy and posed for pictures with Stenson and Sorenstam, the depth of the moment hit her and for the first time, her emotions spilled out above the growing smile.
It wasn’t her first and likely won’t be her last win. But it was history that can never be repeated, a refreshing moment that should dominate the golf headlines for the coming days.