If you loved the exciting golf competition at the Tokyo Olympics – and given all the storylines that emerged from the Kasumigaseki Country Club, how could you not? – then I have great news for you. At the LPGA Tour, we do this almost every week, over 30 times a year, in countries around the world with players from everywhere – from 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 will not find a more diverse professional sports league anywhere in the world.
Last week outside Tokyo, we saw Nelly Korda, the # 1 Rolex, from Bradenton, Florida, versus 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 it was better to be below par than above par – were the Olympic Games a first encounter with international women’s golf. Aditi, for example, was the top trending topic on Twitter in India last Saturday (although the rest of the games are still in full swing) and the fifth highest trend search in the world. The Indian president even tweeted his congratulations to the 23-year-old and wrote, “Well-played Aditi Ashok! Another daughter from India is making tracks! You took Indian golf to new heights through today’s historic achievement. You played with immense calm and poise. Congratulations on the impressive display of courage and ability. “
Well played Aditi Ashok! Another daughter from India is making tracks!
You took Indian golf to new heights through today’s historic achievement. You played with immense calm and poise. Congratulations on the impressive display of courage and skill.
– President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 7, 2021
What few of President Ram Nath Kovind’s 14.4 million supporters know is that Aditi came to Tokyo from a hot vein. Just a few weeks earlier, she and her play partner Pajaree Anannarukarn from Thailand took third place at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational.
Even fewer people know that Aditi, Lydia and Nelly are friends who see each other no less than 20 weeks a year. That’s life on the LPGA Tour, week after week.
This week is no exception. Many of last week’s Olympians, including Ko, are from Tokyo to Leven, Fife, Scotland, along the north coast of the Firth of Forth, about nine miles from St. Patty Tavatanakit, who won the first major championship of the season and are playing in who wore the colors of her native Thailand last week will be there along with her Thai Olympic team-mate Ariya Jutanugarn. The two players who finished fifth in Tokyo, Hannah Green from Australia and Emily Kristen Pedersen from Denmark, are also in the field in Scotland, along with two players who represent Germany: Sophia Popov and Caroline Masson.
Minjee Lee, who won a major at the Amundi Evian Championship before flying to Tokyo to represent Australia, will return to Scotland this week. Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow, who wore the green of Ireland at the Games last week, will return to serve on a links course that will no doubt remind them of their homeland.
Anna Nordqvist (Sweden), Anne van Dam (Netherlands), Albane Valenzuela (Switzerland): the list of Olympians playing this week goes on. This is nothing new for the passionate fan. Every week the LPGA Tour looks like a UN convention where players from different countries eat together, play training rounds together, stay in the same hotels and compete against each other in all sports in the friendliest environment.
For those who make their living from patriotism and play for the flag and land, there is more to come. On Labor Day weekend in September, Toledo, Ohio will host the Solheim Cup, where a dozen of the best women from the United States will compete against a strong team from the defending champions from Europe.
And we have another big championship next week, the AIG Women’s Open in historic Carnoustie, right after the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish.
So if you were introduced to women’s golf in Tokyo last week, we welcome you with open arms. You’re in for a treat. We do this all the time. Each year. And every week it’s just as fun to watch and follow as it was to the games. The international players of the LPGA Tour take care of that.