It is quickly becoming one of the most popular events in the game. And for a good reason. The third edition of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open kicks off Thursday at the historic Brooklawn Country Club in Connecticut, and the camaraderie and gratitude of the legends of the women’s game can be seen as well as it was at the Chicago Golf Club in 2018 when the championship debuted and again in 2019 at Pine Needles when Helen Alfredsson finally took her first USGA title.
“It’s great,” said Juli Inkster. “I play a bit on the Legends Tour so I see (some of these players) but I’m thrilled and excited to have Annika (Sorenstam) playing and Catriona playing Matthew and Helen (Alfredsson) and Laura (Davies). We have a pretty good field here. I think the more you can have the best players on the field, the higher the quality of golf. “
Sorenstam, who is making her US Senior Women’s Open debut, agreed, saying, “Arrived yesterday and seeing a lot of the players for the first time in 10, 12, maybe even more years – because I retired 13 years ago but some of them “Players retired before that – it was just weird to see them and think, okay, fast forward, here we are 15 years later. When you think about what everyone’s been up to for so many years, whether it’s getting married, raising a family, or just doing other things, it was really nice to meet players I just haven’t seen. It was really very nice. ”
It was nice for the USGA too. After a COVID hiatus in 2020, the association did not miss any trick to host an extraordinary championship. Brooklawn is one of the classic gems of the Northeast, a track that reminded Inkster of their home club Pasatiempo in Northern California.
That championship also gave USGA officials a chance to revert to one of their unofficial traditions – having some fun with the first-round groupings. You are not obvious. More than a decade ago, former CEO David Fay brought Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood and Tom Watson together at the US Open, the Three W’s, a good grouping with a few changes. But he also brought Tom Lehman, Bernhard Langer, and Steve Jones together because they were vocal evangelical Christians – the God Squad – which did him no favors with those who found such commitment to religious beliefs repulsive. Fay also always brought together at least one group of known curmudges, which gave them another reason to complain.
The practice was given up some time ago.
But this time around, it’s easy to pick out a few groups that weren’t put together randomly. One of them includes JoAnne Carner, Carol Semple Thompson, and Ellen Port. Together they have 22 USGA championships and well over 100 appearances. From the point of view of the USGA ambassadors, this grouping is hard to beat.
The other is a captaincy group, which also includes the US Solheim Cup captain Pat Hurst with her European Solheim Cup counterpart Catriona Matthew. Both make their debuts at the US Senior Women’s Open. The third member of the group is Sarah Ingram, who will lead the US Curtis Cup team in Wales later this summer.
“I don’t think we’re going to be comparing notes out there,” Hurst said with a smile. “It really has nothing to do with the seniors out here. But we will definitely talk about the (Soheim Cup), I’m sure of that. Sarah, I’m not sure, so it will be nice to play with her and get to know her a little and hear her thoughts on the Curtis Cup. “
Matthew agreed, saying, “I was lucky, I actually saw Pat at ANA and the US Women’s Open and KPMG. So, we met a couple of times this year. But it will be nice to play with her. I think we went to the same in 1994 (LPGA Tour Q School). And I played the Curtis Cup with Sarah Ingram. So it will be nice to see them again. ”
It’s also nice to see the USGA revive an old tradition and have some fun with the tee shot.