Round 2…At Pinehurst #2
In an unprecedented move, the USGA has scheduled the United States Women’s Open to be contested on the exact same course, Pinehurst #2, as the men’s open-on back-to-back weeks.
A grand experiment that I don’t see doing the women’s game any favors.
That course is a beast. And it beat up on the best men’s players in the world last week. As cool as the concept of back-to-back is on paper, I kind of think it’s a no-win situation for the ladies.
If the course proves to be too much (in comparison to the men), it will further reinforce negative stereotypes about their game. If they do better, all that will be said is that the USGA took pity and didn’t give them an equally difficult setup.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope this turns out to be a rousing success. Goodness knows that for the first time in a long time, there are actually AMERICANS on that tour whose story lines are the most compelling.
Will Stacy Lewis continue to assert herself as the number one player in the world?
Will Michele Wie, in her ELEVENTH U.S. Open (she’s ONLY 24) finally realize the potential so many have predicted for her for so long?
Will Lexi Thompson, already a major championship winner this year, continue to dazzle and amaze with her power game-so rarely seen in Women’s golf?
And then…there’s Lucy Li. At 7:07 on the morning of 6/19, she becomes the youngest participant in the Ladies Open’s history. She’s 11.
She’s not even old enough to play in United States JUNIOR Golf Association tournaments (you must be 13), yet she’s qualified to play in the USGA’s crowned jewel for grown women!
I don’t think she’ll make the cut. Shoot, I don’t think she’ll even be able to break 80 in either of the first two rounds, but that certainly didn’t stop her from captivating the hearts of every hardened golf journalist present at her press conference on Tuesday.
Polished, mature beyond her years, she stole hearts and impressed all.
This week for the men, The TPC River Highlands from Cromwell, Ct. is to the U.S. Open as Harbor Town Golf Links from Hilton Head, SC is to the Masters. The Traveler’s championship is to be a safe haven and a much more relaxed atmosphere and course to decompress after the stress of a major championship.
Ken Duke is your defending champion (his first win in almost 200 tries on tour).
Four of the Top Eight players in the world will tee it up (including Masters Champ, Bubba Watson).
And this will also be the sight of the long-anticipated pro debut of the NCAA Player of the Year, Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers.
Also in the field will be two past British Open Champions.
And David Duval
Both can be described as struggling with his game. Both are looking to find that shining moment in the sun once more. I for one, would love to see it.
All in all, it’s shaping up to be another interesting week on the links.
“On the Green” this week” will feature Andrew Sapp, Head Men’s Golf Coach, UNC-Chapel Hill, Brittany Altomare from the ladies Symetra Tour (and a 3 time U.S. Open participant-her first at age, 17!), Kyle Porter of CBSSportsline.com (Eye on Golf), and Ike Granger from Charlotte’s First Tee.
A reminder that the show airs at 8am on Saturdays on 610/WFNZ and 9am Sundays on 1660/WBCN.
See ya then!
Charlie Nance (@WFNZGolfGuy on Twitter)