With less than two weeks remaining until tee time at the 2014 US Women’s Open, anticipation’s building and energy’s running high for this historic playing of the premier event in American women’s golf. The love child conceived and birthed in 1946 by a collaboration between the Women’s Professional Golfing Association and the Spokane Athletic Round table and first played at the Spokane Country Club and won that year by Patty Berg is, two generations later, a richly matured centerpiece around which women’s golf revolves.
The 2014 Open, which will be played at the cradle of American golf, Pinehurst No. 2, is marked by three historic “firsts” that point toward a bright future for the sport and the sportswomen to take to the field, playing for the love of the game.
This is the first time the men’s and women’s US Open Championships have been scheduled back-to-back, signaling the continued growth of women’s golfing popularity.
This is the first time the USGA has held sectional qualifiers in four international venues, the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, Japan and England in addition to the twenty US qualifying events, further expanding access to the competition and signifying the truly internationalized scope of the event.
On May 19, eleven-year old Lucy Li broke Lexi Thompson’s 2007 record and became the youngest player ever to qualify to play in the US Women’s Open. She earned her spot on the tee box by carding 74 and 68 on the par-72 Old Course at Half Moon Bay.
We had a peek at Lucy Li’s golfing style when she won the USGA-sponsored Drive, Chip & Putt contest for her age group at the 2014 Master’s Championship and I have a feeling that we’re going to see a good deal more of Lucy Li for years to come.
There’s something magical about a sport that provides the opportunity and the playing ground for even competition between an eleven-year old California school girl and a seasoned veteran like Laura Davies, the 1987 US Women’s Open champion, qualified to play in the 2014 Open following the same path at Lucy Li, earning her place on the first tee on May 21 at the Rumson Country Club in Rumson, New Jersey.