2023 U.S. Women’s Open Makes Historic Pebble Beach Debut

Pebble Beach Golf Links,(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Pebble Beach Golf Links,(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images) /

For the first time in its 77-year history, the U.S. Women’s Open will be contested over the historic grounds of Pebble Beach Golf Links on California’s stunning Monterey Peninsula from July 6-9, 2023.

Renowned as “the greatest meeting of land and sea” (Scottish and Irish fans may have something to say about this), Pebble Beach’s unmistakable vistas have inspired golfers of all levels for more than 100 years.

Although Pebble has hosted numerous men’s professional and amateur events, including the PGA Tour’s annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, it’s been 75 years since it last hosted a women’s event, that being the 1948 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship.

However, thanks to a bold vision from the United States Golf Association (USGA), women’s golf returns this year to the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links. In fact, the USGA has secured a who’s who of world-renowned golf courses to host its premier women’s event for the next 10 years. Women will now (finally) have the opportunity to compete at historic courses like Oakmont, Riviera, Merion, and Oakland Hills.

What to expect from Pebble Beach when the U.S. Women’s Open begins

Pebble Beach is one of the shortest courses on the PGA Tour, meaning precision and accuracy are paramount to shooting a good score. But what other defense will Pebble Beach offer up against the best women golfers in the world?

In a word – greens. Jack Neville, Pebble’s architect, believed that the best way to test golfers was to make them hit longer irons into small greens. That’s why Pebble’s greens are also the smallest on the PGA Tour, averaging around just 3,500 square feet.

For comparison, St. Andrews’ greens average 13,600 square feet which means you could literally place nearly four of Pebble’s greens into an average St. Andrews’ green.

“It’s one of the most intimidating golf courses I’ve ever played,” said 2002 PGA Championship winner Rich Beem, who now works for Sky Sports. “You get caught up in the views so easily, and all of a sudden you’ve got all of these difficult shots into greens that look like the size of dimes.”

Experts say that the key to scoring well around Pebble Beach is to play approach shots to the front edge of greens so you leave yourself an uphill putt. With a myriad of lies – uphill, downhill, sidehill – that is infinitely easier said than done.

With so much to play for – exemptions into the next 10 USWO, as well as the next five years into the other four major championships – and history on the line, those notoriously small greens will feel just a bit smaller come championship Sunday.

As we approach the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open, keep your eyes on these ladies as they compete for the Harton S. Semple Trophy and golf glory.

Jin Young Ko – South Korea

Fresh off a record-setting week at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – Ko set the new mark for most weeks at No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s Rankings (159 weeks) – Jin Young will look to capture her third major title, having already snagged a Chevron Championship and Evian Championship. The 27-year-old South Korean is trending in the right direction in terms of U.S. Women’s Opens, with a T-2 in 2020 and a solo 4th-place finish in 2022.

Also. LPGA Star Jin Young Ko Breaks Rolex Rankings Record. light

Pebble Beach, U.S. Women's Open, USGA, Jin young Ko, Minjee Lee, Lexi Thompson, Rose Zhang
Minjee Lee, 77th U.S. Women’s Open, (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Minjee Lee – Australia

The defending U.S. Women’s Open champion and two-time major winner brings all the intangibles you need for a USWO – sharp ball striking (she ranks 6th in G.I.R.), mental fortitude, and the confidence from having done it before. The downside? Putting. Lee ranks 137th on Tour in Putting Average (30.43). Still, if she can coax her putter into a solid week, she can give herself a chance to defend on Sunday.

Rose Zhang – United States

Zhang’s meteoric rise to golf stardom took another successful turn when she won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April at famed Augusta National G.C. Zhang then turned professional and went on to win her pro debut this June at the inaugural Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National Golf Club.

The 20-year-old from California has already played four USWO, all as an amateur. Her track record is mixed – a T-40, T-55, and two missed cuts – but that’s to be expected from an amateur. Now as a professional, Zhang will look to put herself front and center for one of the most anticipated U.S. Women’s Opens in history.

And she has good reason to be confident. In September 2022 as a sophomore at Stanford, Zhang shot a 9-under 63 to set the women’s course record at Pebble Beach.

Lexi Thompson – United States

Historically, when Lexi makes a list of notable players to watch it’s for her great play. But 2023 hasn’t exactly gone according to plan for Lexi. Her highest finish on Tour this season is a T-31 at the Cognizant Founders Cup in May.

Thompson’s putting has always been her Achilles heel and that’s no different this season. She ranks 121st in Putting Average (30.20) while her prodigious driving power has been counteracted by poor accuracy (151st on Tour in Driving Accuracy).

The good news is that Lexi’s last five USWO starts include a T-5, T-2, 3rd, and T-20 last year.

Next. The Women’s PGA Championship Goes Fully International. dark

Perhaps this course and this national stage will be just the thing Lexi needs to break out of her slump and claim her second major championship and first U.S. Women’s Open.