A Double Major Week28 Jul 2016
It’s another huge week, with the Ricoh British Women’s Open and the PGA Championship getting underway this evening on opposite sides of the Atlantic. We also have players involved in the Asian Tour, and the Web.Com and European Challenge Tours over the weekend.
Ricoh British Women’s Open
Once again, Lydia Ko has the chance to create history by becoming the youngest ever winner of three Major titles, when she tees off on the Marquess course at Woburn Golf Club in England tonight. The Marquess is the most recent (opened in 2000) of the three courses at Woburn, and its narrow, tree lined fairways should suit Lydia’s accuracy, bringing back to mind Sam Snead’s saying “Stay out of the woods - they are full of long hitters”. The course features some imaginative design options: Justin Rose described the Marquess as “the most fun he’d had on a golf course”.
Lydia plays the first two rounds with local favourite Charley Hull, and Linda Wessberg of Sweden. The TAB have Lydia at $4.50, which could turn out to be relatively generous odds….
US PGA Championship
The famous Baltusrol course in Springfield, New Jersey, is the venue for the last men’s Major of 2016. Designed by A W Tillinghast, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame last year at St Andrews (73 years after his death…sometimes it takes a long time to get recognised in golf…), Baltusrol has hosted seven US Opens and one PGA Championship. It is a par 70, with a brutal slope rating of 147, and the only two par 5s are the 17th and 18th, opening up plenty of possibilities for dramatic swings at the end of a round. Baltusrol is named after Baltus Roll, who originally farmed the land, but was brutally murdered by two thieves back in 1831. By the end of the week, there may be a few players who wish it had stayed as farm land.
A very traditional club, Baltusrol has had only eight PGA head professionals throughout its 100 year history, including Johnny Farrell, who won the 1928 US Open here, and then served the club as head pro from 1934 to 1972.
Danny Lees tees off with Luke Donald and Matt Kuchar, in a field which looks to be the strongest of all the 2016 Majors, even with the inclusion of 20 PGA club professionals. Jason Day is the defending champion: if you are looking for a winner, Phil Mickelson looks attractive given current form, and the fact that he won the only other PGA Championship played here back in 2005.
Ryan Fox is in Northern Ireland this week, for the Tayto NI Open at Calgorm Castle GC, which is likely to be his last event before Rio.
Steven Alker and Josh Geary are in California, playing in the Elle Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae on the Web.Com Tour. They have plenty of work to do to significantly improve their rankings, but should be match fit after playing all four rounds last week in Utah.
Finally, Sean Riordan features in the Kings Cup at Pattaya, Thailand, on the Asian Tour, a lucrative event with a purse of $US 750,000.