It's Our Time
The Women of the U.S. Open are Ready to Take on One of Golf’s Biggest Stages
There has never been a better time for women’s golf. Bigger purses, larger audiences, more airtime and this summer, the biggest championship on the grandest stage. The 78th U.S. Women’s Open is headed to Pebble Beach Golf Links this summer, July 6-9 with three more held on the calendar between now and 2048.
“I think it’s very historic that the women are playing here finally,” said 31-time LPGA Tour winner Juli Inkster. “I think they really deserve a chance to play an iconic golf course like Pebble Beach [and]that people will be very shocked at how well the women will play it.”
While the men’s professional game is in the news for it’s own reasons, the momentum behind women’s golf is building to a crescendo set to culminate this July at the biggest championship in women’s golf. Last time a USGA championship was decided here, two of the biggest hitters in the game dueled down the stretch in Gary Woodland and Brooks Koepka. This time around, the best in the women’s game are prepared to show off their games at the iconic Links.
“It’s becoming more equitable really,” said 2022 U.S. Senior Women’s Open winner Jill McGill. “The women have phenomenal games and I think the appreciation for the difference in the game between men and women, the appreciation [of the] rise for women in sports and the acknowledgment of the hard work the women put in and excelling to the max of capabilities – that’s just what as human beings all of us want.”
Having the U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach will give more fans a chance to appreciate the nuances of the women’s game and see a new group of legends look to add their name to the list of champions who have preceded them.
“I think fans are going to realize that the women are by far the best when it comes to hitting wedge shots, we are better with our hybrid and longer irons because we have to be,” explained LPGA Tour member Angela Stanford. “We drive the ball straighter. I think they are maybe going to see Pebble played the way it should be played instead of the way the guys bomb it over certain corners. I think that will be fun for fans because you are going to see angles that maybe you don’t see with the guys.”
USGA commissioner Mike Whan has been instrumental in moving the women’s golf game forward, having spent 11 years prior at the helm of the LPGA bringing record purses and unprecedented exposure to the organization in the form of lucrative sponsorship deals and new, exciting venues. The USGA is committed to Unifying, Showcasing, Governing and Advancing the game and the U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach is certain to showcase the women’s game like never before.
“The USGA does a really good job setting up golf courses,” touted Inkster. “We don’t hit it as far as the guys but you still want to challenge them and have the golf course shine and have the players shine and I think in the last five-to-ten years they have done a good job at that.”
Those newer to Championship life are slightly more wary of the demanding links course.
“I think it’s going to play difficult; I don’t know what the weather conditions are going to be like but I’m assuming that especially in the summer it’s going to be cold, it’s going to be windy so Pebble is going to be playing pretty difficult,” says Rose Zhang who holds the course record for women. “I heard from my caddy when I played in the Pebble Beach Invitational that there’s a couple of fairways that are being kind of oversaw so it will be a tight track just going down the stretch. It’s going to be a really good venue for everyone to test their game but it’s definitely going to be a U.S. Open golf course.”
Since we caught up with Zhang, she went on to break the Stanford program record for individual wins previously held by Tiger Woods, Patrick Rodgers and Maverick McNealy, doing so with her second consecutive NCAA title. Days later, she became the first player in more than 70 years to win in her professional debut on the LPGA Tour.
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When asked to describe the 18th green at Pebble Beach, Zhang summed it up in one word, “scenic.” What a scene it will be next month when for the first time, a U.S. Women’s Open is decided here at Pebble Beach.
Whatever your emotions heading into this historic event, the one adjective that best describes the vibe is “Ready.”
“In this day and age, I think we should be playing these golf courses,” expressed Inkster. “This is one of the most iconic golf courses in the world – everybody wants to come play Pebble Beach. Everybody knows about the Tom Kite’s, the Tom Watson’s, the Tiger Woods’ and the Gary Woodland’s. It’s great that the women finally get to put their name and stamp on it. So, who’s going to be the first woman to win a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach?”
The answer is a mere 72-holes away.