Women’s sports don’t get much respect from the general population. The WNBA has struggled for years, and other women’s sports leagues are simply off the radar. Women’s tennis and the LPGA may be the most successful women’s sports around—and the LPGA is a pale shadow of the men’s Tours.
The Ricoh Women’s British Open this week, however, is worth of the attention of every sports fan.
First, the event marks Inbee Park’s shot at a Grand Slam—four straight Major wins in the same season. It is historic, and that alone makes it worth watching. That’s something even the great Tiger Woods hasn’t done. Making it more intriguing is that thanks to marketing and sponsor issues, the LPGA has five, not four majors. If she wins the Women’s British Open, the question is then whether that actually completes the slam. I think it does. If she wins a fifth, there would be an argument that it is the best season in golf history. No pro has ever won four majors in a year. No man has ever won five majors in a year.
But Inbee has to win them first.
To be honest, I don’t consider the Evian a Major, in spite of what the LPGA says. You are not a Major if you have to pay someone to designate you as such. Evian and the LPGA should be ashamed of themselves.
The second thing that makes the Women’s British Open worth watching is the Old Course. Any tournament at St. Andrews is worth watching. The history of this course transcends. Further, golf fans’ familiarity with the course will help us to appreciate the skill of the women players in a way that we often can’t on unfamiliar LPGA tracks.
It is true that the women professionals do not hit the ball the same prodigious distances of their male counterparts. And they generally don’t have the strength to hit a ball a hundred and fifty yards out of knee high rough. But they do have mad golf skills that would put most any male non-pro (or non-top competitive amateur) to shame. I’ve been to several of the LPGA’s Jamie Farr tournaments as a fan and member of the media, and am always impressed by the players skills.
Golf fans should set their DVRs for the Ricoh Women’s British Open. I know I will.