A magical week at Pebble Beach — Players to watch
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, July 6, 2023
Happy Golf Thursday my friends, and happy U.S. Open week! We’ve been waiting for this week for what feels like years — the LPGA is finally getting its shot at Pebble Beach — arguably the most famous track in the world and a dream destination for most.
When I was in the fourth grade, my family flew to Monterey to watch my brother play in the Walmart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach (the name has since changed…several times). During his practice round, we lagged behind his playing group, which included senior tour greats Mark O’Meara and Greg Norman. Towards the end of the day, Norman aka ‘The Shark’ paused the practice round and proceeded to give my brother a five-minute lesson in the left greenside bunker on the 17th hole. That was something I’ll never forget — the entire experience was quite surreal and definitely one of the best family vacations we’ve ever had.
Pebble is this remarkable, breathtaking place that holds such a rich history and unique culture. Navigating the winding curves of 17-Mile Drive, passing by goats (like seriously, there are SO many goats) clinging to the side of the cliffs is something that every golf fan should experience at least once in their life. Unlike Augusta, where the environment was handcrafted to every detail, Pebble coexists with its surrounding elements. From the cliffs to the gritty sandy beaches, Pebble Beach has a raw sense of beauty. It’s almost otherworldly — no course in the world resembles the layout. It was destined to host championships.
“I don’t think there’s a better place to win the U.S. Open. That finishing hole is the greatest hole in golf. If you have the chance to hoist the trophy here, it’s pretty special. It’d probably be the coolest feeling you could have.”Brooks Koepka
Pebble will host its 14th USGA Championship — and the LPGA for the very first time for a women’s U.S. Open. The course will play to a par 72 with an official yardage of 6,509 yards. And though it’s not playing super long, that doesn’t mean the course is without its challenges.
The weather won’t be leaving the low 60s all week long, and being that the course is right off the coast — the wind will be a factor. The notoriously small greens will demand laser-focused ball striking and premier short game out of the world’s best.
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This A-list venue requires an A-list field, thus the return of The GOAT and Weezy isn’t surprising. Annika Sorestam, a ten-time major winner, accepted a special exemption into this year’s championship.
Last year at Pine Needles, Wie West said that Pebble would be her farewell. She was an obvious fan favorite last year in NC, and with her husband on the bag with her whole family watching, the Stanford Alum will have a special homecoming this week. “It’s Pebble, it speaks for itself. I love the USGA, we have such a long history together and it’s an organization that means so much to me and a championship that means so much to me. It’s incredible to have a chance to play here.”
Furthering just how momentous this week is — historic TV coverage will accompany the USWO. This year’s U.S. Women’s Open will be broadcast live on NBC, USA Network, and Peacock. This will be the first time that NBC will air a women’s major in primetime, with the third and fourth rounds airing from 12-6 p.m. PT. In addition, there will be a record 26 hours of “Live From the U.S. Women’s Open” on Golf Channel.
With each passing year, the U.S. Open becomes the staple for the LPGA. Of all the majors — it brings on a level of excitement surrounding the women’s game, setting the tone for what needs to happen for proper elevation and development. Pebble is a special place, and I can’t wait to see who hoists that trophy on Sunday.
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This week in women’s golf
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It’s all USWO…ENJOY!!!
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Five at The IX: Players to watch at the USWO
Major championships can bring out the very best or the very worst in players. The women’s game is being played at such a high level, that week in and week out, you can never really know who is going to pull out the victory — everything and everyone is so neck and neck. That being said here are some players I think you should keep an eye on this week — they may not win but they will be in the mix.
Fresh off a win, Yin clearly has the momentum and the confidence to do something special. The brutal conditions of Baltusrol could be good practice for the chilly Bay Area weather.
Of course, Rose Zhang set new women’s course record at Pebble Beach last fall at the Carmel Cup to open up her sophomore season. Her 9-under 63 included seven birdies, an eagle and 10 pars. I think the rookie will have another top-10 finish this week, and could even be in that final pairing on Sunday.
After a rough week at KPMG, Korda has definitely gone back to the drawing board, rested, and reset for this week. Two missed cuts won’t happen. She has the game necessary to score well at Pebble.
KPMG’s runner-up has been hitting her stride recently. Her only professional win was at the 2021 U.S. Open, can she add 2023 to her resume?
Jin Young Ko
The world No.1 finished T-20 at KPMG and she just has the ability to be a threat to any leaderboard. She’s ranked 4th in greens and regulation, hitting over 74%.
Michelle Wie West — I think Weezy is just going to go out and have fun, she’ll be an easy watch this week!
Amy Olson — the mom-to-be!!!
Saki Baba — the top-ranked am in the field
Amari Avery — as a California native, Avery has worked her whole career to prove herself to be the best of the best. She has the potential to be the low-am this week.
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