Why Yuka Saso’s win at the USWO is a big deal — Charley Hull’s viral week

The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, June 6, 2024

Welcome back to Golf Thursday! Last week’s U.S. Women’s Open in Lancaster had no shortage of drama. From Lexi Thompson’s retirement announcement to some of women’s golf’s biggest names missing out on the weekend’s action — the USGA delivered true championship golf. Conditions were tough (to say the least), nevertheless, a new champion was crowned, and for the second time in her career, Yuka Sosa hoisted the U.S. Open trophy in Red Rose City. Also, Charley Hull went viral and hilarity ensued.

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The question that was most commonly echoed throughout the week was if the course was perhaps too hard. With notable players like Nelly Korda, Rose Zhang, Brooke Henderson and defending champ Allisen Corpuz all missing the cut — the field opened up considerably for a new face to enter the winner’s circle.

Asterisk Talley, the 15-year-old amateur who was in contention early on during the weekend, won over the hearts of golf fans everywhere, especially with this candid moment during a post-round interview on Golf Channel:

Talley went on to finish inside the top 50 and was the low amateur for the tournament.

This may be an unpopular opinion, but there’s something quite refreshing about a major where only two players finished under par over 72 holes. On one hand, it demonstrates just how insanely difficult and high-caliber Lancaster is for a venue. And on the other, it also serves as a reminder that golf is meant to be about strategy and accuracy.

Lancaster is a course of inches. The placement of your shot has to be perfect otherwise you pay the price.

I was in awe watching the coverage of last weekend. I’ve always admired the type of golf that displays accuracy over brute force and power — but when we did see instances where power took center stage, I ate it up. (And yes, that’s a 3-wood in Saso’s hands.)

In 2021, Yuka Saso, a non-member of the LPGA claimed the USWO title at the Olympic Club. That victory was the catalyst of her career. She accepted her tour membership and began to play really solid, consistent golf over the last three years.

She has collected a slew of top-10s combined with near-wins that have eluded Saso from her second victory, but the wait is over; she’s a two-time LPGA winner, and Saso bared all emotion that comes with that feeling.

“Since 2021, I haven’t won after that. I think it makes it special because after a long wait, and I wasn’t expecting to win the U.S. Women’s Open,” Saso explains. “The last time, too, I wasn’t expecting it, and this time, too, I wasn’t expecting it. I think that’s why it made me a bit emotional. Winning just makes you look back on all the things that your family and your team and my sponsors, they supported me throughout good or bad.”

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In recapping Saso’s victory, a good friend of Golf Thursday and The IX, Sarah Kellam, reported that it was shocking to see Saso so emotional, stating that “she’s known for her quick-witted, bubbling personality and unwavering determination” and that it was “shocking to see the tears well up in her eyes during the trophy ceremony.”

Battling such difficult conditions on top of climbing the mental hurdles it takes to be victorious on the LPGA, take a bow, Yuka Saso, you deserve this!

At just 22 years old, Saso becomes the youngest two-time winner of the U.S. Women’s Open.

It’s beyond impressive that her two wins are major titles and I hope this is a strong boost of confidence for the young Japanese player with the Paris Olympics just around the corner.

This week in women’s golf

If you have links you wish to share for Golf Thursday, sources for golf news or want to talk about anything at all, you can email me at addieparker25@theixsports.com! Discussion of any kind is always welcome…I mean it…MESSAGE ME!

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Five at The IX: Charley Hull was a viral sensation

The English golfer made headlines last week with a certain on-course accessory that reminded fans of the classic John Daley behavior of the early 2000s.

It’s always so funny to see what people cling to during major weeks, and Hull thought so too, read what she had to say about her recent online popularity.

Q. You’ve gotten a lot of attention both on and off the golf course this week. What’s that been like for you?

CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, it’s actually quite funny. I don’t know, all over a cigarette, I suppose. But I genuinely was walking to the range, had my hands full, someone asked me for an autograph, I’m not going to say no because I always like signing autographs. Had a cigarette in my mouth, signed it, and then it’s gone viral.

I don’t know. It’s just one of them things. But it’s been crazy. Like the fans have been shouting my name this week. Someone said I’ve dropped something and then handed their phone number on a piece of paper in my hand. He was like, here’s my number. Text me so we can figure out where I’m taking you out for dinner tonight. I never texted him obviously, but it was just so funny.

But no, it’s been a bit of a wild week. Pretty cool, and I wish the crowds were like this more often.

Q. A lot of people have been likening you to the female John Daly for the authenticity that you display. Is that something that you enjoy?

CHARLEY HULL: I find it quite funny, because I actually do go to the gym and I’m a very healthy person. I only smoke. I hardly drink. I don’t need to drink because actually I can have a fun time without it.

Yeah, listen, my dad smokes 40 a day since he was 12 years old and now he’s 75, and my nephew smokes who is like 25. My whole family smokes, so it’s not something that I’ve noticed being odd.

I hate smoking. I used to curse at my dad when I was younger for smoking, but I think it’s to do a little bit when I’m stressed. I was a bit stressed last year and I just kind of vaped, and I wanted to stop vaping, and even though smoking is not better than vaping, it’s just you can vape indoors all the time. I thought if I smoke, I’m going to go outside and smoke a cigarette. When it’s a slow round on the golf course I smoke quite a few more than I should.

But listen, I will stop soon. It’s just when.

Q. Mel Reid told a funny story about you on Live From the other night. I was wondering if you saw the video and what you thought about that?

CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, it was so funny. She’s got so many stories on me, even more funny ones than, but I don’t know if we can tell them to the camera.

But honestly I love Mel. She’s such a funny person, and she’s probably my favorite person to be paired in the Solheim Cup with, like on the team. She had me pretty much — her story was pretty much accurate like to how I am, taming a wild animal she’s described me as.

Q. It seems like people are just kind of enthralled with you as a personality on and off the golf course. Do you want to open up more a little bit to your fans and start letting people in to who you are as a person?

CHARLEY HULL: Literally all my friends always say I should have a TV show with what goes on in my life. If you think I’ve got a lot of personality on the golf course, you should see what my life is like at home.

But yeah, it is quite funny. I’m just me. You don’t know what’s coming out of my mouth next. I don’t know what’s coming out of my mouth next. It’s one of them things. I’m just me. I’m not going to change for the world. I’ll just be me, and people will either like it or lump it.

Q. Have you kept track of how many followers you’ve gained on social media this week?

CHARLEY HULL: At the minute I’m not actually on my Instagram. I put it on my agent’s phone. I gave it to her like four weeks ago. I said, listen, I’ll text you some videos, I’ll text you some photos. Just post for me.

Because sometimes — I’ve gotten a very addictive personality and I get addicted to Instagram not even posting, but just scrolling down and looking at random memes and stuff.

So the last few weeks I’ve just been letting her post, but she did tell me I gained like 72 or 70,000 followers in the space of like two days. I was like, wow. That’s pretty crazy.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Addie Parker