The IX: Golf Thursday with Sarah Kellam, June 3, 2021

U.S. Women's Open storylines to watch — Fun USGA content — Must-click women's golf links

Hi! Howard Megdal here. The IX helps build the necessary infrastructure for women’s sports media. By connecting these worlds, it gives women’s sports the networking boost men’s sports can take for granted.

Those of you who are our satisfied subscribers, tell the world! We are grateful for your support. And you can share the gift of The IX with those who would love us as much as you do.


What to watch at the U.S. Women’s Open

Major championship golf is always the best, but U.S. Open weeks in particular are simply spectacular. The atmosphere is elevated, the conditions are tough, and the players are in full grind mode. Everyone is gunning for a win, even more so than at other events on tour, and all the pressure of making history can be palpably felt in every step taken, every shot struck, and every putt holed. 

And, after a short six months without one, the LPGA Tour is back at it in California.

It’s the 76th playing of the U.S. Women’s Open this week and the Olympic Club will host its first ever USGA women’s championship. With all eyes on San Francisco, the best players in the world will be duking it out at a top-notch, excruciatingly difficult course. You’d be crazy not to watch the carnage and drama unfold.

As is the usual for a week of this magnitude, there are almost too many storylines to keep your eye on, so here’s what I’ll have my attention focused on this week.

First things first, the Korda sisters. The duo are paired together for the first two rounds along with So Yeon Ryu and both are still seeking their first major. We’ve only seen this grouping a few times previously and it’s always so interesting to watch the intricacies of a sibling dynamic play out in a competitive situation.

Plus, the Kordas have been in solid form this season, each carding a victory and neither having missed a cut so far in 2021. They’re both good strikers of the golf ball with Jessica ranking 7th in average driving distance and 4th in greens in regulation on Tour and Nelly being 9th longest and 36th in GIR, and that ability will definitely come in handy with the narrow, sloping fairways and tricky greens at Olympic.

Look for them both to be near the top of the leaderboard throughout the event and, come Sunday, they’ve each got great chances to hoist the trophy.

Michelle Wie West is another big name that everyone is speculating about this week. She makes her first U.S. Women’s Open berth since 2018. She only recently made her return to professional golf and has played in just three tournaments leading up to Olympic, missing the cut at the Kia Classic, ANA Inspiration, and HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open.

Wie West been much busier with the #HoodieForGolf women’s golf advocacy movement she began in conjunction with the LPGA than she has been with competing, so it’ll be interesting to see if the adopted San Franciscan plays well around Olympic. Considering the sport desperately needs the name recognition that Michelle provides, everyone in women’s golf is rooting for her, but with only 3 starts under her belt and a wrist that’s prone to injury, good play is a toss-up for Wie West at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Lastly, I’m curious to see how difficult the Olympic Club plays for the women this week. I’ve seen some photographs of the course popping up on social media detailing the thickness of the rough, the smallness of the fairways, and the slope of the terrain and it looks like it could be an absolute brawl to break par out there. 

Carnage always makes golf more compelling, but consider: only four players ever in the five U.S Opens that have been hosted at this venue have carded under par weeks. The women’s game needs to continue to have tough major tests just like the men do. But it worries me that, with all eyes on the LPGA Tour this week, high numbers could invite more of the stereotypical “I could beat her” nonsense that plagues this part of golf. 

Absolutely, someone this week could add their name to the list as the fifth person to shoot a red number at Olympic in a USGA championship and there’s no doubt that it can happen. I just hope a course this tough will positively highlight the elite skill of the world’s best, not take away from it.

This challenging of a venue also sets up for an unlikely, under-the-radar winner much like the ones that we have had the last two years in Jeong-eun Lee6 and A Lim Kim. That’s not to say that a Korda sister or a Jin Young Ko or a Brooke Henderson cannot and will not win here, but it’s conditions like these that provide an opportunity for an unknown to quietly plot their way around, post a decent number, and end up with the Semple trophy. Look at Webb Simpson in 2012.

Regardless of what happens, it’s one of the best weeks in golf and drama is sure to unfold in San Francisco. Players get their first crack at it beginning today and it will be fascinating to watch them sink their teeth into the formidable test that is the Olympic Club, going up against a U.S. Open, the most demanding test in golf.


This week in women’s golf

(Reminder: First: the underlined words are the links. Second: CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. ESPECIALLY NOW, as newsrooms are forced to make difficult choices. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers, and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me! sarahkellamgolf@outlook.com.)

Five U.S. Opens have been played at Olympic and only four players have ever finished under par. Will a fifth be added to that list this week? (via Golfweek.com)

There are 40 first-timers in the USWO field this week. (via Golfweek.com)

Ron Sirak on how this week’s major championship is showcasing the sheer amount of global talent on the LPGA Tour. (via LPGA.com)

Here’s what you need to know about the Olympic Club, host of the 76th U.S. Women’s Open. (via Golfweek.com)

Here are some of the best storylines to follow at the U.S. Women’s Open. (via GOLF.com)

Here are some things to keep your eye on at Olympic this week. (via USGA.org)

It’s going to be a tough week of golf for some of the world’s best and Shannon Rouillard of the USGA is looking forward to the difficulty of the layout for the players. (via GolfDigest.com)

The USGA is committed to the tough test on tap for the players this week. (via GolfDigest.com)

Here’s an inside look at what it’s like to play this week’s major championship venue. (via GOLF.com)

Get a behind the scenes look at the Olympic Club. (via Golfweek.com)

Sources say that the USWO could have a potential sponsor for the event in the works. (via Golfweek.com)

NBC’s Kay Cockerill is giving players some of her local knowledge at the USWO. (via Golfweek.com)

Take a look inside the USWO field. (via USGA.org)

Both of the Korda sisters are looking for their first major win at Olympic. (via LPGA.com)

Nelly Korda looks to become the first of the Korda kids to nab a major title. (via GolfChannel.com)

More from Ron Sirak on the Kordas ahead of their playing together in San Francisco. (via USGA.org)

The Kordas are thinking about the Olympics, but it’s the Olympic Club that’s the only thing on their minds this week. (via Golfweek.com)

The season’s first major champion is keeping a cool head ahead of this week’s major challenge. (via LPGA.com)

Inbee Park will be keeping it calm, cool, and collected around Olympic this week. (via LPGA.com)

Inbee Park is looking to make history by nabbing a 3rd USWO title in her storied career. (via GolfChannel.com)

Defending USWO champion A Lim Kim is a lot funnier and “mischievous” than you might think. (via LPGA.com)

So Yeon Ryu looks back on her 2011 USWO victory ten years later. (via LPGA.com)

So Yeon Ryu was ready to quit golf, but then she won the USWO in 2011. (via GolfDigest.com)

Jin Young Ko is a VERY good ball-striker and her statistics show that she’s quite literally the best ever at it. (via GolfDigest.com)

A piece on Lucy Li, who qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at age 11 and is now playing in the event as a professional, written by Emilia Migliaccio. Yep, that one. (via GolfChannel.com)

Michelle Wie West is all too familiar with what Naomi Osaka was talking about in forgoing her media obligations at the French Open. (via GolfChannel.com)

Michelle Wie West is making the most of “borrowed time” at Olympic this week. (via GolfDigest.com)

Michelle Wie West is back competing in the U.S. Open for the first time in 3 years. (via APNews.com)

Michelle Wie West is shifting roles within her life and golf and the women’s game will be the better for it. (via Golfweek.com)

Brooke Henderson is looking to earn her second major victory at Olympic. (via LPGA.com)

Brooke Henderson has her sights set on winning her first U.S. Open this week. (via GolfChannel.com)

The Pink Panther is back in action this week in a place that is close to her heart. (via LPGA.com)

This LPGA Tour veteran was “terrified” upon her first glimpse of Olympic. (via GolfDigest.com)

Amateur Amari Avery has got some game according to Cheyenne Woods. (via Golfweek.com)

This week’s major is just another opportunity for amateurs like Rachel Heck and Rose Zhang. (via Golfweek.com)

Can an amateur win this week’s major? Who knows, but Rachel Heck very well could be the one to pull it off. (via GolfDigest.com)

This 14 year old is one of the longer hitters in the U.S. Women’s Open field along with being the youngest to tee it up. (via GolfDigest.com)

This college coach and her former player are both teeing it up at Olympic this week and their friendship has only deepened since their time together at Oregon. (via USGA.org)

The latest episode of the Amy and Adam show is a preview of the USWO this week. (via GolfChannel.com)

The latest Local Knowledge podcast covers the story of Babe Zaharias’ 1954 USWO win. One earned after a bout with colon cancer. (via GolfDigest.com)

The Forward Press podcast is previewing the USWO in San Francisco. (via Golfweek.com)

GOLF.com’s staff gives you their picks to win the USWO. (via GOLF.com)

Who is the betting favorite at Olympic this week? Here are the odds. (via GolfChannel.com)

Here’s how to watch this week’s major championship. (via LPGA.com)

Here’s how the cut line works and the playoff rules for this week’s major. (via GolfChannel.com)

Here are the first round pairings at the U.S. Women’s Open. (via Golfweek.com)

A look at the forecast for the U.S. Women’s Open. (via GolfChannel.com)

The newly elected LPGA commissioner will definitely be challenged as the LPGA becomes stronger and stronger. (via Golfweek.com)

Here are some player reactions to the LPGA moving into the gambling space. (via GolfDigest.com)

Ally Ewing takes home the title at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play. (via LPGA.com)

Ally Ewing takes down Sophia Popov in final match at Shadow Creek. (via Golfweek.com)

It came down to two first-time winners that captured their first victories in 2020 to decide a match play champion. (via LPGA.com)

Even though it wasn’t the outcome she wanted, Sophia Popov enjoyed having her family close for her runner-up finish in match play. (via LPGA.com)

Ariya Jutanugarn finishes third in match play after concession by Shanshan Feng. (via LPGA.com)

Shanshan Feng conceded her final match at Shadow Creek to rest up for the USWO. (via GOLF.com)

Mel Reid will be wearing a rainbow logo’d hat from Pega in celebration of Pride Month. (via Golfweek.com)

Alena Sharp about living her life openly, being married to her caddie Sarah Bowman, and her message for Pride Month. (via LPGA.com)

Another poignant piece about Madelene Sagstrom and how she’s learning to love herself after experiencing sexual abuse as a child. (via ESPN.com)

Christina Kim is standing with Naomi Osaka having had her own experiences with mental health. (via GOLF.com)

Get a glimpse inside the mind of Lydia Ko in this Q&A. (via GolfDigest.com)

U.S. Solheim Cup captain Pat Hurst will be using a behavioral profile to determine pods for the competition. (via GolfChannel.com)

The CP Women’s Open is canceled again in 2021. (via Golfweek.com)

This former intern at Muirfield Village now works in scoring for the PGA Tour and is the first woman to ever do so. (via Golfweek.com)

We all know Patty Berg for her golf abilities, but did you know she was a veteran? (via LPGA.com)

Check out this Golf Channel interview with Vision 54’s Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson. (via GolfChannel.com)

Callaway, Women’s Golf Day organizers and Topgolf rang the opening bell on Monday at the New York Stock Exchange in honor of Women’s Golf Day. (via Golfweek.com)

Check out this female-owned women’s golf apparel company, Lohla Sport. (via GOLF.com)

Here’s the latest movement in the Race for the Card. (via SymetraTour.com)

Ali Palma previews the Island Resort Championship, this week’s Symetra Tour stop. (via SymetraTour.com)

Min Lee wins her third title on the Symetra Tour at Mission Inn. (via SymetraTour.com)

Everything you need to know about last week’s Symetra Tour winner Min Lee. (via SymetraTour.com)

Here’s what was in the bag for Min Lee’s win last week. (via SymetraTour.com)

Straight from nationals to a Symetra Tour start. Olivia Mehaffey made her pro debut this past week. (via SymetraTour.com)

Annabel Dimmock is defending at the Jabra Ladies Open on the LET. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)

Three things to watch at this week’s LET stop. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)

Here are some memories from the Jabra Ladies Open. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)

Tvesa Malik, an LET professional, is working towards her dreams by traveling and playing golf. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)

Georgia Hall and Lexi Thompson plan to compete in the Aramco Team Series – London in July. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)

History was made by Lucie Malchirand this past week when she won on the LET as an amateur. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)

Here’s how an amateur captured the Ladies Italian Open title. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)

Amatuer Lucie Malchirand won the Ladies Italian Open. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)

The Ole Miss women’s golf team earns first recognized national title for the university. (via Golfweek.com)

Ole Miss win’s the women’s golf national championships. (via Golfweek.com)

Kennedy Swann was instrumental in Ole Miss’ national championship win. (via Golfweek.com)


Tweet of the Week


Five at the IX: GREAT pieces to watch from the USGA

The USGA curates a SOLID content team for their U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Open competitions that’s mostly led by women. Here are five of the pieces they’ve created that are definitely worth watching (and laughing at) this week. (The Hally-athlon and dumplings are my favorites!)


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 Sarah Kellam @sarahkellam, LPGA.com Contributor
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By Jessica Taylor Price, @jesstaylorprice, Freelance Gymnastics Writer

Written by The IX Team