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

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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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take a look inside the USWO field. (via

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Forward Press podcast is previewing the USWO in San Francisco. (via’s staff gives you their picks to win the USWO. (via

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amatuer Lucie Malchirand won the Ladies Italian Open. (via

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

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

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

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, Contributor
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By Jessica Taylor Price, @jesstaylorprice, Freelance Gymnastics Writer

Written by The IX Team