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2020 AIG Women’s British Open: The top 8 contenders

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It’s major championship week for the ladies, as a field of 144 is set to tackle what could be a brutal test at Royal Troon.

Six of the World’s Top 10 will be in action in Scotland, with Jin-Young Ko, Sung Hyun Park, Sei Young Kim and Hyo-Joo Kim all missing out due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

For those teeing it up at Royal Troon this week, they may need to prepare for wild conditions, with the weather forecast ( As of Wednesday BST ) showing plenty of wind and rain throughout the week.

Thursday and Friday look to be particularly testing days. According to Metoffice.gov.uk, Round One will see consistent winds in the region of the upper 20-mph range, with gusts as strong as 42mph. As for Friday’s round, the same is expected with rain entering the fold.

With a day to go until the championship begins, here is a look at 8 contenders to keep an eye on this week at the 2020 AIG Women’s British Open.

Danielle Kang

Cause for Optimism:

Danielle Kang has been the star of the LPGA Tour since its restart, winning back-to-back events stateside. The World Number Two is the prohibitive favorite with the bookmakers, after seemingly finally getting to grips with links golf last week at the Scottish Open where she missed out on a playoff by just a single stroke.

Great signs ahead of this week’s test at Royal Troon.

Cause for Concern:

The 27-year-old is still yet to crack the top-40 at the British Open and has missed the cut five times in just nine appearances at the event in her career.

Furthermore, with poor weather in mind, in the cold, windy and soggy conditions at the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, Kang failed to make an impression – losing three of her four matches.

Odds:  15/2

Nelly Korda

Cause for Optimism:

The younger Korda sister has turned herself into a serial winner, notching three victories in 2019 including an eight-stroke win at the Ladies French Open. Her major form is trending nicely too, with top 10 finishes in three of the last nine majors – including a T9 at this event last year.

In the tough conditions at the 2019 Solheim Cup, Korda thrived, winning 3.5 points from a possible 4. 

Cause for Concern:

The Florida native hasn’t been at her very best since the restart, with T40 and T38 finishes on the LPGA Tour in her two starts back. Still waiting to land her maiden major, Korda has been stressing the importance of patience on her social media accounts lately – a virtue she will need in spades this week.

Odds: 25/1

Minjee Lee

Cause for Optimism: 

Minjee Lee has played five times in 2020 and has yet to finish worse than T25. The consistent Australian has finished inside the top 25 in four of her last five visits to the British Open, and last week warmed up nicely in Scotland with an encouraging T16 finish.

Cause for Concern: 

The 24-year-old’s major record is a little underwhelming for the World Ranked Number 8, who hasn’t had a top 5 finish at one of the five biggest championships since 2017. 

Odds: 10/1

Celine Boutier

Cause for Optimism:

The Frenchwoman is in good form heading into the year’s opening major, with a runner-up finish at the Drive On Championship and a T18 finish at last week’s Scottish Open. Boutier finished sixth at last year’s British Open (not links) but won the Women’s Amateur at Portstewart in 2015 – proving her links golf capabilities. 

At the 2019 Solheim Cup, Boutier won all four of her matches, showing testing conditions are unlikely to faze her.

Cause for Concern:

Her 2019 Vic Open win remains her only LPGA Tour triumph to date, and at last year’s U.S. Open, Boutier held the joint 54 hole lead before coming unstuck on Sunday with a round of 75.

Odds: 33/1

Inbee Park

Cause for Optimism:

Steady, unflappable and a supreme ball striker – all attributes Park possesses. Won the Australian Open on her last appearance, and is a former winner of this event. She has also finished in the top 10 at the British Open in five of her previous nine visits.

Cause for Concern:

Unfortunately, that win in Australia occurred back in January and Park comes into this event cold. Also, her recent form at the British Open is poor, missing the cut both in 2018 and 2019.

Odds: 20/1

Lydia Ko

Cause for Optimism:

Lydia Ko is on the brink of being back. T28, T2, and T12 finishes since the restart show her game is in a good place.

The multiple major champ has a mixed record at the British Open, but her 2018 and 2015 showings (where she finished T11 and T3, respectively) prove that when she’s hitting it well like she is at the moment, she is likely to contend.

Cause for Concern:

As consistent as T28, T2 and T12 finishes sound, they should have been so much better. The Kiwi blew a five-stroke lead on the back nine on Sunday at the Marathon Classic, and last Sunday at the Scottish Open she started the day in a tie for fourth before stumbling home with a 74.

Can she hold it together this Sunday if she’s in with a chance?

Odds: 25/1

Brooke Henderson

Cause for Optimism:

Brooke Henderson is capable of winning anywhere, with six wins on the LPGA Tour since 2017. The Canadian also hasn’t missed a cut on Tour since May 2019.

Already the most winningest Canadian in golf history, Henderson was second in birdie average last year, and third in scoring average (which would be first in this week’s field).

Cause for Concern:

The main issue here is that Henderson, like Park, hasn’t played much. In fact, she has just two appearances in 2020, both coming back at the beginning of the year.

Also, her record at the British Open is distinctly average – cracking the top 40 just once in five appearances. 

Odds: 20/1

Charley Hull

Cause for Optimism:

A win in the Rose Series followed by a solid warmup last week in Scotland where she finished T22; Hull should like her chances more than most if the conditions get wild at Troon.

The 24-year-old went unbeaten at the 2019 Solheim Cup and has three top 25 finishes from her last six starts at the British Open.

Cause for Concern:

Always on the periphery at the majors, Hull just can’t seem to forge her way into contention. Still awaiting her first top 10 finish at the British Open. 

Odds: 40/1

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Gianni is the Managing Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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19th Hole

PGA Tour reveals full list of winners from 2021-22 season’s Player Impact Program

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The results of the 2021-2022 PGA TOUR season’s Player Impact Program have been revealed.

The total prize pool for the PIP has been increased from $40 million last season to $100 million and is now spread out between 20 players instead of 10. However, the PIP now offers more than just financial incentive. The top 20 players in this year’s PIP standings will be invited to the 12 “elevated events” on the 2023 calendar.

As revealed by the PGA Tour, the PIP winners and their bonuses are as follows:

  • 1. Tiger Woods $15,000,000
  • 2. Rory McIlroy $12,000,000
  • 3. Jordan Spieth $9,000,000
  • 4. Justin Thomas $7,500,000
  • 5. Jon Rahm $6,000,000
  • 6. Scottie Scheffler $5,500,000
  • 7. Xander Schauffele $5,000,000
  • 8. Matt Fitzpatrick $5,000,000
  • 9. Will Zalatoris $5,000,000
  • 10. Tony Finau $5,000,000
  • 11. Collin Morikawa $3,000,000
  • 12. Shane Lowry $3,000,000
  • 13. Kevin Kisner $3,000,000
  • 14. Max Homa $3,000,000
  • 15. Billy Horschel $3,000,000
  • 16. Rickie Fowler $2,000,000
  • 17. Adam Scott $2,000,000
  • 18. Jason Day $2,000,000
  • 19. Patrick Cantlay $2,000,000
  • 20. Viktor Hovland $2,000,000

The fact that Tiger Woods won the PIP despite playing in just nine competitive events proves that his presence in the game of golf will always be what moves the needle as long as he’s involved with the PGA Tour.

Max Homa also sees Tiger winning the PIP on a regular basis going forward barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Collin Morikawa, who finished eleventh for the second consecutive year, took to Twitter to share his thoughts.

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Changes to the famous 13th hole at Augusta National appear to be complete

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Azalea has changed.

The famous par-5 13th hole at The Masters, the scene of many an eagle and considered a gimme birdie for many of today’s big hitters, has been lengthened. And we don’t need to wait for the 2023 media release to find out how.

For the 2022 tournament, Augusta chiefs were hoping to reveal changes to the 11th and 15th holes, but were beaten to it by @EurekaEarthPlus who have now become the go-to for mid-season changes to the course.

Yesterday, the drone revealed for the first time how much work Augusta has carried out on the 13th, and it hopefully stops the drive onto a favouring sloped fairway and short iron into the green.

The tee box appears to have been taken back around 40-50 yards and offers more of a closed chute to the drive. This should create more thought to positional play off the tee, and a longer second shot – another effort to stop the first major of the year becoming a long-hitters paradise.

It was March last year when we saw the initial amendments to the course. It’s November this time.

Is it ever too early for Augusta news?

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Iconic piece of Tiger Woods memorabilia goes up for auction

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Tiger’s coming back, and the golfing world can’t wait.

It may only be the 20-man Hero World Challenge, and then a couple of made for-tv events, but the sight of the 15-time major winner is enough.

The mere name puts a shiver down golf enthusiasts and when Tiger memorabilia is available, expect utter madness.

Earlier this year, GolfWRX reported on the auction of the 46-year-old’s Grand Slam clubs, sticks that eventually sold for over $5 million, and now the same auction house is offering one of the famous red shirts worn by Tiger at Augusta, this one from the final round of 2010.

According to Ryan Carey of auctioneers, Golden Age Auctions, the shirt has a little extra, being the only Masters Sunday shirt available:

“We believe this is the only Sunday red from a Masters Tournament that has been auctioned, and the others might not surface. The shirt is signed by Woods. Normally that would help the price a tiny bit, but I think it helps even more with this one. It has a massive inscription that says ‘2010 Masters Final Round,’ and Tiger doesn’t autograph stuff like that very often. It’s a huge autograph, too. This one is special that he did that.”

The shirt is also the first Sunday red donned by Woods following the infamous sex scandal in 2009 that saw Tiger take an extended break from the sport.

Strangely, Woods-connected items have not always been a big mover.

Various back-up Scotty Cameron putters have sold for between 80k to 100k, but signed scorecards from the US Open failed to make their $100 reserve.

Golf balls, though, now there’s a thing.

The ball sunk for victory at the 2005 Masters sold for over $30k, whilst standard signed Nike balls continue to surpass their first bid by some way.

Tiger may be a huge name in golf, but can he attract the sort of attention of the huge worldwide megastars.

Carey hopes so.

“Game-worn sports memorabilia, especially items photo-matched to a memorable moment or historic event, are setting records all around the world this year,” he explained. “A Michael Jordan jersey recently sold for $10.1 million at Sotheby’s, and a Diego Maradona soccer jersey recently sold for $9.3 million.”

The auction started yesterday with an opening bid expected of $5k, and with no way of knowing how the market will go, this could be the perfect time to ramp up the ‘he’s coming’ news.

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