The U.S Women’s Open Returns

The Best Golfers in the World Descend on Houston for the Biggest Tournament of the Year

By Preston Bradsher
2019’s Winner, Jeongeun Lee6 Photo: LPGA

The 75th U.S. Women’s Open begins Thursday morning, and after a year full of difficulties the best golfers in the world are hungry to show their stuff. The biggest tournament in women’s golf opens at Champions Golf Club in Houston, TX and runs December 10-13. With a $5,500,000 purse and a $1 million prize for the champion, competition will be stiff as the field of 156 golfers shoot for the honor of a U.S. Women’s Open title.

It’s a year full of firsts for this storied tournament, with limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic requiring creativity and flexibility from athletes and staff alike. The Open is typically played in June, but shutdowns have led it to be played in December for the first time ever. This created another complication: lack of daylight. To solve that problem, the tournament will be played on two courses instead of one, with the bulk of the action taking place on the Cypress Creek course and other rounds happening on the Jackrabbit course.

Playing on two courses presents an interesting challenge for players, and especially for the caddies who have spent plenty of time walking all 36 holes over the past week. It’s possible the seven players who call Texas home could have a slight advantage, as many of them have played these courses before. Last week’s winner of the Volunteers of America Classic is one of those Texans; Angela Stanford will look to take her hometown advantage and the momentum from that win all the way to a U.S. Open victory this weekend.

Joining Stanford on the list of players to watch this weekend are 2008 and 2013 U.S. Women’s Open champion Inbee Park, 2011 champion So Yeon Ryu, current No. 1 in the Rolex rankings Jin Young Ko, and last year’s defending champion Jeongeun Lee6. The players have had much less opportunity to play this year than they’re used to, with some even getting stuck outside the U.S. for many months due to the pandemic. This tournament could be a return for the frontrunners, but it could also provide a chance for some newcomers to make a big splash amidst the mayhem of 2020. 

The USGA has been highlighting the lack of sports media coverage for women’s sports with the Women Worth Watching campaign originally started by She Is. The league, players, and fans have taken to social media to draw attention to the fact that women’s sports only receive 4% of sports media coverage in the U.S. They’re walking the walk, too, with full coverage of the tournament airing on NBC, the Golf Channel, and Peacock. 

Tune in to the U.S. Women’s Open starting on Thursday at 10:30 ET on Peacock, then check out the full broadcast schedule to plan the rest of your weekend watching some of the most talented golfers in the world do what they do best.

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