Send us news by text, start your message Globe News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Hoylake's Open golf is Creamer the crop
THE drama and excitement of the Ricoh Women’s British Open golf championship will unfold at the historic Royal Liverpool links from tomorrow with a series of intriguing questions to be answered.
Will European and American golfers be able to meet the challenge set by the recent amazing achievements of Far Eastern players, including world number one Yani Tseng? Will spectators be treated to a colourful array of fashionable golfing outfits from the poster girl competitors – or will rain gear predominate on the fairways during the four-day tournament?
And will the benign conditions that favoured Tiger’s Woods during his 2006 Open triumph be replaced by the fierce winds that can sweep across exposed coastland?
The severity of the wind at times prompted legendary golf writer Bernard Darwin to write: “Hoylake, blown by mighty winds; breeder of mighty champions.”
The Royal Liverpool bunkers also offer a formidable challenge. So much so that Tiger Woods, at the height of his powers, only once took his driver out of the bag in recording a memorable victory.
Around 70,000 spectators from across the world are expected to attend the four-day event at Hoylake.
There are 21 major champions in this week’s Women’s British Open boasting 41 major championships between them.
Yani Tseng heads the list. She is looking for her first major win since taking the British title at Carnoustie last year.
Home favourites Laura Davies, Catriona Matthew and Karen Stuples are each looking to win the title a second time while US Open Champion Paula Creamer will lead the American challenge supported by Kraft Nabisco champion Stacy Lewis and 2010 LPGA champion Cristie Kerr.
Laura, who won the title in 1986 before it was elevated to major status, acknowledged the strength of the Far Eastern golfing contingent and their dedication to the sport.
She said: “There are so many players coming through from Asia playing to such a high level.
“They are very hard-working and single-minded and have a disciplined approach to practising and developing their skills.”
The three major champions of 2012 – Sun Young Yoo, Shan Shan Feng and Na Yeon Choi will be hoping to claim their second major title of their careers.
The youngest competitor will be Korean-born 15-year-old amateur Lydia Ko who astounded golf observers when she won the recent CN Canadian Women’s Open against a field of top ranking players.
Paula Creamer, one of a dozen stars featured on a striking poster advertising the championship remarked: “There are 12 really great players from all over the world pictured on the poster and it is pretty amazing to think how many other girls should probably be pictured too.
“I think it shows just how strong the women’s game is right now and how many different players could be challenging at the final major of 2012.”
Paula, 25, added: “This is a great test of golf – a classic links course. I love it.”
Scotland’s Catriona Matthew, the 2009 champions commented: “The Ricoh Women’s British Open will be the pinnacle of the summer for all of us.
“I have fantastic memories of playing in the Curtis Cup match at Hoylake in 1992 and I am really looking forward to playing my first professional tournament there. Having won just down the road at Royal Lytham and St Annes I can’t wait to return to the North West.”
Shona Malcolm, Ladies Golf Union chief executive said: “We have a wonderful array of the world’s best women golfers entered for this year’s championship. Once again we are set to have the most international field of all the majors along with an extremely strong contingent of home players; with the added intrigue of tackling the historic course at Hoylake for the first time.”