Women's British Open

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The Women's Open
Tournament information
LocationUnited Kingdom
Established1976, 47 years ago
Course(s)varies; Muirfield (2022)
Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland
Par71 (in 2022)
Length6,649 yards (6,080 m) (2022)
Organized byThe R&A
Tour(s)LPGA Tour (1984, 1994–)
LET (1979–)
FormatStroke play
Prize fund$7,300,000[1]
7,190,075j
£6,011,509[2]
Month playedAugust
Tournament record score
Aggregate269 Karrie Webb (1997)
269 Karen Stupples (2004)
To par−19 Karrie Webb (1997)
−19 Karen Stupples (2004)
Current champion
South Africa Ashleigh Buhai
2022 Women's British Open

The Women's Open (originally known as the Women's British Open, and still widely referred to by that name outside the UK) is a major championship in women's professional golf. It is recognised by both the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour as a major. The reigning champion is Ashleigh Buhai, who won in a playoff at Muirfield in 2022.

Since becoming an LPGA major in 2001 it has generally been played in late July or early August. The 2012 edition was scheduled for mid-September, due to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, while the 2014 event was played in mid-July, the week prior to the Open Championship.

In 2019 it was known as the AIG Women's British Open. From 2007 to 2018, it was called the Ricoh Women's British Open while the previous twenty editions (1987–2006) were sponsored by Weetabix, a breakfast cereal.[3] In July 2020, the sponsorship agreement with AIG was extended through to 2025; as part of the deal the championship was rebranded by The R&A (which has organised the event since 2017) by removing the "British" qualifier, in line with The R&A's men's and senior men's championships, as the AIG Women's Open.[4]

History[edit]

The practice green at Sunningdale Golf Club in 2008.

The first Women's British Open was played in 1976 when the Ladies' British Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship was extended to include professionals. The Amateur Stroke Play Championship had been organised by the Ladies' Golf Union since 1969. In early 1976 two professionals, Vivien Saunders and Gwen Brandom, and the LGU, agreed that the event would be opened up to professionals, with Saunders and Brandom providing £200 in prize money for the professionals.[5][6] Eventually total prize money was £500, with five professionals competing in the event.[7] An amateur, Jenny Lee Smith, won the event with Saunders the leading professional, tying for fourth place.[8] Saunders won the event in 1977 on "countback", having tied with Mary Everard but having the better final round, 76 to Everard's 79.[9] Janet Melville won in 1978, with Saunders again the leading professional and taking the first prize of £1,000.[10] Just four professionals competed.[11]

From 1979 the event was separated from the Stroke Play Championship, which returned to being an amateur-only event. Prize money of £10,000, and a first prize of £3,000, attracted a larger number of professionals. At first, it was difficult for the organisers to get the most prestigious courses to agree to host the event, with the exception of Royal Birkdale, which hosted it twice during its early days — in 1982 and 1986. After nearly folding in 1983, the tournament was held at the best of the "second-tier" courses, including Woburn Golf and Country Club for seven straight years, 1990 through 1996, as well as in 1984 and 1999.

As its prestige continued to increase, more of the links courses that are in the rotation for The Open Championship, such as Turnberry (2002) and Royal Lytham & St Annes (1998, 2003, 2006) hosted the tournament, in addition to Royal Birkdale (2000, 2005, 2010). In 2007, the tournament took place at the Old Course at St Andrews for the first time.

Since 2010, four additional Open Championship venues became first-time hosts for the women's event: Carnoustie (2011), Royal Liverpool (2012), Royal Troon (2020, year where only women had The Open), and Muirfield (2022). The tournament has yet to be played at two Open Championship courses: Royal St. George's in southeastern England, and Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. Currently, Turnberry is unable to be on the Open rota because of political ramifications of its American owner.

Unlike its male counterpart, the Women's Open has not adopted a links-only policy. This greatly increases the number of potential venues, especially the number close to the major population centres of England. Following the 2017 merger of the Ladies Golf Union with The R&A, the tournament is now organised by the same organisation as the men's tournament.

Through 1993, the tournament was an official stop only on the Ladies European Tour, with the exception of the 1984 edition, which was co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour. Starting in 1994, it became a permanent LPGA Tour event, which increased both the quality of the field and the event's prestige. It has been an official LPGA major since 2001, when it replaced the du Maurier Classic in Canada. In 2005, the starting field size was increased to 150, but only the low 65 (plus ties) survive the cut after the second round. In both 2007 and 2008 the prize fund was £1.05 million. Starting in 2009, the prize fund changed from being fixed in pounds to U.S. dollars.

Tied for most victories in the Women's British Open with three each are Karrie Webb of Australia and Sherri Steinhauer of the United States. Both won the tournament twice before it became an LPGA major and once after. Yani Tseng of Taiwan and Jiyai Shin of South Korea are the multiple winners as a major championship. The other multiple winner is Debbie Massey of the U.S., with consecutive wins (1980 and 1981) well before it was an LPGA co-sanctioned event.

Winners[edit]

Year Dates Champion Venue Score To par Margin
of victory
Runner(s)-up Purse
($)
Winner's
share ($)
Ref
AIG Women's Open
2022 4–7 Aug South Africa Ashleigh Buhai Muirfield 274 −10 Playoff[a] South Korea Chun In-gee 7,300,000 1,095,000
2021 19–22 Aug Sweden Anna Nordqvist Carnoustie, Championship 276 −12 1 stroke England Georgia Hall
Sweden Madelene Sagström
United States Lizette Salas
5,800,000 870,000
2020 20–23 Aug Germany Sophia Popov Royal Troon, Old Course 277 −7 2 strokes Thailand Thidapa Suwannapura 4,500,000 675,000
AIG Women's British Open
2019 1–4 Aug Japan Hinako Shibuno Woburn, Marquess Course 270 −18 1 stroke United States Lizette Salas 4,500,000 675,000
Ricoh Women's British Open
2018 2–5 Aug England Georgia Hall Royal Lytham & St Annes 271 −17 2 strokes Thailand Pornanong Phatlum 3,250,000 490,000
2017 3–6 Aug South Korea In-Kyung Kim Kingsbarns 270 −18 2 strokes England Jodi Ewart Shadoff 3,250,000 504,821
2016 28–31 Jul Thailand Ariya Jutanugarn Woburn, Marquess Course 272 −16 3 strokes South Korea Mirim Lee
United States Mo Martin
3,000,000 412,047
2015 30 Jul – 2 Aug South Korea Inbee Park Turnberry 276 −12 3 strokes South Korea Ko Jin-young 3,000,000 464,817
2014 10–13 Jul United States Mo Martin Royal Birkdale 287 −1 1 stroke China Shanshan Feng
Norway Suzann Pettersen
3,000,000 474,575
2013 1–4 Aug United States Stacy Lewis St Andrews 280 −8 2 strokes South Korea Na Yeon Choi
South Korea Hee Young Park
2,750,000 402,583
2012 13–16 Sep South Korea Jiyai Shin Royal Liverpool 279 −9 9 strokes South Korea Inbee Park 2,750,000 428,650
2011 28–31 Jul Taiwan Yani Tseng Carnoustie 272 −16 4 strokes United States Brittany Lang 2,500,000 392,133
Women's British Open
2010 29 Jul – 1 Aug Taiwan Yani Tseng Royal Birkdale 277 −11 1 stroke Australia Katherine Hull 2,500,000 408,714
2009 30 Jul – 2 Aug Scotland Catriona Matthew Royal Lytham & St Annes 285 −3 3 strokes Australia Karrie Webb 2,200,000 335,000
2008 31 Jul – 3 Aug South Korea Jiyai Shin Sunningdale 270 −18 3 strokes Taiwan Yani Tseng 2,100,000 314,464
2007 2–5 Aug Mexico Lorena Ochoa St Andrews 287 −5 4 strokes Sweden Maria Hjorth
South Korea Jee Young Lee
2,000,000 320,512
2006 3–6 Aug United States Sherri Steinhauer Royal Lytham & St Annes 281 −7 3 strokes Sweden Sophie Gustafson
United States Cristie Kerr
1,800,000 305,440
2005 28–31 July South Korea Jeong Jang Royal Birkdale 272 −16 4 strokes Sweden Sophie Gustafson 1,800,000 280,208
2004 29 July – 1 Aug England Karen Stupples Sunningdale 269 −19 5 strokes Australia Rachel Hetherington 1,600,000 290,880
2003 31 July – 3 Aug Sweden Annika Sörenstam Royal Lytham & St Annes 278 −10 1 stroke South Korea Se Ri Pak 1,600,000 254,880
2002 8–11 Aug Australia Karrie Webb Turnberry 273 −15 2 strokes Australia Michelle Ellis
Spain Paula Martí
1,500,000 236,383
2001 2–5 Aug South Korea Se Ri Pak Sunningdale 277 −11 2 strokes South Korea Mi Hyun Kim 1,500,000 221,650
2000 17–20 Aug Sweden Sophie Gustafson Royal Birkdale 282 −6 2 strokes United States Becky Iverson
United States Meg Mallon
Sweden Liselotte Neumann
England Kirsty Taylor
1,250,000 178,000
1999 12–15 Aug United States Sherri Steinhauer Woburn, Duke's Course 283 −5 1 stroke Sweden Annika Sörenstam 1,000,000 160,000
1998 13–16 Aug United States Sherri Steinhauer Royal Lytham & St Annes 292 +4 1 stroke United States Brandie Burton
Sweden Sophie Gustafson
1,000,000 162,000
1997 14–17 Aug Australia Karrie Webb Sunningdale 269 −19 8 strokes United States Rosie Jones 900,000 129,938
1996 15–18 Aug United States Emilee Klein Woburn, Duke's Course 277 −11 7 strokes United States Amy Alcott
United States Penny Hammel
850,000 124,000
1995 17–20 Aug Australia Karrie Webb Woburn, Duke's Course 278 −10 6 strokes Sweden Annika Sörenstam
United States Jill McGill
600,000 92,400
1994 11–14 Aug Sweden Liselotte Neumann Woburn, Duke's Course 280 −8 3 strokes Sweden Annika Sörenstam 500,000 80,325
Weetabix Women's British Open
1993 Australia Karen Lunn Woburn, Duke's Course 275 8 strokes United States Brandie Burton £300,000 £50,000
1992 United States Patty Sheehan Woburn, Duke's Course 207[b] 3 strokes Australia Corinne Dibnah £300,000 £50,000
1991 England Penny Grice-Whittaker Woburn, Duke's Course 284 3 strokes Sweden Helen Alfredsson
England Diane Barnard
£150,000 £25,000
1990 Sweden Helen Alfredsson Woburn, Duke's Course 288 Playoff[c] Zimbabwe Jane Hill £130,000 £20,000
1989 United States Jane Geddes Ferndown 274 2 strokes Belgium Florence Descampe £120,000 £18,000 [12]
1988 Australia Corinne Dibnah Lindrick 295 Playoff[d] United States Sally Little £100,000 £15,000
1987 England Alison Nicholas St Mellion 296 1 stroke England Laura Davies
United States Muffin Spencer-Devlin
£100,000 £15,000 [13]
Women's British Open
1986 England Laura Davies Royal Birkdale 283 4 strokes United States Peggy Conley
Spain Marta Figueras-Dotti
£60,000 £9,000 [14]
Burberry Women's British Open
1985 United States Betsy King Moor Park 300 2 strokes Spain Marta Figueras-Dotti £60,000 £9,000 [15]
Hitachi Women's British Open
1984 Japan Ayako Okamoto Woburn, Duke's Course 289 11 strokes United States Betsy King
Scotland Dale Reid
£160,000[e] £24,000 [16]
1983 Cancelled [17]
Pretty Polly Women's British Open
1982 Spain Marta Figueras-Dotti (a) Royal Birkdale 296 1 stroke United States Rosie Jones
England Jenny Lee Smith
£23,000 (£6,000) [18]
1981 United States Debbie Massey Northumberland 295 4 strokes Scotland Belle Robertson (a) £19,000 £5,600 [19]
1980 United States Debbie Massey Wentworth 294 1 stroke Spain Marta Figueras-Dotti (a)
Scotland Belle Robertson (a)
£15,000 £4,500 [20]
1979 South Africa Alison Sheard Southport & Ainsdale 301 3 strokes England Mickey Walker £10,000 £3,000 [21]
Women's British Open
1978 England Janet Melville (a) Foxhills 310 2 strokes Scotland Wilma Aitken (a) (£1,000) [10]
1977 England Vivien Saunders Lindrick Golf Club 306 Countback[f] England Mary Everard (a) £500 £210 [9]
1976 England Jenny Lee Smith (a) Fulford 299 2 strokes Republic of Ireland Mary McKenna (a) £500 (£210) [8]

(a) denotes amateur

Source for later tournaments:[22]
  1. ^ Buhai won with a par at the fourth extra hole.
  2. ^ In 1992 the second day was washed-out and the event reduced to 54 holes.
  3. ^ Alfredsson won with a par at the fourth extra hole.
  4. ^ Dibnah won with a birdie at the second extra hole.
  5. ^ Tournament was co-sanctioned by the LET and LPGA Tour. Prize money for this event was in US dollars; £ values here are based on an exchange rate of $1.25–£1.
  6. ^ Saunders won the title because she had a better last round; 76 to Everard's 79.

Host courses[edit]

The Women's Open has been played at the following courses, listed in order of number of times hosted (as of 2022):

Future venues[edit]

Year Edition Course Location Dates Previously hosted
2023[23] 47th Walton Heath Golf Club Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey, England TBD
2024[23] 48th St Andrews Links (Old Course) St Andrews, Fife, Scotland TBD 2007, 2013
2025[23] 49th Royal Porthcawl Golf Club[a] Porthcawl, Bridgend, Wales TBD
  1. ^ Originally scheduled to host in 2021.[24]

Smyth Salver[edit]

The Smyth Salver is awarded to the leading amateur, provided that the player completes all 72 holes, for one year. The winner also receives a silver medal. The salver was donated by Moira Smyth, a past president of the Ladies' Golf Union.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Prize money increased again for 2022 AIG Women's Open". Women's Open. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  2. ^ "Currency converter". xe.com. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  3. ^ "Championship History". Archived from the original on 19 August 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Women's Open drops 'British' from title in sponsorship rebrand". BBC Sport. 22 July 2020. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  5. ^ "Women put up own prize money". The Glasgow Herald. 1 July 1976. p. 15.
  6. ^ "Julia Greenhalgh". The Glasgow Herald. 1 September 1976. p. 15.
  7. ^ "Sandra's challenge fades". The Glasgow Herald. 3 September 1976. p. 23.
  8. ^ a b "Sandra's hopes dashed". The Glasgow Herald. 4 September 1976. p. 14.
  9. ^ a b "Vivien's title on last 18". The Glasgow Herald. 3 September 1977. p. 16.
  10. ^ a b "Janet in youngest British champion". The Glasgow Herald. 29 July 1978. p. 15.
  11. ^ "Cathy's 79 is fine as open scores rocket". The Glasgow Herald. 27 July 1978. p. 14.
  12. ^ "Descampe charges but Geddes is champion". The Glasgow Herald. 7 August 1989. p. 18.
  13. ^ "Nicholas breaks through at last". The Glasgow Herald. 3 August 1987. p. 10.
  14. ^ "Laura outscores foreign invaders". The Glasgow Herald. 13 October 1986. p. 10.
  15. ^ "Miss King begins a new reign". The Glasgow Herald. 7 October 1985. p. 8.
  16. ^ "Dale deserves prize for her lone battle". The Glasgow Herald. 8 October 1984. p. 17.
  17. ^ "Hitachi pull the plug". The Guardian. 12 March 1983. p. 13. Retrieved 29 September 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "Professional win for a new Spanish graduate". The Glasgow Herald. 2 August 1982. p. 15.
  19. ^ "Debbie pulls away from the field". The Glasgow Herald. 3 August 1981. p. 15.
  20. ^ "Belle second with a 69". The Glasgow Herald. 28 July 1980. p. 13.
  21. ^ "Birdie finish gives Alison British title". The Glasgow Herald. 30 July 1979. p. 15.
  22. ^ "Ricoh Women's British Open Past Winners". LPGA. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  23. ^ a b c Stafford, Ali (19 August 2020). "AIG Women's Open: Muirfield among three new venues for the major". Sky Sports. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  24. ^ "Royal Porthcawl set for AIG Women's British Open debut in 2021". Today's Gofler. 31 July 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  25. ^ https://issuu.com/lgucl/docs/lguyearbook2016 LGU 2016 Yearbook

External links[edit]