The American resurgence in women’s golf extends to the major championships.
With Lexi Thompson winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April and Michelle Wie the U.S. Women’s Open in June, Americans will tee it up at the Ricoh Women’s British Open this week trying for the first time in 15 years to win the first three major championships of the year.
Back in 1999, American Dottie Pepper opened the year winning the Kraft Nabisco with fellow American Juli Inkster following up winning the LPGA Championship and the U.S. Women’s Open.
When Stacy Lewis won the Ricoh Women’s British Open last year, she ended a drought of 10 consecutive majors without an American victory, the longest winless stretch in the history of the American women’s game. The state of the American game seemed especially ragged last year when Europe won the Solheim Cup for the first time on American soil in a historic rout.
The Americans have won 10 of the 16 LPGA events staged this year. How good is that? It’s more than they won in 2010 and ’11 combined. It’s just July, but Americans have won more tour events this season than they have in any year since 2007.
More than that, Lewis stands as an American atop the Rolex world rankings.
Things have changed quickly in women’s golf. A year ago, Inbee Park was leading South Korea’s continuing dominance of the women’s game. She arrived for the Ricoh Women’s British Open at St. Andrews trying to become the first player to win the first four women’s majors of the year. Park has the lone South Korean LPGA victory this year.
“There's definitely been a switch,” Lewis said. “I think we are all kind of motivating each other. I think we have all been kind of motivated from Solheim and from answering those questions all the time of where are the Americans. But it's great to see, because we all have great camaraderie among us, and so it's fun to get together and play practice rounds, play matches, because we are making each other better. And obviously it's a great thing for the tour, as well.”