How do you go about trying to win back-to-back majors in back-to-back weeks?
If you are Jessica Korda, you look for every small advantage you can find with the Evian Championship this week and the AIG Women’s British Open next week.
“Maybe more room service,” Korda said. “And less going out and mingling with players.”
It’s going to be a taxing week of intense concentration for players trying to get into contention in both majors.
“It’s more mentally challenging, I think, than physically,” Korda said.
With LPGA commissioner Mike Whan wanting to remedy the weather challenges Evian has faced since it moved to September in 2013 to become the LPGA’s fifth major, he moved the event back to its July date. The move, temporarily, causes the problem of back-to-back majors. This will mark the first time since 1960 than women’s majors have been played in back-to-back weeks, according to the LPGA. There were, however, back-to-back majors in 2011, with a week off in between. Yani Tseng won the LPGA Championship that year and So Yeon Ryu took home the title at the U.S. Women’s Open.
“It’s definitely going to be difficult to focus for these two weeks,” Rolex world No. 1 Sung Hyun Park said.
There’s a lot more that can be won these next two weeks than major championship trophies. An entire season can be defined. There’s a load of Rolex World Rankings points, Rolex Player of the Year points, money and Solheim Cup points to be won this week and next.
The men think their major championship season was condensed this year, with four majors in four months. The LPGA is playing four majors in 10 weeks.
It’s not ideal, especially with back-to-back majors, Park says.
“Players are definitely more physically strained and have to focus double the amount,” she said.
But if somebody gets hot, it could be a beautiful thing for that player. Somebody could virtually lock up the Rolex Player of the Year Award and, perhaps, the money title, these next two weeks.
Back-to-back major championship victories is a big ask in the women’s game these days, with winning two majors in a single season becoming an increasingly tougher challenge. The last 11 majors have been won by 11 different players. Nobody has won two majors in a single year since Inbee Park did so four years ago. Nobody has won back-to-back major championship starts in a single season since Park won three in a row in 2013.
With Evian moved to July, there’s hope improved weather will make the challenge less rigorous. Bad weather has plagued the event since its move to September. Warm weather is forecast this week, but there is a chance of weekend thunderstorms.
The event was shortened to 54 holes because of bad weather its first year as a major and again two years ago, when the finish was played through hail and hard rain.
Korda’s enjoying the warmer weather this week.
“The atmosphere here is amazing,” Korda said. “Moving it to this time year, I think it'll be even better. We won't have to be worried about the weather as much and hopefully play four great rounds out here.”