5 Reasons the U.S. Women’s Open is (GASP!) Better?

2014 U.S. Women's Open

11-year-old sensation Luci Li tees off during a practice round for the U.S. Women’s Open as Pinehurst caddie Bryan Bush looks on. (Photo by the USGA)

A simple fact is the U.S. Women’s Open does not draw as much attention as the men’s U.S. Open Championship.

But, listen…the Women’s Open might be even better.

Here are a few reasons:

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Jessica Korda plays an approach shot at Pinehurst No. 2 during the U.S. Women’s Open. (Photo by the USGA)

HEY, I’VE HAD THAT SHOT Let’s get this out of the way – you are not as good as the best women golfers in the world. But that doesn’t mean their game isn’t more RELATABLE to the typical weekend golfer. Pinehurst No. 2, for the U.S. Women’s Open, will play to about 6,500 yards. The normal member’s tees of No. 2 range between 6,300-6,500 yards. So the shots the women hit into Donald Ross’s turtleback greens might be similar to the shots you would face were you able to hit a nice drive.

Of course, what they do with that second shot is where the awe creeps back in. But the women are playing your kind of course. Since we’re going to spend a lot of time this week comparing the Women’s Open to last week’s performances by the men, go ahead and compare your game to the women.

Just remember, they’d still kick your butt.

 

2014 U.S. Women's Open

Cheyenne Woods plays a pitch shot during the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst on Thursday. Galleries at the Women’s Open allow fans to see players and watch golf with greater ease than the men’s Open. (Photo by The USGA)

OH LOOK, YOU CAN SEE The crowds for the U.S. Women’s Open will be a little better than half in size of the crowds for the men’s Open. That means you can watch from the front of the ropes (unless you’re five deep watching Lucy Li Thursday morning; more on that later). That means you can get whatever grandstand seat you want, whenever you want. That means you don’t have to spend half your day waiting to check out of the 50,000-square-foot merchandise tent. That means when the kid wants a frozen lemonade, you walk right up to the concession stand with no wait. That means a happy kid. That means a good day.

 

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A young fan shows off all of her autographs from the U.S. Women’s Open. (Photo by The USGA)

SAY HELLO OK, you can’t ask for autographs during play, but let’s just say the women’s players are a lot more approachable than the men’s. And it’s likely your chance at an autograph with a famous women’s player (at the range or putting green, or perhaps at 18) will involve some conversation. During the practice rounds, some players were even coming out from the ropes to talk, visit and take photos with fans. That’s just the way the LPGA world is. And it’s awesome for fans.

 

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Hall-of-Famer Juli Inkster is playing in her 35th U.S. Women’s Open. (Photo by The USGA)

SOMEONE FOR ALL OF US Not just diversity in an international sense, which is abundant on the women’s tour. But diversity in types of players. Laura Davies, the 1987 U.S. Women’s Open champion, is 50 and had to qualify to reach Pinehurst. And she couldn’t be more overjoyed about it. Hall-of-Famer Juli Inskter is playing her 35th Open. And then there’s the other side: Michelle Wie is playing her 11th Open at just 24. The tour’s brightest stars are in their 20s – including Stacy Lewis, Jessica Korda and Paula Creamer – or even younger, like Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson. Karrie Webb is a huge threat to win the Open, and at 39 might still have the best swing on Tour.

And then there’s…

 

YES, WE LOVE LUCY She’s 11 years old, and looks it. Walks like it. Dresses like it. Does her hair like it.

But, she doesn’t sound like it. And she sure as heck doesn’t swing like it.

Lucy Li probably won’t make the cut this week at Pinehurst. But she’s made the golf world loudly express a collective, “AHHHHHHHHHHHH.” And the kids in the gallery this week have loved her, and she’s loved them.

A true story – we were walking with Lucy as she finished practicing bunker shots on Pinehurst’s practice area Wednesday. She stopped to sign autographs along the fencing. Several of the kids weren’t even big enough to see over the fence, and in some spots, Lucy couldn’t see far enough over the fence to see them. She would pull herself up on the fence just to see them.

Finally, Lucy had to be pulled away. Walking with her caddie, Lucy said to him, “It’s so hard to walk away. They’re all so cute. I don’t want to stop. How are you supposed to say no?”

That’s the U.S. Women’s Open for you.

If you have more reasons why you think the U.S. Women’s Open is as good as it gets for watching professional golf, leave them in the comments below.

 

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