The biggest event in women's golf, the U.S. Women's Open, takes place this week at Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh, PA. Yup, the Oakmont where Hogan and Nicklaus each won an Open, where Miller had his famous 63 to win one of his own, the Oakmont that's hosted more Opens than any other course. The Oakmont about which Ai Miyazato's caddie told her that the greens were "shaped like potato chips," the Oakmont she translated his description of as "sugoi muzukashi" (super-tough, so to speak). Yes, you could hear the italics in her voice as she said this at the end of her interview following her amazing final-round charge on Sunday at the LPGA Championship.
Brent Kelley and Jamie Belyea (welcome back, Jamie!) have already previewed the pairings for the 2010 U.S. Women's Open at Oakmont Country Club. And Jamie has given the rundown on who didn't make it into the Open. So there's little left for me to do than offer my predictions as to who among the best on the LPGA without a major and the best of the LPGA period will play the best this week.
1. Miyazato Ai
2. Shin Ji-Yai
4. Kim Song-Hee
5. Choi Na Yeon
6. Kim In-Kyung
7. Park Inbee
Alts: Nordqvist; Yang, Amy; Hull
It'll be interesting to see how new pros like Jennifer Song and Alexis Thompson and Kimberly Kim do relative to Futures Tour standouts Vicky Hurst and Mina Harigae, not to mention those doing well this year like Esther Choe, Pornanong Phatlum, and Tiffany Joh as well as talented amateurs like Lisa McCloskey, Jennifer Johnson, Jessica Korda, Victoria Tanco, Brittany Altomare, Ariya Jutanugarn, and Yueer Feng. I'll of course be following how JLPGAers Sakura Yokomine, Mi-Jeong Jeon, Chie Arimura, Shinobu Moromizato, and Sakurako Mori do relative to dual members Ai Miyazato, Ji-Yai Shin, Inbee Park, Seon Hwa Lee, Momoko Ueda, Teresa Lu, and Tamie Durdin, along with how KLPGAers Hee Kyung Seo, So Yeon Ryu, and Bo Mee Lee stack up against the top Koreans on the LPGA. But of course the biggest stories will be the impact of this Open on the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year races this season, as well as on the world rankings.
In the rush to get ready for the girls' flight to Japan from Toronto later today and get our house in condition to be looked at and hopefully sold this summer, I decided not to apply for media credentials this week. But if Sunday looks particularly interesting, I may bug Mike Scanlan for a pass and leave home at 4 am to walk Oakmont a couple of times. I do have the Utica City Amateur to prepare for and a ton of work to do, so no guarantees. Stay tuned!
[Update 1 (2:58 am): Here's Hound Dog's Hot 20.]
[Update 2 (4:54 pm): The Full Metal Archivist, onechan, and imoto are on their way to Japan! :( On the bright side, Hound Dog has his Open preview out.]
[Update 3 (9:18 pm): Here's Golfweek's complete coverage!]
[Update 4 (9:25 pm): Here's more from Jamie on where the top players stand heading into the Open.]
[Update 5 (9:55 pm): Sweet pre-tournament interviews up at LPGA.com. Forget the Phi Beta Kappa reference Michelle Wie missed (or was she joking?) and read the whole thing (as some have been wont to say in these here parts).]
[Update 6 (10:04 pm): The most interesting part of Ron Sirak's preview is the chatter he picks up from the caddies about where they expect the winning score to be.]
[Update 7 (10:08 pm): Steve DiMeglio's description of Oakmont makes me want to see it in person. Maybe after the heat wave breaks.]
[Update 8 (10:20 pm): Ah, good to see that Randall Mell over at the Shag Bag blog is meeting the challenge of the Tour Bloggers for Golfweek!]
[Update 9 (7/7/10, 8:05 am): Here's Mike Southern on the top 10 in the Rolex Rankings and how their average points would be affected by a win.]
[Update 10 (7/8/10, 11:45 am): Here's Bill Jempty's preview.]
[Update 11 (11:48 am): Mike Southern continues his focus on the Rookie of the Year race.]