The Ricoh Women's British Open is always a huge event in the world of women's golf, but it's even bigger when it's at St. Andrews--and when Inbee Park has a great chance to make history there, well, it's probably the biggest deal since I've started blogging. Tony Jesselli, formerly with this blog and now with his own, is in Scotland with limited internet access and is sending his readers over here for WBO coverage. So let's kick it off with a look at the top storylines heading into the most important week in women's golf in a very long time.
Making History? Inbee Park is going for her 4th major in a row...she's trying to become the 1st golfer in history to do it in the same season...where Lorena Ochoa won at the 1st WBO ever played in St. Andrews. No pressure!
Best Shot for Spoiler Status? Karrie Webb is coming off a big come-from-behind win at the Ladies European Masters and has already won on the LPGA this season. Ashleigh Simon came within a shot of a playoff, notching her 2nd top 5 in as many weeks. Caroline Masson, Sandra Gal, and Christina Kim also had very good weeks. On the LPGA, Beatriz Recari won 2 weeks ago at the Marathon over Paula Creamer, Hee Young Park 3 weeks ago at the Manulife over Angela Stanford. So Yeon Ryu and Catriona Matthew have a silver and a bronze each among their last 4 starts. Angela Stanford has 3 top 5s in a row and counting. Paula Creamer and Jodi Ewart Shadoff have 2 top 5s in their last 3 starts. Meena Lee has 2 top 10s in a row and counting. Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen, and Paula Creamer have 3 top 10s in their last 4 starts. Ai Miyazato has a 5-event top-20 streak. In-Kyung Kim and Haeji Kang have 4-event top-20 runs going. Chie Arimura has 3 top 10s in her last 6 starts. Lexi Thompson has 4 top 20s in her last 7 starts, including a T3 2 weeks ago in Toledo. Chella Choi has 3 top 25s in a row and counting.
Solheim Cup Decision Time. Jennifer Johnson, Morgan Pressel, Michelle Wie, and Gerina Piller are racing for the last three spots on Team USA; Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Sandra Gal, Gwladys Nocera, Charley Hull, and Giulia Sergas are duelling to get onto Team Euro. It's going to come down to captain's picks....
Back on Track? Can former #1s Stacy Lewis, Ya Ni Tseng, Ji-Yai Shin, Ai Miyazato, and Cristie Kerr get back in the passing lane? (Tseng and Shin have 4 of the last 5 WBOs between them, but Shin missed the cut in her last start and Tseng has missed 3 in a row for the 1st time in her career.) Can Paula Creamer or Na Yeon Choi end their victory droughts this week?
Rookie of the Year Race Tightening Up. Moriya Jutanugarn has cooled off a bit of late, and Chie Arimura, Caroline Masson, and Ayako Uehara have been closing the gap on her. They're all in the field this week, along with Austin Ernst, Lisa McCloskey, and Katie Burnett. (There's a chance others might make it in via Monday qualifying.)
Tops from Other Tours. Rikako Morita is the JLPGA money-list leader. Lee-Anne Pace leads the LET Order of Merit. Others high on those lists include Miki Saiki, Mi-Jeong Jeon, Mamiko Higa, Sakura Yokomine, Gwladys Nocera, Charley Hull, and Carlota Ciganda. Ariya Jutanugarn, who got off to a great start in her LET rookie season, required shoulder surgery to deal with an injury she sustained at the Wegman LPGA Championship, so she had to withdraw from the field. (Speaking of who's not there, I don't see any KLPGAers on the field list.)
Lydia Ko Watch. She's playing pretty good golf this year and went low in a recent practice round at St. Andrews. Can she bring it when the starting bell rings?
[Update 1 (3:10 pm): Mechelle Voepel has a good spoiler threat piece at espnw!]
[Update 2 (3:11 pm): She also has a good Inbee Park piece!]
[Update 3 (7/30/13, 11:08 pm): Here's Ruthless Mike's preview!]