Like most golf fans, the bulk of my attention this past week was on only one of the two majors being played in the United States.
Brooks Koepka’s demolition of the field – and the long and difficult Bethpage Black golf course in New York – bordered on other worldly.
There will be plenty of digital column inches devoted to his performance but suffice to say, Koepka’s defence of his US PGA title was comprehensive.
But as the now four-time major winner was applying the finishing touches to a Tiger-like showing Sunday, there was a stark contrast to be found some 1,000 kilometres south where the US Senior Women’s Open was contested at the Pine Needles club in North Carolina.
The two courses could hardly be further apart in design and presentation and the same could be said of the players in the field.
However – and this is the interesting part – both tournaments were at least equally entertaining.
This was just the second time the US Senior Women’s Open was played and, as they did last year, the USGA selected one of the game’s classic designs to test the best over-50s players in the game.
Dame Laura Davies triumphed at Chicago Golf Club in 2018 in Koepka-like fashion, 10 strokes ahead of her nearest rival, but there were no such heroics in 2019.
With just 14 sub-par rounds recorded over the four days it would be fair to declare Pine Needles the winner in this contest, though Helen Alfredsson was awarded the trophy for finishing two shots ahead of Juli Inkster and Trish Johnson.
"There were two reasons I was especially interested in the women’s tournament, one being the chance to see the host course and the other somewhat more selfish."
There were two reasons I was especially interested in the women’s tournament, one being the chance to see the host course and the other somewhat more selfish.
Pine Needles is a beautiful Donald Ross design which uses angles and clever bunkering to test both the imagination and execution of the players.
There is no rough and the wide fairways are inviting to the less skilled while demanding precise driving for the better player hoping to post a score.
In short, Pine Needles is everything Bethpage Black was not (and IMHO more fun to watch). But I digress.
The second reason I was interested in the women’s event was more personal. As some of you will know, Golf Australia launched a new podcast this past week and I’ve been lucky enough to get the job as host.
The Thing About Golf is a monthly, in-depth interview show with a broad range of characters from the golf world including players, administrators and even course developers.
Our first episode was timely as the guest was Sue Wooster, a 56-year-old, plus-two handicap golfer from The National Golf Club in Victoria, who earned a berth at Pine Needles after making the final of the US Senior Women’s Amateur in 2018.
Sue’s story is a remarkable one and if you haven’t already, it is worth listening to. Disappointment would barely describe Sue’s feelings about shooting 82-85 to miss the cut at Pine Needles, but those numbers give no real indication of what she has already achieved in the game.
As you will discover in the podcast, just being in the field was a triumph for someone who didn’t start playing until their early 20s and didn’t get serious until their 40s.
It’s a fascinating tale but only the first of many. We hope you come along for the ride by subscribing to The Thing About Golf (it’s free) and we look forward to any and all feedback and sharing some great stories over the coming months.
Rod Morri is founder of the TalkinGolf Podcast Network, home of the State of the Game, iSeekGolf, TalkinGolf History and Feed The Ball podcasts.
Visit www.talkingolf.com for more information and to subscribe.