Women's British Open: Players reluctant to complain about crowded calendar around majors

Georgia Hall with the British Open trophy in 2018
Britain's Georgia Hall goes into the British Open as defending champion

One week on from the last major, the world's top female golfers are reconvening for the Women's British Open which starts at Woburn on Thursday.

It is a ridiculously short turnaround between events that define players' careers. Many are putting on brave faces, accepting that the crowded calendar is the price to pay for heavy sponsor investment.

But this is another instance where golf is shown to be incapable of coordinating a more sensible calendar.

Last week's Evian Championship is the fifth major in the women's game. In 2013 the tournament was given this elevated status to guarantee sponsor backing rather than because it was deserving of it.

It was moved to July because of poor weather in its previous September date but the change has cluttered the build-up to the the British Open.

How many of the field who have made the mad dash from the Alps can say they are properly prepared for this week's Woburn test?

Of course, feeling hard done by does little to inspire confidence, which explains why those fine-tuning their games in and around two days of Woburn pro-ams are so reluctant to complain.

"I think it is going to be beneficial," said British hope Bronte Law. "I'm very pleased with how I'm hitting the ball and can kind of carry that momentum into this week.

"If you're not playing well, then yeah, it might be an issue because you haven't got time to work on your game."

Law's planned flight from France last Monday was cancelled and she was forced to re-route via Frankfurt. Instead of arriving at 11am she touched down at 6.30pm relieved that her bags had accompanied her.

Other players were less fortunate. Forty of the Evian field chose to ship their clubs overground only for the van to be held up en route because American star Lexi Thompson had left her passport in her golf bag.

The knock-on effects meant the van, driven by former Seve Ballesteros caddie Ian Wright, did not arrive at Woburn until 5pm on Monday. Among those affected was Ariya Jutanugarn, the champion the last time the event was played here.

Others to suffer included Nelly Korda, Carlotta Ciganda and Anna Nordqvist and most of those affected had hoped to play a Monday practice round. By the time their clubs arrived the course was shut.

Hall's trophy stolen

Someone else concerned with missing possessions is defending champion Georgia Hall, the 23-year-old from Bournemouth who triumphed at Royal Lytham last year.

Hall's replica trophy was stolen from the boot of her car when it was parked in Chiswick, London around a month ago.

"Obviously I was very upset at the time," Hall said. "I was on my own and nothing had happened to me like that before, so I was a little bit scared."

Hall added: "Some things happen like this in life and you just get on with it, I suppose."

Her main priority has been to rediscover the form that brought her that maiden major title 12 months ago. Backing up that brilliant performance has proven difficult and she has split from coach Dan Grieve.

"He's a great person and a great coach," Hall said. "But I'm a very simple person and very simple player and I think things were getting a bit confusing for me.

"I'm in my own head, so I just wanted to simplify everything, and it's a lot better without having those voices in my head."

Hall has missed the cut in four of her last eight tournaments and finished 37th at Evian last week. But there have been flickers of form, she started and finished the Alpine tournament with rounds of 69.

Along with Hall and Law, Charley Hull spearheads the British challenge this week and is playing at her home club.

Hull is a more mature figure, better able to deal with the demands of playing in front of so many familiar faces compared with 2016 when the tournament was last staged at Woburn.

The 23-year-old from Kettering aims to keep a low profile around the clubhouse and take full advantage of her intimate knowledge of the Marquess' course.

Certainly she can draw inspiration from Hall's performance last year and will need to in order to combat the formidable Asian challenge which is led by world number one Ko Jin-young who triumphed at the Evian Championship.

Successive major wins are a rarity, it will be interesting to see whether she has the energy to pull off such a feat in the shortest possible time frame.

Top Stories