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Thursday, June 19, 2014

U.S. GOLF OPEN AGAIN: Now the Ladies

So what if Martin Kaymer won the Men's U.S. Open by eight stokes this Sunday, and the TV ratings were down by 46%.  But, ah, they did something right, for the Women's U.S. Open begins today at Pinehurst #2 in North Carolina...again.  Back to back, men, then women.  On the same course.  The women can use some catalysis, as the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) is a pale shadow of the PGA in prize money and TV ratings.

Anyway, it is fabulous, to watch how well females can play this game on the same course.  For those who say why  don't they let women compete with men,  Bubba Watson leads in driving distance with 313 yards, while Lexi Thompson's leading average for the LPGA is 274.  For the men, #187 is David Toms at 274, and he is 47 years old.

ESPN2 begins televising on Thursday at 3PM (EDT, 9 AM in Hawaii), and the Open moves to NBC during the weekend.  The star attraction is Lucy Li:

Why?  At the age of 11 she is the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open.  Last month she won her age category at the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at the Augusta National where the Master's was played.  She is in the sixth grade and at 5'2" drives the ball 230 yards.  That's further than me at my best.  Michelle Wie (that's her to the left at 11) qualified for the the USGA amateur championship at the age of 10, and was was 13 and already 6 feet tall  (she only gained an inch, and is now 6'1'') when she qualified for the U.S. Women's Open, the same year that Li was born at Stanford, where Michelle went to school.  Her grandfather was once a visiting professor, an uncle earned a PhD in Aerospace Engineering and aunt a Masters in Industrial Engineering, at Stanford.  That's Michelle with Greg Norman.  Is he really that short?.  (Actually, Norman is 6' tall, but women wear those ridiculous heels these days.)

Here, Michelle with her parents, B.J. and Bo:

BJ was once on the faculty of the College of Business at the University of Hawaii.  Bo is a real estate agent and former Korean amateur champion golfer,  and they both are from South Korea.  

Lucy Li's father, Warren, is a computer consultant and stockbroker, while her mother, Amy, is with Hewleltt-Packard.  They were raised in China, but moved to the U.S. from Australia in 1998.  While they live in the Bay Area, Lucy, from the age of 7, has lived with her aunt in Florida for 4 months of the year to be close to her instructor, Jim McLean (right).

The favorites are:
  • Inbee Park (13/2), 25 (right)
  • Stacy Lewis (13/2), 28
  • Lydia Ko (14:1), 17
  • Lexi Thompson (16:1), 19
  • Michelle Wie (116:1), 23 

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