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US Women's Open history Round 2 tee times

A look into the history of the US Women’s Open

The US Women’s Open has a long and storied history…

 

The US Women’s Open is the oldest and longest-running of the five women’s major championships, dating back to 1946, but what is the history of the tournament?

There were already two other women’s majors at the time of the inception of the US Women’s Open. They were the Women’s Western Open and the Titleholders Championship.

However, those two tournaments would become defunct within a five-year spell between 1967 and 1972. That left the US Women’s Open to soldier on as a major championship.

It is now one of five majors in the women’s game, alongside the Chevron Championship, Women’s PGA Championship, Amundi Evian Championship and the AIG Women’s Open.

The history of the tournament begins shortly after the Second World War. 1946 saw the inaugural US Women’s Open at Spokane Country Club.

The first edition of the tournament was played under the match-play format, with Patty Berg beating Betty Jameson 5&4 in a 36-hole contest. Jameson would take the title in 1947, in what was the first stroke-play edition of the US Women’s Open.

US Women's Open

Babe Zaharias then won in 1948, and would go on to win a total of three times. Her victory in 1954 saw a record that still stands seven decades later. Zaharias remains the oldest woman to ever win the title, at 43 years and 7 days.

19 years, 11 months and 17 days. That was the record set by Inbee Park in 2008 as she became the youngest ever winner of the US Women’s Open. 13 years later, Yuka Saso incredibly matched that to the day, with the pair now sharing the record.

1967 saw Catherine Lacoste take the victory at The Homestead. In doing so, she became (to date) the only amateur to win the US Women’s Open. On eight other occasions, an amateur has finished 2nd/T2, with Barbara McIntire (1956) and Jenny Chuasiriporn (1998) both losing in playoffs.

Brittany Lang and Morgan Pressel both finished T2 in 2005, with Hye-Jin Choi the most recent amateur to finish runner-up. She did so at Trump National in Bedminster in 2017.

As with pretty much all golf tournaments in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the US Women’s Open. The event was postponed six months, and was eventually played in December.

For the first time, the tournament was played over two courses. Both the Cypress Creek Course and the Jackrabbit Course at Champions Golf Club were used over the first two days. The Cypress Creek was then used for the third and fourth rounds.

The 2020 event also finished on a Monday, after a delay in the final round. Eventually, more than 28 weeks after it was originally scheduled to start, South Korea’s A-Lim Kim was the victor, claiming her maiden major title.

No tournament history piece would be without mentioning the great Mickey Wright. Alongside Betsy Rawls, the pair hold the record for the most victories at the US Women’s Open.

Rawls won for the first time in 1951, before winning three more times by the end of the decade. Wright’s first win at the US Women’s Open came in 1958. She would win again the year after, followed by victories at the 1961 and 1964 editions.

Prior to the turn of the millennium, only nine editions of the US Women’s Open were won by non-Americans. However, since the start of the 21st Century, 16 of the 24 editions have been won by non-Americans. That began with a double for Australian Karrie Webb.

Allisen Corpuz‘s victory in 2023 was the first by a home player since Brittany Lang’s success seven years earlier. In that time, Minjee Lee, Yuka Saso and Ariya Jutanugarn were all victorious, with the latter becoming the first Thai golfer (male or female) to win a major championship.

Minjee Lee US Women's Open

The 2024 edition of the US Women’s Open sees Lancaster Country Club host the tournament for a second time, following on from In-Gee Chun’s victory in 2015.

Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club has hosted the event on four occasions, with the Atlantic City Country Club having the privilege of playing host three times. No other venue has hosted the US Women’s Open on more than two occasions, though that is scheduled to change with Oakmont hosting the 2028 edition.

Have your say on the history of the US Women’s Open

What has been the defining moment in the history of the US Women’s Open for you? Let us know by leaving a comment on X!

Matt Coles

Matt Coles

Mention a European country, and Matt will tell you which resorts make the National Club Golfer Top 100s: European Resorts list. He might even throw in who designed the golf course and how many rooms the hotel has got at each one…

Matt got into the game of golf from a young age, following his old man to the local golf club. He fell for the sport, and now can’t seem to go a day without thinking about how to improve his game (Thanks Dad!). Matt has been a member of Howley Hall GC in Leeds since 2020, and is just about managing to maintain a single-figure handicap. He likes to remind people that he once broke 75, but won’t tell people that it was on a shortened course during the winter.

He moved to Leeds after graduating from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class Honours degree in Sports Journalism. Matt joined NCG after almost five years travelling the world with the Professional Squash Association, working on events in all four corners of the globe.

Matt currently plays a Cobra King LTDx driver and RadSpeed 3-wood. TaylorMade monopolise the rest of his bag, with a SIM UDI, M5 irons and both Milled Grind and HI-TOE wedges, along with a Monza Redline putter. He uses a Vice Pro Plus golf ball, because he’s a bit different…

Away from golf, Matt is a Manchester United fan, and a keen runner, having ran the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon (his first and possibly last), in May 2023.

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