Sports Outside the Beltway

The U.S. Women’s Golf Open is underway

It is being played at the Oakmont Country Club outside of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania today through Sunday. The defending Champion is Eun Hee Ji.

The third Women’s golf major of 2010 is being played on one of the toughest golf courses in the world. Oakmont doesn’t just feature small greens and tight fairways, the norm of any USGA professional championship, but treacherously fast greens. I first watched a major played on this golf course in 1978. In 32 years of golf viewing, I’ve never seen a tougher course for pros to putt on.

Ji is the defending champion, but she isn’t playing very well coming into the tournament. Cristie Kerr has won the last two LPGA events she competed in, including a romp at the LPGA Championship. Which was the last major championship played. Many are naming Kerr the favorite this week and I won’t say that’s a bad choice. Still blogger The Constructivist has some valid points about Kerr coming into this week.

Um, dude, Kerr had chances to win 2 majors last year and let them slip through her fingers. Nobody stepped up to challenge her in the LPGA Championship for any serious length of time. Kerr still has to prove she’s a closer in majors. That and the fact that she won at Locust Hill with a leaky driver–something that Oakmont will penalize much more severely–are the doubts that any knowledgeable writer should be emphasizing about Kerr’s chances to get her 2nd Open, 3rd major, and 15th career victory on the LPGA.

Hound Dog, Mike, and Sal Johnson also have done previews for this week. Sal has put together an excellent guide on all the players in the tournament. Why can’t the USGA or LPGA do this kind of work? Sal is about the only person besides this person(and his not perfect golf memory) who tries to uphold the LPGA’s stats and history prior to the Annika Sorenstam era.

The Women’s Golf Open isn’t getting a tenth of the attention the recently passed Men’s Open at Pebble Beach got. This is normal, and has nothing to do with the lack of American winners or the Asians overrunning the tour complaints so often heard till you become nauseous. Four South Koreans won golf tournaments in 2007, and I was one of the few to notice. Golf World’s Ron Sirak is in attendance this after his golf publication in a gross act of golf reporting dereliction of duty, didn’t cover the LPGA Championship in its magazine or even preview this week’s major. Would you believe Golf World didn’t put out a magazine at all last week? Check it out yourself.

Golf World isn’t alone. Ryan Ballangee at Waggleroom is too busy writing a post wondering if Arnold Palmer is looking at someone’s boobs. The state of reporting on the LPGA is just horrendous.

My picks this week. Inbee Park, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open champ, has been quietly playing some of the best golf in 2010. It wouldn’t at all surprise me if she won again on Sunday. Jiyai Shin, Cristie Kerr, Na Yeon Choi, and Hee Kyung Seo would be other top five choices.

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