Women's U.S. Open has an international flair
Posted June 18, 2014
It might be the U.S. Open, but it's an international event.
Unlike the men's U.S. Open, the Women's Open has more foreign players than Americans.
"The tour itself is very international,” said defending U.S. Open champion Inbee Park. “Everybody's competing with each other. Obviously, when you have a couple of good players from your country, you try to follow them."
Not only is South Korea's Inbee Park the defending champion, international players have dominated the event, winning seven of the last nine Women's Opens, a trend that's growing old for some American players.
"An American is due to win this thing, so for me it would be an honor," said Stacy Lewis, the top-ranked women’s golfer in the world.
Nearly two-thirds of this weekend's players are internationals, representing 25 different countries from across the planet.
Lydia Ko might be the ultimate example of this golfing globalization. Born in South Korea, the world's third-ranked player now represents New Zealand.
"I'm having fun playing for New Zealand, but at the same time, when someone looks at me they're not going to think 'ah, she's a New Zealander.' I am Korean," said Ko.
And it's not just the pro game that's going global. Every player on Duke's NCAA championship team this year was born overseas, led by U.S. Open qualifier Celine Boutier, of France
"Overseas, there's no such thing as the NCAA,” said Duke assistant coach Jeanne Cho. ”And if you do play for a college team, it's not as balanced."
“I think that’s why the European girls now are coming to the U.S.,” said Boutier. “Because I also want to have a backup plan in case something happens, so getting a degree is what I wanted to have.”
It's the U.S. Open in name, but a world championship in practice.