SOUTH PINES, NORTH CAROLINA | The game needs rivalries. That’s why we work hard to create them, even if they don’t exist. Scottie Scheffler vs. Cameron Smith is a media and fan creation if there ever was one – two guys whose wives call them “sweet” and whose biggest disagreement might be over who can make the best eggs stuffed. Tiger vs. Phil was only a rivalry when the two faced off, which wasn’t often the case. And in the women’s match, the Annika Sorenstam vs. Karrie Webb vs. Se Ri Pak trio only provided fireworks until Sorenstam started circling the court.
The best in history was The Big Three: Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, who traded Masters green jackets and major championship heads like cards in a game of gin rummy.
Now, however, women’s football is about to have a rivalry unparalleled in the modern era. Only ours is a Fearsome Foursome, a quartet of the best and most spectacular players in the history of women’s sport.
You know two of them well. They have been trading first place in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings for more than a year. Jin Young Ko, the current No. 1, had another impressive performance at the US Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, shooting 6 under on the week to finish alone in fourth. It was four strokes better than Rolex No. 2, former No. 1 and reigning KPMG Women’s PGA Champion Nelly Korda, who wowed everyone as she returned after a dangerous blood clot. which required surgery and a 100-day layoff to finish tied. for the eighth.
Ko versus Korda – Korda versus Ko. Precision and conservatism versus dynamism and flair. If there was nothing else to our game, these two would be enough to keep fans glued to women’s golf.
But there is so much more.
From Monday morning, we should have a new world number 3. Minjee Lee, who lit up Pine Needles like a bushfire, announced her presence at the rivalry table, winning the US Women’s Open by five strokes with a ball-striking display that had everyone in the game sat down and took note.
Lee now holds two of the five major trophies in the women’s golf championship, having won the 2021 Amundi Evian Championship with a seven-shot comeback on Sunday and a birdie on the first playoff hole. This time she sailed to victory. Going into the final round with a three-shot lead, Lee extended it to five with two straight birdies to open his round. Then she put it on cruise control. No one came within four back and Lee was able to go up 18 with a five-shot pad. A three-for-18 putt proved meaningless as the hottest player in the women’s game announced her arrival.
“It’s the one I’ve always wanted to win since I was little, so it’s pretty amazing to be able to do it today,” Lee said as he looked and smiled at the Semple trophy. “I just can’t believe it.”
For those who haven’t followed Lee over the past two years, she’s transformed from a player with a great golf swing and a handful of LPGA Tour wins to one of the most successful ball-strikers. longest, straightest and most impressive in history. She’s gained 20 yards off the tee in the past 24 months, partly from tightening up a golf swing that was the envy of all who saw it, and also from hitting the gym, lifting heavy weights to increase speed and control.
She has also become a good putter – not great yet, but definitely in the right direction. At the US Women’s Open, she ranked fourth in greens hit in regulation and eighth in putting. This combo will put you near the top of every leaderboard in the game.
So the battle is on. Ko vs. Korda vs. Minjee. The Grand Triumvirate revisited.
Only there is another player who refuses to be forgotten. Former No. 1 Lydia Ko – who set almost all of the game’s ‘youngest’ records, including being the youngest player in history, male or female, to reach the top of the world rankings – has fallen in 44th place in the world during its crisis. before moving back to world No. 3, a spot she will hold until Monday, when Minjee moves up.
Lydia refused to go to Southern Pines on Sunday. At one point deep in the back nine, Ko tied for second place with Mina Harigae.
“I think overall I played solid, maybe not as strong as the last two days, and finishing three bogeys in the last four holes is probably not the best way to finish,” said Lydia. “But other than that I think in general I played very solid and there was a lot of good golf considering where I was hitting it on day two. I’m glad I finished in the top 10 here at the US Women’s Open, which I think is only my second time. So I’m looking forward to taking on more of these positions and competing more.
And fans can’t wait to see this Fearsome Foursome compete in three more major championships this year, as well as the rest of the events on the LPGA Tour schedule.
Ko vs. Korda vs. Minjee vs. Lydia.
It has a nice ringtone.