AIG Women’s Open
Muirfield | Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland | Aug. 4-7, 2022
Wednesday Pre-Tournament Notes
Aug. 3, 2022
GEORGIA HALL ENJOYING MAJOR WEEK FEELS AT HER FAVORITE EVENT OF THE YEAR
A star-studded rookie in 2018, Georgia Hall’s career forever changed on the final day at the AIG Women’s Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club. In her 29th total start on the LPGA Tour, England’s own earned the moniker of major champion after earning her maiden title by two strokes over Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum. She became the ninth player in the major’s history to have the championship mark her first major title, and the fourth to make her a Rolex First-Time Winner overall. It’s a week forever engrained in the now two-time Tour winner’s mind.
“Obviously it was the best moment in my career and my aim is always to win as many of these Opens as possible, especially on big championship courses like this one,” said Hall, who won with her father on the bag. “It’s my highlight of the year playing this event, so I always have a lot of confidence going in, and I really enjoy the week.”
Hall enters the championship with an impressive -34 combined score to par in the AIG Women’s Open since 2017, the lowest of any player. Her win, as well as her tie for second in 2021 and tie for third in 2017, are the best finishes of any golfer over the last five years. Hall has been able to get a feel for Muirfield over the past few days, commenting that the final holes and their challenges may prove entertaining in the closing stretch, but for the most part feels “very confident” embarking in her favorite event of the year.
“I’ve played it where I think the wind is going to be. 14, 15, I’ve had driver, 3-wood into two par 4s which is I think very tricky,” said Hall. “Obviously 18 is a long hole as well, driver, 4-iron in. So I think the last four, five, six holes are the trickiest, and I think they should be and it will be a great closing holes for whoever is leading. You definitely need to kind of stay fairly aggressive.”
And though it may seem the pressure is on Hall to deliver, the 26-year-old brushes it off, appreciating the ability to make history on what the game’s most historic course. “I just feel very happy to be playing at home,” said Hall. “I just try and take advantage as much as I can and really enjoy having – when I walk on the first tee tomorrow, I’m sure there will be lots of people watching.”
LINKS GOLF (SORT OF) GROWING ON ATTHAYA THITIKUL
Thinking back to the first time she saw an AIG Women’s Open course, Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul couldn’t help but laugh at her initial reaction. “When I first came here and played my first British Open, I think that’s in Kingsbarns, I guess,” she said. “It’s such a beautiful course, and that’s my only like, that’s my first time playing links. And I was like, oh, my gosh, I hate it. I hate it!”
Thitikul missed the cut in that debut, but thankfully it seems like her estimation of links golf – or at least her prowess – has improved since 2017. The 2022 LPGA Tour rookie has made the cut in the last three AIG Women’s Opens, and even tied for second at the 2012 Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open held at Dumbarnie Links. Links golf is still not her favorite, but the 19-year-old still sees the value in the change of pace that comes with a challenging week in Scotland.
“I love the challenge. I love how you have to have it all, like all the things, all the weather and the wind, how the ball going to react in the course,” Thitikul said ahead of teeing it up at Muirfield. “Yeah, it’s kind of like (the most) challenging major in my thought.”
Thitikul has already captured a title in her rookie season, winning the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol in March. She holds a 61-point lead over Hye-Jin Choi in the race for 2022 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors, and is among the Tour leaders in top-10 finishes (eight, T1), scoring average (69.789, sixth), strokes gained off the tee (0.780, T7) and total strokes gained (1.870, eighth).
THE R&A ANNOUNCES INCREASED PRIZE FUND FOR THE AIG WOMEN’S OPEN AT MUIRFIELD
The R&A and AIG continue to increase the prize fund for the AIG Women’s Open with the winner set to receive $1.095 million.
The R&A announced that the total prize fund for the AIG Women’s Open, played from 4-7 August 2022 at Muirfield, will be $7.3 million, a 26% increase on 2021.
With the support of title sponsor AIG, the prize fund for the Championship has grown by 125% since 2018, the year before AIG’s partnership with The R&A commenced.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “Last year we took a very bold step to substantially increase the prize fund of the AIG Women’s Open. This year at the AIG Women’s Open, the players will be competing for $7.3 million, which is an increase of 26% on last year and also sees the total investment into the prize fund increase by just over $4million or 125% since The R&A and AIG began our partnership in 2019. In AIG, we have the support of a deeply trusted partner, as we look to continue to elevate the AIG Women’s Open.”
MAKING HISTORY AT THE AIG WOMEN’S OPEN
The AIG Women’s Open became a part of the LPGA Tour schedule in 1994 and was elevated to major championship status in 2001. This year’s event takes place at Muirfield where 144 of the world’s best women golfers will play the course designed by Old Tom Morris (1891) and later renovated by Harry Colt (1925), Tom Simpson (1930s) and Martin Hawtree (2011). Scotland hosts this major for the ninth time following trips to Royal Troon Golf Club and Carnoustie Golf Links the last two years.
Georgia Hall won the AIG Women’s Open during her rookie year in 2018 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. The major championship win came in her home country of England in her 14th major start, and 29th total start in an official LPGA Tour event. In the last five years, Hall has demonstrated an impressive record on links golf, recording the lowest combined score to par (-34) amongst all players. Her first-, second- and third-place finishes in three of the last five years are the best of any golfer.
Lizette Salas has recorded runner-up finishes in two of the last three years. Two-time major champion Minjee Lee has earned two consecutive top-five finishes in 2020 and 2021. Hall, Salas, Lee and Sei Young Kim have separated themselves on links golf courses by being at least eight strokes better than the other competitors.
For more, visit www.lpga.com/news/2022/making-history-at-the-aig-womens-open
KPMG PERFORMANCE INSIGHTS – AIG WOMEN’S OPEN
Jin Young Ko has the best scoring average in the major championships of any player since the beginning of 2019.
Nelly Korda leads the LPGA Tour in strokes gained total per round since tracking began in June 2021.
Lydia Ko leads the LPGA in strokes gained putting and putts made over 10 feet this season. She is also among the leaders in the more traditional putting statistics.
SOCIAL MEDIA: #DRIVEON
Tournament: @AIGWomensOpen (Twitter/Instagram), #AIGWO, #WorldClass
LPGA: @LPGA, @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram)
TV TIMES (all times Eastern)
Thursday, Aug. 4 – 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. (USA)
Friday, Aug. 5 – 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. (USA)
Saturday, Aug. 6 – 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. (USA); 12-3 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, Aug. 7 – 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. (USA); 12-3 p.m. (NBC)
TOURNAMENT SCORING RECORDS
18 holes: 62, Minea Blomqvist, third round, 2004; Mirim Lee, first round, 2016
36 holes: 133, Caroline Masson, 2011; Mirim Lee, 2016; In-Kyung Kim, 2017
54 holes: 199, In-Kyung Kim, 2017
72 holes: 269, Karen Stupples, 2004
COURTESY LPGA TOUR COMMUNICATIONS