New Jersey, United States: The Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) has praised the United States Golf Association (USGA) for its vision in recognising the global growth and strength of women’s golf by introducing international qualifying for the US Women’s Open Championship.
Tim Trinka, President of the AGIF, said: “It is a far-sighted move by the USGA and reflects the rapid progress of Asian women at the very pinnacle of the game.
“That we will have qualifiers in China, Japan and Korea will only serve to broaden interest in the women’s game among females of all ages not only in their respective countries, but across our region.”
The USGA said the expansion of the Women’s Open qualifying process represents further demonstration of its ‘dedication to enhancing and elevating its national championships, while making the game more accessible to players and diverse cultures around the world’.
The 2014 US Women’s Open will take place from June 19-22 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No 2) in North Carolina. USGA President Thomas J. O’Toole Jr said: “The USGA has long been committed to presenting the US Women’s Open as the premier event in international women’s golf.
“With the addition of international qualifying, we are happy to expand the championship field to include more of the very best players from across the globe. We extend many thanks to our friends and partners around the world for their efforts in helping us accomplish this mission.”
Fourteen foreign-born players have won the US Women’s Open a total of 18 times, including two-time and defending champion Park In-bee of Korea. In recent years, international players have dominated the leaderboard, taking seven of the last nine championships and 13 of the last 19. Players from Korea have won five of the last six championships.
Officials from the China Golf Association, the Japan Golf Association, the Korea Golf Association and the Ladies European Tour will conduct international qualifying for the US Women’s Open, which will be held at four sites on Monday, May 19.
Asia will have three qualifying sites – CGA Nanshan International Training Centre (Garden Course) in China; Higashi Nagoya Country Club in Japan and Woo Jeong Hills Country Club in Korea. Buckinghamshire Golf Club in England will host European qualifying.
CGA Nanshan International Training Centre opened in 2008 and was designed by IMG Design, a Charter Member of the AGIF. The Garden Course hosted the 2011-13 OneAsia Nanshan China Masters, and served as host site for the 2013 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.
“Golf is a very popular sport in China, and we are very happy to have a US Women’s Open qualifying site in our home country, with the joint effort made by the USGA and the CGA,” said Zhang Xiaoning, Vice President and Secretary General of the China Golf Association,
“This will definitely promote the development of women’s golf in China and broaden the influence of the China LPGA Tour. We truly appreciate the help and support from the USGA toward the development of golf in China and we certainly hope that more USGA events will come into China in the future, providing opportunities to Chinese female golfers and hopefully allowing more Chinese women to succeed, as Feng Shanshan has in her professional golf career.”
Higashi Nagoya Country Club was designed by Giichi Sato and opened in 1964. It has hosted several Japanese national championships, including the 1985 Japan Open, the 1993 Japan Women’s Open and the 2012 Japan Senior Open.
“We are very pleased that the USGA is bringing US Women’s Open qualifying to Japan,” said Taizo Kawata of the Japan Golf Association. “With players like Ai Miyazato and Ayako Okamoto as role models, more and more Japanese women are learning the game of golf. We hope that this chance to compete in the top event in women’s golf provides even more opportunities to our players.”
Woo Jeong Hills Country Club was designed by Perry Dye and opened in 1993. Since 2003, it has been the host site of the Kolon Korea Open.
“Since Pak Se-ri historic victory in 1998, Korean women have enjoyed tremendous success at the US Women’s Open and across professional golf,” said Hur Kwang-soo, president of the Korea Golf Association. “We are very happy that more Korean players will have the opportunity to try to qualify for this most prestigious championship.”