LG writers Harriet Shephard and Mark Townsend are joined by NCG counterparts Alex Perry and Dan Murphy to pose each other questions on the Ricoh Women’s British Open…
Mark: If you could partner one player in this year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open field for 18 holes, who would you choose?
Dan: I think Mel Reid has got a lot of strong and solid opinions on what needs to change to get more women and girls playing golf, plus what it would take to transform the future of the currently moribund LET. I’d like to have the chance to hear her explaining what her solutions are in depth. From this initial meeting, we’d go on to change the golfing world. Probably. Failing that, I would happily stand back and admire Michelle Wie’s peerless ball-striking for four hours.
Alex: Cheyenne Woods, please, in Florida. And don’t forget to invite your uncle.
Harriet: Tiffany Joh has a great sense of humour so at least I would be laughing when my golf goes horribly wrong. And as a fellow Game Of Thrones fanatic we would also have lots of fan theories to discuss.
Harriet: In this era of five women’s majors, 13 of the 28 have been won by Asian players, including the last three editions of the Ricoh Women’s British Open. Is it time to open up the Solheim Cup to Asian players?
Mark: Not at all, the competition is fine as it is though they do need to dream up some sort of team offering that includes the best players in the world. A female equivalent of the Presidents Cup would be good.
Dan: I love the idea of an Asian team taking on the best of USA and Europe in every non-Solheim Cup year. That would be fun. Right now, neither of the Solheim Cup teams could live with their Asian counterparts independently.
Alex: I wouldn’t change the Solheim Cup but they could create another event to be played in non-Solheim years. Such is the strength of women’s golf in Asia, I would probably make it Asia vs. the Rest of the World. But they would probably win it every year and dominate golf in both individual and team events.
Alex: The Ricoh Women’s British Open hasn’t been won by a British woman since Catriona Matthew in 2009. Can you see that drought ending at Lytham?
Harriet: I’d love to see a British woman win. Jodi Ewart Shadoff was just two shots off the lead last year and she will be returning with Georgia Hall, Bronte Law and Mel Reid. Georgia has already had a top 10 finish this year and I don’t see why she can’t do it at Lytham.
Mark: Unless Charley Hull can turn it on then no although we were probably equally as despondent before Catriona Matthew’s win here in 2011. She’s ranked around the 16th favourite with the bookies at 45-1 but she does have some good links form and she looked incredible for large chunks at Birkdale a few years ago. I’d love to see a European have a run at it.
Dan: Sadly not. Though it’s not impossible. Charley Hull is a breath of fresh air but so far she hasn’t quite been good enough to contend regularly in majors. I really hope that changes because she has an infectious personality and could genuinely inspire others to get into golf, without even realising she was doing it.
Dan: Which of Lytham, Kingsbarns and Sunningdale is a better venue for the Ricoh Women’s British Open?
Alex: The RWBO and its men’s equivalent should be played on a links course. But having said that, I’m going to go with Sunningdale – purely on the basis that it is not otherwise showcased on tour and it thoroughly deserves to be. Apropos, do the pros still stop for a sausage sandwich at the halfway hut?
Harriet: Kingsbarns has the views and lets us show off our unique links courses to the rest of the world. The downside is that it will almost certainly rain.
Mark: In my head Kingsbarns is the perfect home for an RWBO, it’s just a pity they didn’t get some brighter weather for its debut there last year. Also in my head it should always be played on a links so, as lovely as it is, that counts out Sunningdale. Supposedly the players like Lytham as it pushes the better ball-strikers to the top. I spoke to one player last week and she had played with someone whose lowest iron was an 8. That probably won’t work at Lytham this week.