Ladies Golf News: Four Majors Becomes Five
After nine months of renovations the all-new Evian Resort GC will be ready for the game’s greats. All the tees have been modified, the fairways reworked and all the greens remodelled. They are all now firmer and bigger, allowing for six flag positions and are often protected by large water hazards or deep bunkers.
The signature hole of the new-look course is the 5th. This was a blind par 4 but is now an island par 3 with a 100-yard long water hazard to be negotiated.
The renovations have seen a huge undertaking with 8,000m2 of lawns grown, 75,000 m2 of new turf, 180 trees planted and 90,000m3 of earth and vegetation moved.
The Evian Puzzle is the name given to the new finish to the course – the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th where natural landscapes will provide the perfect viewing for spectators.
Every year part of the tournament’s charm is the charity football match which has seen France legends Zinedine Zidane, Laurent Blanc and Bixente Lizarazu (and Hugh Grant) play alongside the likes of Laura Davies and Mel Reid (pictured) and various caddies.
This year the match will take place on the Friday evening of the tournament week.
The top 40 on the world rankings and all winners on the LPGA Tour this year will be eligible making it an exceptionally strong field THE FIELD
The top 40 on the world rankings and all winners on the LPGA Tour this year will be eligible making it an exceptionally strong field.
Only the top five on the LET Order of Merit will be eligible but the 2013 winners will also be guaranteed a place in the field as will all active Evian winners.
The winners of the British and US Amateurs will also be worthy of a spot, as long as they are still amateurs, so Remedy Oak’s Georgia Hall will get to play in another Major having tied with Lydia Ko at St Andrews as the low amateur.
There will also be six sponsor invitations with the balance of the field filled from the current LPGA Money List.
The final field will be announced on Tuesday September 3.
In total there will be 120 players in the field – in the early days there were 78 players with no halfway cut.
THE FORM HORSES
Despite this being a new course for all there is a familiar look to the defending champion. In July 2012 – the tournament has now been moved back in the calendar – Inbee Park beat Stacy Lewis, Karrie Webb and Shanshan Feng by two shots after finishing at 17 under.
The Korean will again be the star attraction, with the possibility of becoming the first professional to win four Majors in a season, and the pressure will be slightly lessened having come up short at St Andrews in August.
Ai Miyazato captured the 2009 and 2011 versions while Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis are both former winners.
The best four-round total belongs to Juli Inkster who was 21 under par 10 years ago.
No British or Irish player has lifted the trophy in its current guise though Laura Davies won back-to-back titles in the mid 90s when it was an LET event.
The Evian Championship, formerly known as the Evian Masters, will become the game’s fifth Major. It is also the first Major to be held in a non-English speaking country.
The tournament was first played in 1994 as an LET event before becoming part of the LPGA schedule in 2000. Evian-les-Bains, September 12-15