Georgia Hall, Bronte Law and Charley Hull could have the same impact on women’s golf in the UK that Sir Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Sandy Lyle had on the men’s game in the Eighties and Nineties, according to the director of performance at Golf England.
Hall (23), Law (24) and Hull (23) will tee off today in the US Women’s Open at Country Club of Charleston, South Carolina. All are in the world’s top 25, and Nigel Edwards, of Golf England, believes they could have the power to spawn a new generation of English female golfers.
“If you go back to the days of Woosnam, Lyle, Seve [Ballesteros], Faldo, [Bernhard] Langer, that created a real buzz around golf and hopefully these players can go on and win majors and play a major part in the Solheim Cup and hopefully win it later this year, which will gain greater media exposure and have a greater impact,” Edwards said.
“We have to build on the success of Georgia, Charley and Bronte. The hope is that they will become role models and champions for participation because ultimately that is what we want. We want more people playing the game and I think these players can help with that.”
Edwards, however, said the lack of a Ladies European Tour event in England was a grave concern.
“It is well documented that the playing opportunities in the Ladies’ European Tour are not what you would like to see, we need more playing opportunities for our amateurs and our fledgling professionals,” he added.
“In an ideal world we would love to see an English men’s tour event, a women’s tour event, a Challenge Tour event in England and that would create the profile, but the cost of that is well outside our budget and in order to make that happen you would need external sponsors.”
Further English interest in the US Open is provided by Hayley Davis, Charlotte Thomas, Laura Davies and Jodi Ewart Shadoff, while Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow and Ireland’s Leona Maguire are also in the field.
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy is looking to join Tiger Woods as the only players to win the Players Championship and Memorial Tournament in the same season, while a sixth victory in Jack Nicklaus’s event in Ohio would see Woods equal Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA Tour titles.