Past Champs’ Performance a Predictor of Success at Pine Needles
Next June 2-5, the U.S. Women’s Open will return to Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C. This will be the fourth time the venue has hosted the championship, breaking a tie with Atlantic City (N.J.) Country Club for most in U.S. Women’s Open history.
Three stellar ball-strikers won the previous three Opens held at Pine Needles. In the 1996 LPGA season, Annika Sorenstam ranked second on tour in greens in regulation and ball striking. At that year’s U.S. Women’s Open, she also excelled off the tee, ranking second in the field for the week in total driving. Having also won in 1995, Sorenstam was the sixth back-to-back U.S. Women’s Open champion in history.
In 2001, Karrie Webb brought a similar statistical pedigree to North Carolina. The Australian ranked in the top 3 that season in greens in regulation, ball striking and total driving. Webb was phenomenal at Pine Needles, topping the field in both greens hit and total driving on her waltz to an eight-shot margin of victory. Six years later, Cristie Kerr brought her balanced attack to the Tar Heel State, and left with her first major championship win. For the season, Kerr ranked in the top-25 on the LPGA Tour in greens in regulation, total driving and ball striking.
History says that players cannot fake it around Pine Needles – especially in a U.S. Women’s Open. Whoever wins the championship in 2022 will have to bring their absolute best, tee-to-green.