For the U.S. Women’s Open (and so much more), Monday can’t come soon enough
Because this is 2020 — and because so many of you were looking forward to waking up on Sunday, eating flapjacks, and watching the fourth round of a major golf event in December — it didn’t happen. Monday, Monday. It’s all happening on Monday. Sixty-five women will play the fourth round of the 75th U.S. Women’s Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston.
It could get up to 50 degrees, with the wind blowing 10 to 15 mph out of the north. The winner will have earned it. And so will the other 64 women, whatever is waiting for them at the finish line of this long year.
Play will resume at 9 a.m ET on Monday, with 18 players still to tee off. The final threesome is Hinako Shibuno of Japan, the 54-hole leader at 4 under par, alongside Amy Olson, native daughter of North Dakota, at 3 under and Moriya Jutanugarn, from Thailand, at 1 under. Moriya’s sister, Ariya, is at even through 55 holes. She played one hole on Sunday, before the weather came.
What a shame. Had the weather been good, these women — the best women golfers in the world — would have had NBC Sports all to themselves. That doesn’t happen often at all. The Monday telecast will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.
It’s a shame, but that’s all it is, in this year when women roared. In November, a woman was finally elected vice president of the United States. On Saturday night, on “Saturday Night Live,” Kate McKinnon killed it as Dr. Anthony Fauci. And, to complete this unlikely three-pronged tribute to female accomplishment, this was the year that golf’s most memorable moment came from the women’s game. Who can forget the 2020 Open at Royal Troon, in late August? That’s when Sophia Popov of Germany (and formerly of USC) won while ranked No. 304 in the world.
You may recall that Olson was the first-round leader at Troon. What a swing she has. Along those lines, if you want to see a swing for the ages, take a close look at 21-year-old Linn Grant, an amateur from Sweden who plays at ASU. Her father is caddying for her at Champions. OMG. Golfer and swing are both tall, lean and upright. Grant, Kaitlyn Papp and Ingrid Lindblad will be competing for low-amateur on Monday and the invitation to the Masters that comes with it.
No, not really. But it’s a good bet that we will see all three at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April.
Surely like others, I went to bed Saturday night with (courtesy of “SNL”) Dr. Fauci’s low-and-wide ceremonial first pitch at a Nationals game in my head. If a pitch could be O.B., that pitch was O.B. On Sunday morn, I went out for a quick and early nine holes, believing I would come home and watch the golf, the final major Sunday of this odd and often tragic year.
On the first tee, in the day’s first group, was a father and his 11-year-old daughter, Sarah. Sarah had an orange ball, a career-best 44 (for nine), a sturdy swing and a favorite golfer (Anne van Dam). She knew that Lexi Thompson had played in a U.S. Open at age 12. She knew the fourth round of this year’s Open would be on when she was done.
Except it wasn’t, postponed on account of rain. A torrential, soaking rain. This wasn’t a dream deferred. It wasn’t even wait ‘til next year. It was wait ‘til tomorrow. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough, with 2021 hot on her heels.
Michael Bamberger welcomes your comments at Michael_Bamberger@golf.com.