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2021 AIG Women’s Open primer: Everything you need to know for the year’s last major

womens open flag blows

After a summer of nonstop action, the final major of the calendar year has arrived — the 2021 AIG Women’s Open. It’s sure to be an exciting way to close out a year of high-level golf. Here’s everything you need to know about the championship.

Players to watch

Nelly Korda

This summer will forever be known as the summer of Nelly Korda. After a disappointing missed cut at the U.S. Women’s Open, the 23-year-old revamped her putting stroke (as well as her mindset) and has been a dominant force ever since. She won her first major, ascended to world No. 1 and then added a gold medal to boot. Now, she’ll look to cap it off with a strong finish across the pond.

Korda has two top-15 finishes in the Women’s Open in her young career and, considering her form this summer, another finish near the top of the leaderboard is all but expected. Can she keep up her stellar form and put a bow on the summer of Nelly?

Sophia Popov

Oh, what a difference a year can make. Sophia Popov came to the Women’s Open last year as a journeywoman flying under the radar. She left as a major champion.

Popov is no longer an unknown and will have a target on her back this week as the defending champ. Her 2021 campaign has been solid, with three top 10s, including a runner-up at the LPGA Match Play at Shadow Creek, but she hasn’t been able to put it together in majors thus far, her best finish being a pair of T60s.

However, the young German has proven to be a formidable links player, and her patented controlled fade will serve her well in the firm and fast conditions. A repeat of last summer’s performance should surprise no one.

Lydia Ko

This season has seen quite a few comeback stories, and Lydia Ko’s is right on top of the list. Just as Jordan Spieth rediscovered his form this year, Ko has followed a similar trajectory. The 24-year-old got back in the winner’s circle at the Lotte Championship for her first win since 2018, and she’s missed just one cut this season.

The secret to her resurgence? Linking up with GOLF Top 100 Teacher Sean Foley. Since teaming up with Foley last summer, Ko has looked like a whole different player. All that’s left is getting back on top in a major. She’s been close in 2021, coming in second at the ANA Championship and finishing T6 at the Evian, but as a player of her caliber, trophies should soon follow.

The course

The Women’s Open heads to famed Carnoustie Golf Links. A mainstay in the Open Championship rota, the links first hosted the ladies at the 2011 Women’s Open; 10 years later, it’s back on the women’s docket.

Carnoustie has long been known as one of the most difficult courses in the Open Championship rota, and that theme should hold true this week for the women. With upwards of 112 bunkers on the course, trouble lurks on every hole — and the closing stretch is one of the most demanding in all of golf.

Jean van de Velde famously made a mess of the finishing hole in 1999 — including a wade into The Barry Burn — and Nos. 16 and 17 have some nastiness of their own. No lead is safe at Carnoustie, and the brutal finishing stretch should provide for high drama come Sunday.

How to watch

Coverage of the Women’s British Open will be available throughout the week on Golf Channel and NBC. You can find the full TV schedule below. (All times ET)

Thursday, Aug. 19: 6 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Golf Channel)

Friday, Aug. 20: 6 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Golf Channel)

Saturday, Aug. 21: 6 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Golf Channel)

Sunday, Aug. 22: 6 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Golf Channel), 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. (NBC)

How to bet on the AIG Women’s Open

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