DEREK LAWRENSON: Six Talking Points For The US Women’s Open

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The women’s biggest event, the US Open, kicks off Thursday at the Olympic Club near San Francisco and, as always, there are plenty of talking points.

Here are six worth discussing…

Michelle Wie West practiced pushing her baby Kenna across the fairways

Michelle Wie West

It seemed like her career had gone west when she took a long hiatus due to a chronic wrist injury. During her absence, she fell in love, married Jonnie West, son of legendary basketball player Jerry West, and had her first child.

Now, two years later, the 31-year-old is back playing part-time and is still the most recognizable name in the women’s game. She lives 15 minutes from the venue and is practicing pushing baby Kenna across the fairways. Not this week, of course.

The Great Koreans

Is there a more difficult Olympic team to get into than the Korean female golfers? Currently, they have four players ranked in the top 20 in the world who all look like no-hopers compared to four more who are above them in the top seven.

Those are the world ranking points on offer and with four places up for grabs, the current order could all change this week. In Asia, the women’s golf competition will undoubtedly be one of the most followed events at the Olympics, adding extra urgency and zest.

There are some great Korean golfers at the tournament, including Ko Jin-young

There are some great Korean golfers at the tournament, including Ko Jin-young

Another chance for the British?

Unfortunately you have to say it’s a long shot. The gilded trio of Georgia Hall, Charley Hull and Mel Reid have all been slow coming out of the gate this year.

It wasn’t that long ago that Great Britain had three players in the top 25 in the world – now Reid is in 34th place, with former Open champion Hall in 47th place. No Brit has tasted success in the US Open since Alison Nicholas won against the odds in 1997.

Charley Hull is one of the Brits going for glory, but it will be hard for any of them to be victorious

Charley Hull is one of the Brits going for glory, but it will be hard for any of them to be victorious

Great credit to the Kordas?

Little bro’ Sebastian won his first ATP title last week, so what prize will one of his decorated siblings, Nelly and Jess, add to the family silver and take the next step in their career to become a great champion? They are certainly among the greatest threats to the formidable Asian contingent.

Nelly Korda (left) and Jessica Korda (right) want to contribute to brother Sebastian's success

Nelly Korda (left) and Jessica Korda (right) want to contribute to brother Sebastian’s success

Lydia Koc

My favorite swing to watch in golf right now could very well be from the personal New Zealander who seems to have had several careers and gone through a long line of coaches but is still only 24. Five years after her last major success, she seems poised to win Grand Slams again.

New Zealand's Lydia Ko looks like she's ready to win Grand Slams again

New Zealand’s Lydia Ko looks like she’s ready to win Grand Slams again

Most Overrated Venue in Tournament Golf?

Especially for the men’s US Open. Sure, the view of the Golden Gate bridge is nice, but the track itself wasn’t even the bronze standard for the men in 2012, as it was too short to handle how far the players hit it and cheated accordingly. Hopefully it will be a better test for the women.

Ian Poulter shows he can play on the edge

Ian Poulter played his way into the 2018 Masters by taking the last available invite and winning the final event for Augusta. Has he now done a similar act of escapology to earn a place at the US Open in two weeks?

He was ranked 66th in the world before the start of the Charles Schwab Challenge in Texas last week, and the final exemption spots will be awarded to those in the top 60 on June 7.

Ian Poulter tries to do an escapology to secure a place at the US Open secure

Ian Poulter tries to do an escapology to secure a place at the US Open secure

Poults, now 45, happened to have his best result in nearly two years in Fort Worth on Sunday, scoring 64-68 for a tie for third to move up to 56th.

There is still a week to go, so he is not a rock solid certainty. But here was another example of his ability to play on the edge and underline why he is sure to receive one of Padraig Harrington’s Ryder Cup wildcards in September.

Alex Cejka continues to impress

I once had the pleasure of interviewing Alex Cejka and bringing his remarkable story to a British audience for the first time. Now that he’s 50, he may never be able to top the saga of how the family fled their native Czech Republic and swam across a river after the Russian invasion in 1968, but he’s doing pretty well.

When he celebrated that historic birthday last December, he had no status to play on the Champions Tour. Now not only has he played in two senior majors, he has won them both and is the first player since Jack Nicklaus in 1990 to achieve that feat in a rookie season.

Alex Cejka has made good progress - he has played in two senior majors and won them both

Alex Cejka has made good progress – he has played in two senior majors and won them both

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