“The USGA has long been committed to presenting the U.S. Women’s Open as the premier event in international women’s golf,” said USGA President Thomas J. O’Toole Jr. “With the addition of international qualifying, we are happy to expand the championship field to include more of the very best players from across the globe. We extend many thanks to our friends and partners around the world for their efforts in helping us accomplish this mission.”
Fourteen foreign-born players have won the U.S. Women’s Open a total of 18 times, including two-time and defending champion Inbee Park, of the Republic of Korea. Fay Crocker, of Uruguay, won the 1955 U.S. Women’s Open, becoming the first international winner in championship history. In recent years, international players have dominated the leader board, taking seven of the last nine championships and 13 of the last 19. Players from Korea have won five of the last six championships.
Officials from the China Golf Association, the Japan Golf Association, the Korea Golf Association and the Ladies European Tour will conduct international qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open, which will be held at four sites on Monday, May 19. Asia will have three qualifying sites – CGA Nanshan International Training Centre (Garden Course) in the People’s Republic of China, Higashi Nagoya Country Club in Japan and Woo Jeong Hills Country Club in Korea. Buckinghamshire Golf Club in England will host European qualifying.
Also, effective in 2014, the USGA Handicap Index® limit for the U.S. Women’s Open has been lowered to 2.4 from 4.4. The change comes in recognition of the rapid and tremendous growth of women’s amateur golf, and will serve to strengthen the 69th U.S. Women’s Open field.
The Handicap Index limit was set at 4.4 for the 1972 U.S. Women’s Open, and has remained unchanged. Since then, more than 350 amateur golfers have qualified for the championship, including future winners Paula Creamer, Kathy (Baker) Guadagnino, Juli Inkster, Cristie Kerr, Murle Lindstrom, Hilary Lunke, Inbee Park, Annika Sorenstam and Hollis Stacy. Four amateurs have finished second: Nancy Lopez (1975); Jenny Chuasiriporn (1998, in a playoff); and Brittany Lang and Morgan Pressel (2005). Catherine Lacoste (1967) is the only amateur player to win the Women’s Open.