- POSTED: 09 Jul 2014 09:36
In recent years, South Koreans have hogged the headlines in women's golf - but the tide is finally turning as the Americans are expected to put up a strong showing at this year's Women's British Open.
SOUTHPORT, United Kingdom: In recent years, South Koreans have hogged the headlines in women's golf - but the tide is finally turning.
Three Americans and Norway's Suzann Petersen have won the last four majors and Stacy Lewis defends the Women's British Open at Royal Birkdale this week as the World No.1.
The 29-year-old Texan is in a fine streak of form. She has won three times in the past couple of months and was runner-up to Michelle Wie at the US Women's Open at Pinehurst three weeks ago.
"You look at the first half of this year and see how many Americans have won and there's definitely been a switch," said Lewis.
"I think from the Solheim Cup (defeat) we have all been motivated and we're finally answering the question 'where are the Americans?'
"It's great to see and I think it's a great thing for the LPGA Tour."
Wie agreed. "We got our butts kicked at the Solheim but now we have some great momentum."
The winner at St Andrews last year, when she stopped Korean Park Inbee from winning her fourth major in a row, Lewis reckons she faces a very different test this time round.
"It is strange defending on a completely different course," she said.
"Out here you can't just rip it with the driver. You can get away with a lot more at St Andrews."
For Wie, it is a return to the venue of her first British Open - she finished third at Birkdale as a 15-year-old in 2005.
The intervening years have produced highs and lows, the golfing peak coming with her first major victory at Pinehurst.
"I'm very proud of myself to have done it but just because I have won one major doesn't guarantee anything," said the 24-year-old who was runner-up to fellow-American Lexi Thompson at the year's first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
"But I love links golf and love this course."
Heading the home British challenge is Catriona Matthew. The Scot won the title at nearby Royal Lytham and St Annes five years ago and is currently ranked No.15 in the world.
A mother of two - husband Graeme stays at home in North Berwick while she travels the world - the 44-year-old is now in her 21st year on Tour.
"It is tough combining family and golf," she conceded. "But Graeme is so supportive and I'm enjoying it as much as ever."