The 2022 U.S. Women’s Open returns to Pine Needles Resort & Golf Club, located in Southern Pines, N.C., for a record fourth time June 2-5 and features a star-studded field.
Here are a few of the biggest storylines heading into this year’s tournament, including a preview of the field and details on how to watch.
Who’s competing at the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open?
The 156-player field features 78 fully exempt golfers – including 12 past U.S. Women’s Open champions – and 31 amateurs, with players representing 18 U.S. states and 28 countries.
Top headliners for the 77th U.S. Women’s Open include:
- World No. 1 Jin Young Ko, already a winner in 2022 at the HSBC Women’s World Championship (13 LPGA victories overall, two majors);
- Defending champion and world No. 15 Yuka Saso, who’s made eight cuts in 10 starts this season with four finishes inside the top 12;
- World No. 2 Nelly Korda, who will play for the first time since early February after being diagnosed with a blood clot in her left arm and subsequent surgery;
- World No. 16 Jennifer Kupcho, winner of the year’s first major, the Chevron Championship;
- Three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Annika Sorenstam, who captured her second USWO title in 1996 at Pine Needles and earned her spot by winning the 2021 U.S. Senior Women’s Open;
- Top-ranked amateur Rose Zhang, who secured her spot in the field by winning the 2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior and 2021 McCormack Medal. Zhang also recently completed her freshman season at Stanford, where she won five tournaments including the NCAA individual title and helped the Cardinal capture the team title in the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The rest of the field is comprised of qualifiers from 26 sites, which conducted 36-hole qualifying from April 19-May 16 at 23 locations in the U.S. and at three international sites (England, Japan and South Korea). The USGA accepted a record total of 1,874 entries for this year’s championship, breaking the previous record of 1,873, set in 2015 for the USWO at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania. This year marked the eighth consecutive time that more than 1,500 entries were accepted for the tournament, with entries for 2022 accepted from golfers in 46 U.S. states and 57 foreign countries.
What to watch for at this year’s U.S. Women’s Open
News outlets began buzzing late last week when the USGA released its pre-tournament press conference schedule and world No. 2 Nelly Korda was listed for 10:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday at Pine Needles. It marks the 23-year-old’s eighth U.S. Women’s Open appearance and just her fourth start this season after having to take time off to deal with her health. Korda, a seven-time LPGA winner and reigning Olympic gold medalist, has made five cuts in seven USWO starts with her best finish being a T-10 in 2018 at Shoal Creek. She missed the cut in 2020 and 2021.
Korda is joined in the field by her sister, Jessica Korda, who are in the event together for the eighth time. Getting in on the sister act are Thailand’s Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn, who will compete together for the eighth consecutive year and ninth overall. The Jutanugarns and Kordas are two of seven sets of sisters to have competed in the same U.S. Women’s Open.
Also in the news last week was 2014 U.S. Women’s Open champion Michelle Wie West, who told Golfweek that she plans to compete at Pine Needles and then step away from the LPGA tour. Next week will mark her 17th appearance in the U.S. Women’s Open, where she’s made nine cuts in 16 starts with top-10 finishes in 2006 (T-3) and 2018 (T-10). Wie West’s last victory came at the 2018 HSBC Women’s World Championship. In 2019, she married Jonnie West, the son of NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West, and the couple welcomed their first child (daughter Makenna) in June 2020. Wie West said only next year’s USWO at Pebble Beach remains on her competitive golf calendar, which also marks the final year of her 10-year exemption as a past champion.
Annika Sorenstam, the only player in the 2022 field to have played all three previous USWO championships at Pine Needles (1996, 2001 and 2007), will make her 16th appearance in the U.S. Women’s Open, where she’s missed just two cuts (1997, 1999) in 15 starts with three wins (1995, 1996, 2007), two runner-up results (2002, 2004) and two other top 10s (T-4 in 2003; T-9, 2000). At age 51, the Swede will look to become the oldest USWO winner ever. The current record is held by Babe Didrikson Zaharias, who won the 1954 Women’s Open at age 43.
Forty-four-year-old Angela Stanford extends her record of active consecutive U.S. Women’s Open appearances to 23 (2000-22), and she also holds the mark for most USWO starts (23) of any player in the field. Stanford finished runner-up in the 2003, falling in a three-way playoff to Hilary Lunke, and has made 14 cuts in 22 USWO starts with five top 10s overall.
This year’s field features 31 amateurs, including six of the top 50, and all of whom look to break a 55-year-old record dating back to 1967, when Catherine Lacoste, daughter of French tennis player Rene Lacoste and 1927 British Ladies Amateur champion Simone Thion de la Chaume, became the only amateur to win the U.S. Women’s Open. Seven other amateurs – most recently Hye-Jin Choi in 2017 – have finished as runner(s)-up.
Along with No. 1-ranked Rose Zhang, look for 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Jensen Castle, the 21-year-old from West Columbia, S.C., who’s making her second USWO start (missed cut in 2021) and also is one of four players in the field set to compete in the 2022 Curtis Cup matches that begin June 10. Making her USWO debut is 19-year-old Anna Davis, from Spring Valley, Calif., who became the youngest Augusta National Women’s Amateur champion in April. The left-hander has since played in her first two LPGA events, making the cut in both.
2022 U.S. Women’s Open marks record purse in women’s golf
This year’s U.S. Women’s Open features a $10 million purse, up $4.5 million from 2021, with the winner taking home $1.8 million. The champion also will receive the Mickey Wright Medal, custody of the Harton S. Semple Trophy for the ensuing year and an exemption into the next 10 U.S. Women’s Open Championships.
Additionally, the winner will receive a replica of the Semple Trophy and five-year exemptions into the Chevron Championship (formerly ANA Inspiration), AIG Women’s Open, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and Amundi Evian Championship.
Of note, the USGA has committed to raise the women’s purse to $11 million and then $12 million by 2026. However, it still lags behind the men’s U.S. Open, which featured a $12.5 million purse in 2021 at Torrey Pines, with Jon Rahm earning $2.25 million for his win.
What is the schedule and format for the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open?
The 77th U.S. Women’s Open opened with three practice rounds beginning Monday, May 30, through Wednesday, June 1. Eighteen holes of stroke play are scheduled for each day beginning Thursday, June 2, through Sunday, June 5.
The starting field of 156 golfers will be cut after 36 holes (Friday) to the low 60 scorers and ties. In the event of a tie after 72 holes, a two-hole aggregate playoff will take place following the completion of the fourth round. If the playoff results in a tie, play will immediately continue hole by hole until a champion is determined.
How to watch the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open:
Coverage of the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open will be presented by NBC Sports across NBC, Golf Channel and Peacock beginning Thursday, June 2, through Sunday, June 5, from Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C. Golf Channel will air “Live from the U.S. Women’s Open” featuring live pre- and post-event coverage daily beginning Wednesday, June 1, through Sunday, June 5.
|Thursday, June 2||1-3 p.m.||Peacock||First Round|
|Thursday, June 2||3-8 p.m.||USA||First Round|
|Friday, June 3||1-3 p.m.||Peacock||Second Round|
|Friday, June 3||3-8 p.m.||USA||Second Round|
|Saturday, June 4||12-1 p.m.||Peacock||Third Round|
|Saturday, June 4||1-3 p.m.||USA||Third Round|
|Saturday, June 4||3-6 p.m.||NBC||Third Round|
|Sunday, June 5||1-3 p.m.||USA||Final Round|
|Sunday, June 5||3-7 p.m.||NBC||Final Round|
Where is the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open?
Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, located in Southern Pines, N.C., will host the U.S. Women’s Open for a record fourth time. The first U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles was held in 1996, won by Annika Sorenstam, followed by Karrie Webb in 2001. Cristie Kerr claimed the 2007 title at Pine Needles, which has has hosted six previous USGA championships, the second-highest total in North Carolina after Pinehurst Resort’s famed Course No. 2.
Stretching 6,638 yards, Pine Needles will play at a par-71 (35-36), with exact yardage for each round varying due to course setup and conditions. The course was designed by Donald Ross and opened in 1928, with golf course architect John Fought overseeing renovations in 2004 that included the restoration of greens and bunkers to their original forms with the aid of vintage aerial photos. In 2017, course architect Kyle Franz managed a project that included green rebuilding and bunker restoration aimed at maximizing hole locations.
Past USGA Championships at Pine Needles Lodge & G.C.:
- 1989 U.S. Girls’ Junior: Brandie Burton def. Camie Hoshino, 1 up
- 1991 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur: Phyllis Preuss (221 total) by one stroke over Belle Robertson and Anne Sander (222 total).
- 1996 U.S. Women’s Open: Annika Sorenstam (8-under 272) won by six strokes over Kris Tschetter (278 total).
- 2001 U.S. Women’s Open: Karrie Webb (7-under 273) won by eight strokes over Se Ri Pak (1-over 281).
- 2007 U.S. Women’s Open: Cristie Kerr (5-under 279) won by two strokes over Lorena Ochoa and Angela Park (3-under 281).
- 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open: Helen Alfredsson (1-over 285) won by two strokes over Juli Inkster and Trish Johnson (3-over 287).
Last year at the 76th U.S. Women’s Open:
The Philippines’ Yuka Saso drained a 12-foot birdie putt on the first hole of sudden death to defeat Japan’s Nasa Hataoka and win the 76th U.S. Women’s Open at The Olympic Club’s Lake Course, in San Francisco, Calif. Saso joined two-time champion Inbee Park as the youngest winner – both were 19 years, 11 months and 17 days old at the time – in event history and became the first Filipino to capture the Harton S. Semple Trophy.
Saso entered the final round one stroke behind 54-hole leader Lexi Thompson, and she rallied to the finish with birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 to post a 2-over 73, finishing at 4-under 280 and forcing a playoff with Hataoka, who finished with a 3-under 68 to grab the clubhouse lead. Thompson, who held a five-stroke lead with 10 holes remaining in regulation, played her final stretch in 5-over par for a final-round 75 and missed the playoff by a shot.
The playoff went to sudden death after Saso and Hataoka each made back-to-back pars in the two-hole aggregate playoff. This year, Saso will attempt to become the eighth player to successfully defend her title. Since 1991, only Annika Sorenstam (1995, 1996) and Karrie Webb (2000, 2001) have accomplished the feat, and both came at Pine Needles. Only four other players have finished top 10 in the championship following their victory (2019 winner Jeongeun Lee6 was sixth in 2020; 2002 champ Juli Inkster finished eighth in 2003; 1992 winner Patty Sheehan was sixth in 1993; and 1991 winner Meg Mallon was fourth in 1992).