Charlotte Flair talks legacy, sacrifice, and evolution ahead of WrestleMania 39


WWE Superstar Charlotte Flair is the queen of pro wrestling. The 14-time Women’s Champion has not only been a pioneer in carving out a path for women, but she’s elevated the sport as a whole with a level of athleticism, skill, and personality that very few have been able to match.

The Queen (who also happens to be the daughter of 16-time World Champion Ric Flair) opens up about her family legacy, what WWE means to her, how she’s evolved, and the sacrifices she’s made to rise and become one of the leading faces of pro wrestling. Flair, who seeks to defend her SmackDown Women’s title, also gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how she’s preparing for WrestleMania 39 and the message she has for Rhea Ripley ahead of this weekend’s match.

WWE’s WrestleMania 39 streams live on Peacock this Saturday, April 1 and Sunday, April 2 at 8:00 PM ET (5:00 PM PT). Live coverage begins at 6:00 PM ET (3:00 PM PT) with a special kickoff you won’t want to miss. See below for additional information on how to watch the WWE’s biggest event of the year.

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

NBC Sports: This is going to be your seventh WrestleMania, what does this WrestleMania mean to you?

Charlotte Flair: I want to say it gets easier with experience, but it doesn’t. I think pressure and expectation–all of it kind of adds up. You’re having to rise to the occasion that many times and on the grandest stage. I’ve always either been a contender, or a champion and here I am going into my seventh with the performances and the rivalries I’ve already had.

With experience, I know what it’s like to be out there. But with my own personal pressure, my own goals, and my own expectations for myself and my performance–I feel like the weight of the world is on my back right now. I love proving people wrong so I love the pressure.

What are some of those expectations that you have for yourself going into this the seventh time around?

Flair:  Well, for instance, I have an A&E biography coming out next week and it’s the for Legends series–which I didn’t know it was for at the time. So here I am, an active performer with the title, “legend.”

That means I’m at the top of my game. I’m there. I’ve made it. But personally, I feel like I still have so much further to go. I still want to grow, learn, and get better. I still want to have that “greatest performance of all time” moment. All of those things weigh on me on a professional level, but it’s good things. It’s not bad. It’s a good thing to have.

Who is Charlotte Flair now? How has your character evolved?

Flair: The People’s Queen. For so long, I told everyone else to bow down. Whereas now I’m just embracing the journey. I wouldn’t say that Charlotte is good. I wouldn’t say she’s bad. I think she just knows that she’s given her all for so many years and this is what she loves. She just wants the audience to know that, whether she’s acting up–whether she’s being bad or whether she being good–she’s here to be the greatest of all time. She’s going to give you that consistency, that passion, that love for the business every time she goes out there. And I think that’s very likeable.

WWE SummerSlam 2018 Charlotte Flair

Being a superstar is in your blood. You mentioned your love for this business. Can you talk about what WrestleMania and WWE mean to you? I know it’s your family legacy and business but most importantly it was your brother’s dream. Tell me about that and how that fuels you every day?

Flair: Specifically, what WrestleMania means to me… obviously, to the world, it’s a pop culture extravaganza. It’s our Super Bowl. The biggest show of the year, the biggest rivalries, and the biggest stars. But for me, when my brother Reid died in 2013, it was the day before WrestleMania, and he was coming home for the first time to see me wrestle. I wasn’t on WrestleMania [at the time], I was still in developmental, but I was at Axxess where we put on exhibition matches.

Every WrestleMania week, all those emotions are hitting me where I’m walking into WrestleMania and I’m here because of him. 100% it was for him in the beginning and now I will always carry him with me. But now it’s still like how did I get this far? How do I get this opportunity? I guess I feel closest to him around this time because WrestleMania is such a big deal to the superstars. Everyone dreams of a WrestleMania and I’m living his dream so when I’m out there WrestleMania I’m like, we did it.

Thank you for sharing that and my condolences to you and your family for your loss. Switching gears – Where does your confidence come from? Earlier on in your career you mentioned that you watched Nikki Bella and noticed that she walked and talked like a champion. You had moments where you second guessed yourself, but now it’s the complete opposite. What changed for you and how did you get from that to who you are now? 

Flair: Fake it till you make it right? There aren’t moments now that I’m faking it because now I know how good I am and I’m proud of it because I know what it’s taken to get there. I know the dedication that no one sees. I know the hours that I’ve spent that no one knows about. I think that’s what I hold so dear to me. That’s why I have all that confidence–it’s knowing I put in the groundwork. I also know that there will never be another talent like me because of how consistent I have been these last 10 years.

I don’t even know how I got here but I’m proud of that. I went through this weird phase where I felt like I had to apologize for having opportunities. Now I’m like, wait, it took me like three years after that to be like, “Why am I apologizing for having opportunities?” Why do we as women feel like we have to say sorry? We don’t need to say sorry. Don’t dim your light to make other people feel comfortable.

Why did you feel like you had to say sorry for those opportunities that came your way?

Flair: I think that I took the criticism to heart and being an athlete when you’re MVP or team captain–the camaraderie that comes along with sports, that’s what I was raised in. With gymnastics, basketball, I played volleyball in college, diving, softball, track–in all those sports there’s no one telling you that you’re only good at something because of your last name… I can’t lose my last name. I am, who I am.

I felt like so many people felt that doors open for me because of my lineage. I always felt like I had this chip that I had to apologize for being Rick’s daughter. I didn’t think it was true but it was my own pressure that I was putting on myself. Even today, when you hear your opponents say, “Well, why is she in the title picture so many times?” like it’s a choice. Why aren’t you asking yourself why you aren’t in the title picture that many times? Ask yourself that.

I think it takes age, experience, and personal growth. It’s taken a long time to feel that way. Basically my whole career.

You talked about how you know how much time and effort you’ve put in. You are the queen of WWE, a 14-time Women’s Champion, and you have been one of the pioneer’s in making women’s wrestling what it is now – what kind of work do you have to put in behind the scenes to get to this level individually? What kind of work do you have to put in to elevate this sport for Women as a whole?

Flair: So here’s an example. When you are the face of the division, you’re not just wrestling, you’re doing media, you’re doing signings, you’re doing all of the above extras, plus being the champ and making extra shows. That also means working on every single live event. Because I’ve been [the face of the division] for so many years, I’ve done that for so many years.

Plus, when we go overseas, I don’t stay out all night. I’m eating my grilled chicken and vegetables. It’s making those sacrifices at the right time. Now, do I have fun? Yes. But I made the sacrifices early on to get to where I am today and I can’t thank myself enough for being so disciplined early on, because I don’t think I’d be here if it wasn’t for being so hungry and knowing what it takes.

WWE SummerSlam 2018WWE SummerSlam 2018 Charlotte Flair

What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?

Flair: Male or female, it doesn’t matter, she was one of the greatest of all times, I want to be in the conversation, gender aside. This applies to men too, but I want women in any industry to know that you can make it to the top and stay at the top and be at the top in any boys club and it’s so important.

I love that. Thank you. So switching gears – How do you prepare for WrestleMania? You talked about chicken and veggies, what’s your diet like?

Flair: Ugh, it’s miserable right now. No, actually, for like this past week, it’s been super high carb, so I can lean out [the week before WrestleMania]. So it’s been easy. But this week, breakfast is chicken, asparagus, two tortillas.

Chicken for breakfast?

Flair: Chicken for breakfast. My favorite meal though for breakfast is oatmeal mixed with chocolate protein or an omelet. The next [meal] is salmon and a potato. The next one after that is steak and rice and then chicken, lettuce, cucumber for the last [meal] with a protein shake mixed in there.

What I’ve learned over the years, is that it’s all about moderation. I try to follow this [diet] but it’s not necessarily perfect all the time. I might get it right two days or like I’ll add in a protein bar or salad or smoothie. It’s just about having some kind of layout or format that works. The week before WrestleMania, I’ll probably be more like to the tee.

How do you prepare physically for WrestleMania?

Flair: An hour in the gym daily. That’s it. If I can’t get it done in an hour and 15 minutes, go home. Listen to your body. I isolate muscle groups so maybe one day is glutes, the next day is shoulders and triceps, or back and biceps. I just alternate every day.

When do you practice all of the stunts and flips?

Flair: Oh no, that just comes with the territory now. What you see is what you get!

On the actual day of WrestleMania, what does your schedule look like? Walk me through the full day.

Flair: I don’t know yet but sometimes I could have a [media interview] in the morning and then call time. We’re going to be in L.A. so it’s probably 10:30 or 11:00 due to West Coast time. After that, makeup, walkthroughs, camera angles, entrance practice just to get the timing because the ramps are usually longer, and then getting glammed up because it’s usually the most glamorous–the biggest robes, the biggest and brightest gear you have all year. So making sure all of those are tweaked. Sometimes there might be some signings in between.

WWE has such a loyal fan base, what has your experience with the fans been like and what has their support meant to you?

Flair: My personal fans are as loyal as they come. They’ve been with me through it all. What’s so great about the WWE Universe is they’re going to let you know if they like you or if they don’t like you. They’re not going to be quiet.

What is it like being on the road 24/7?

Flair: I don’t know anything else now so when I’m home for more than two days, I’m like, okay, what’s next? But I love being home. It’s just finding a schedule that works for you. Getting a routine, knowing how it goes–hotels, rental cars, meals, all of it. I’m so used to it now.

Looking ahead to your WrestleMania match up – What did you think of that disrespect from Rhea Ripley, telling you, a 14-time Champion, that you’re going to learn to call her champion and learn to fear her and then taking a cheap shot? What was going through your head?

Flair: Exactly. Talk is cheap. My legacy is cemented. What I’ve done is done. What I mean to this industry… she has a long way to go to be be thinking that. I will have respect [for her] but the last thing I will do will be calling her champion.

You guys went back and forth a few nights ago but do you have any other words for her ahead of the match?

Flair: Good luck and you better bring your all.

Who else are you interested in facing in your career and why?

Flair: Well, first Bianca Belair and then Liv Morgan. I’ve never had a rivalry with Bianca and we always said with the athleticism and very similar backgrounds, we can make magic. I’ve seen Liv from her start till now and seeing how much she’s grown, I just would love that opportunity with her.

Are there any specific types of matches that haven’t done yet that you would want to do?

Flair: Yes. Mixed tag!

Who would be your partner?

Flair: My husband [Andrade El Idolo].

Speaking of your husband, you recently got married this summer. Congratulations! What has married life been like for you and how does having that relationship add to your life personally and professionally?

Flair: When you’re doing well in your personal life, it makes everything better. So just having that one person, your person, at home after a good day or bad day just makes it easier.

WrestleMania is the biggest event of the year but WWE never slows down. What’s next after for you after this?

Flair: I don’t know. I guess we’ll have to see. The sky is the limit and I’m not slowing down. I’ve got to get to 16 and beat my dad’s record.

Yes! Name it and claim it! Is there anything else you want the world to know about Charlotte Flair that they don’t already know?

Flair: I embody pro wrestling with class, with dedication, with blood, sweat, and tears. I hope when people think of pro wrestling, they think of Charlotte Flair.

How to watch WrestleMania 39:

*All times are listed as ET

  • Where: SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California
  • Live Stream: Exclusively on Peacock

Friday, March, 31:

  • WWE Hall of Fame: 10:00 PM ET

Saturday, April 1:

  • NXT Stand & Deliver: Kick off at 12 PM ET; Main Event at 1 PM  ET
  • WrestleMania Saturday: Kick off at 6 PM ET; Main Event at 8 PM ET

Sunday, April 2:

  • WrestleMania Sunday: Kick off at 6 PM ET; Main Event at 8 PM ET

How do I watch WrestleMania 39 on Peacock?

Sign up here to watch both packed nights of WrestleMania 39 on Peacock, April 1–2 8pm ET. With Peacock Premium, you’ll also be able to watch every other WWE Premium Live Event, including Crown Jewel, Survivor Series, SummerSlam, and Royal Rumble, plus every WCW and ECW Premium Live Event in history.

Peacock is available across a variety of streaming devices. Check the compatibility of your device here.

Li Li Leung talks USA Gymnastics’ cultural transformation, challenges still to come and embracing her AAPI heritage

Head of USA Gymnastics Li Li Leung.
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Li Li Leung joined USA Gymnastics as president and CEO in March 2019, when the organization was reeling from the fallout of Larry Nassar’s widespread sexual abuse and the subsequent revelations of larger cultural issues within the sport. Since then, Leung has seen USAG through an ongoing transformation, one that hinges on the work of the survivors and staff around her, whom she is quick to credit. That evolution, as she calls it, has included instituting new norms and standards at all levels of the sport, particularly in matters related to athlete safety.

Among the notable USAG initiatives that Leung has brought to fruition is the Athlete Bill of Rights, established in December 2020 as a tool “to unite the full gymnastics community around a shared vision of behavioral expectations.” At the same time, USAG instituted a protest policy for national team members aimed at supporting athletes who choose to use their voice on public platforms. Both initiatives were among the first of their kind in sport.

Prior to joining USAG, Leung served as a vice president at the National Basketball Association (NBA), where she was responsible for building and managing key partner relationships around the world. She continues to use that experience in her roles as vice chair of the National Governing Bodies Council of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and a member of the International Gymnastics Federation’s Executive Committee.

Leung, who began competing in gymnastics at age 7, was a member of the U.S. junior national training team and represented the U.S. at the 1988 Junior Pan American Games. She was a four-year member of the four-time Big 10 champion University of Michigan gymnastics team and was an NCAA Championships participant.

In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, On Her Turf sat down with Leung to talk about her journey with USAG, the challenges still to come and how being a member of the AAPI community has shaped the person she is today.

ALSO FROM ON HER TURF: Sloane Stephens gets candid about turning 30, favorite self-care practices and freezing her eggs ahead of 12th French Open

This Q+A has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

On Her Turf: Let’s start by talking about your journey since joining USA Gymnastics in 2019. What have the last four years been like for you?

Li Li Leung: This was just an incredible opportunity to give back to the sport that has given so much to me. And I really mean that because I started in the sport when I was 7 years old and did it for 15 years. It’s taught me all of these different skills that I apply to my daily life, both professional and personal. It feels a little bit like I’ve come full circle, and honestly, never in a million years did I think I would find myself in this role. … I joined at a time when it was a tumultuous time for the organization. It’s been just a little a little over four years now, and it has been an incredible journey — and believe it or not, I have enjoyed it. While it hasn’t been easy, I actually have enjoyed it, because I’ve been able to make it not just me. One thing that’s important to note is that — I had even said on my first interview with the board — it will take a village to accomplish what we need to accomplish. This is not a one-person job. And I was lucky enough to be able to bring on a leadership team that has been incredible, and also retain the staff that we have retained, as well as hire other new staff members. And it’s because of them and some really key volunteers that we’ve been able to accomplish what we’ve been able to do.

OHT: Can you talk a little more about this cultural transformation that the organization has experienced and your approach to tackling this all-encompassing change?

Leung: When I was interviewing for the position, I actually met every single board member. It was really critical to both sides that they felt that I matched the role and their needs and also I had to be confident in the board believing in the ultimate mission of the organization and what we wanted to achieve. So that the culture really does stem from the well – from the top down and everything in between as well. And when I was looking for leadership team, … one of the characteristics I was really looking for was they couldn’t have an ego. The job couldn’t be about themselves or about what they would personally get out of the role. It had to be about them believing in the bigger picture and believing in what we collectively wanted to achieve. I knew that we would only be able to accomplish what we need to accomplish if people were willing to roll up their sleeves and just do whatever needed to be done, so that was one of the key things in terms of having no ego.

Since 2018, we’ve turned over more than 70 percent of our staff. We’ve been able to retain the really key members of our staff, who have been critical to our success, but also have been able to really bring in new thinking, new blood, new perspectives. Because the other thing I was looking for when I was hiring for the leadership team was diversity in perspectives. That was critical because I did not want to be surrounded by “yes people.” I wanted to be surrounded by people who would be willing to have really robust conversations and engage in difficult conversations, because ultimately, you end up in a better place because of that.

In 2020, we reset our mission to be about building a community and culture of health, safety and excellence, with athletes who thrive in sport and in life. So we were no longer about developing technically superior gymnasts who perform well in gym. We reset our focus to be about helping set our athletes up for success with the skill sets that you learn in gymnastics, and when we come to the office each day, that’s what we’re thinking about. …

The other piece is we also know from a community standpoint that our national team coaches are the most visible representation (of USAG), and a lot of coaches model them. So we’ve been working really hard in terms of working on educating our national team coaches. We work with Positive Coaching Alliance to do educational training with them as well. And we also have introduced training specifically for young coaches coming in, because we know when they come in and they’re new, that they’re eager to learn, and that’s when you can start training and moving them in a way. So our thinking is with this top-down and bottom-up strategy, eventually the middle will meet.

OHT: You noted how the coaches can be some of the most visible representatives of USAG. Regarding the addition of 2008 Olympic silver medalists Chellsie Memmel (USAG technical lead) and Alicia Sacramone Quinn (USAG strategic lead), how have those women impacted the program?

Leung: The addition of Chellsie and Alicia has been fantastic. They have been phenomenal to work with, and the fact that they have firsthand experience of having gone through it themselves – that also gives them a very good idea of what they would change and what they wouldn’t change, at the same time. It has been a phenomenal addition to be able to have this perspective of firsthand, high-level, high-performing athletes to be able to lead our high-performance team. And the athletes are saying it as well. They’re saying, “We trust them; we feel confident in their decisions; we can relate to them” — all of those things that historically haven’t really happened before.

Then in terms of the athletes who are going to college and coming back to compete with USA Gymnastics – there are so many aspects that I think are great about this. One: It’s showing a lengthened career in a sport that historically has not been very long because it’s so demanding on the body. So that means that our athletes are physically healthier, as well, that they can train and compete at a high level for a longer period of time. It also means that they’re enjoying it more because they’re staying in the sport. From an emotional standpoint, they’re finding a lot more joy in the sport, and they’re talking about it, too. And we love the fact that they’re talking about it. We want them to talk about it, and we want them to have voices and feel open and free about sharing what they’re thinking about. I have to say I’ve been really enjoying seeing almost like — I’m not sure if I can go as far as a new era in the sport maybe — but just this evolution of the sport and the athletes changing in front of my eyes.

OHT: What do you consider now to still be the biggest challenge or obstacle for USAG?

Leung: There are a couple of big initiatives on the list. One is we want to build a training and wellness center where all of our disciplines will train under one roof. This is a long-term project, obviously, but my vision around it is that it will be the heart and hub of gymnastics in America. And while this is where national team athletes will ultimately train to some extent, it is going to be a welcoming place for athletes of all different disciplines and all different levels. We want it to be a place where young athletes can come through and see their role models training. We want this to be a place of education for our community and judges. We want to be able to run clinics there for all different levels. We just want this to be a gathering place of gymnastics and to be able to celebrate the sport there at the same time.

We’re also going to reset our foundation. There’s been the National Gymnastics Foundation, but we are going to reset it and basically be much more proactive on fundraising and development to grow the sport and also to raise more money for athletes in their training.

OHT: Turning to AAPI Heritage Month and being named to the 2023 Gold House A100 List (the A100 is named each May honoring 100 Asian Pacific leaders who made the greatest impact on culture and society over the past year). What did that honor mean to you?

Leung: It was such an incredible honor to be recognized by them, and my fellow honorees — when I read the list, I thought to myself, “I don’t belong.” There are some incredible names on that list. But again, I go back to what I said earlier: I owe this honor to a lot of the other people who work [at USAG]. I think the really important thing to recognize is that this was not done by just me. It was done by a lot of other people who are on staff and who aren’t getting the accolades or the recognition. But it was an incredible experience to be, and I’m very, very touched and honored to be on that list.

OHT: How do you identify within the Asian American Pacific Islander community? Did you embrace your heritage growing up and how has that shaped who you are today?

Leung: So I’ll tell you a story that I’ve mentioned to other people recently. I grew up in a town called Ridgewood in Bergen County, New Jersey, and most of my friends had blond hair and blue eyes. When I was growing up, I wanted the name “Nancy Smith,” and I wanted blue eyes. I wanted to fit in. As a kid, you always want to fit in. Then when you get older and wizen up a little bit, you realize that it’s okay and it’s good to be different, that you can use that to your advantage. And so upon growing up, I realized that it’s pretty special to be Asian American and there are benefits to being Asian American, and you should embrace the fact that you are different. In fact, I recently lectured to a women-in-sports-business class, and one of the questions they asked me was about impostor syndrome. I said the same thing that I’m saying to you now, which is absolutely embrace who you are. Absolutely embrace your differences, because those ultimately are embedded advantages to who you are and make you stand out from the rest of the crowd. So that’s my philosophy now.

OHT: Do you or your family have any traditions that are especially important to you?

Leung: I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a tradition, but in the Chinese culture, food is really important. Food is what brings people together. It’s a sign of respect, and that is the ultimate unifying language in a way. So when we do get together as a family, it’s really important for us to get together around a meal, because that’s when we share our stories. That’s when we connect with one another.

OHT: You might have just answered my next question, but I want to ask: What brings you joy about your heritage and culture?

Leung: It’s funny, I was actually at a conference last week and you were supposed to find someone you didn’t know in the conference and share a secret talent that you have. I shared that I can eat a lot more than most people think. Food is a really important part of our culture and in my upbringing and family.

OHT: Lastly, I wanted to ask, as we’ve seen an increase in hate-filled actions toward the AAPI community, what does supporting the AAPI community look like for you?

Leung: Well, I think kind of going back to my other answer, it’s just about embracing who you are and embracing your differences. I think part of it is being unafraid of it at the same time, which I know is really difficult. But if you’re going to truly embrace it, and then you can’t be afraid about embracing it at the same time.

MORE FROM ON HER TURF: Laureus award winner and three-time Olympic medalist Eileen Gu on Stanford, elevating women and changing the game

2023 Mizuho Americas Open: How to watch, who’s playing in inaugural LPGA event at Liberty National GC

Pajaree Anannarukarn of Thailand tees off on the eleventh hole during Day One of the HSBC Women's World Championship.
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The Statue of Liberty is the backdrop for this week’s inaugural Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey. The tournament boasts a theme of mentorship and education, and includes a girls’ 72-hole, modified Stableford tournament featuring 24 juniors to go along with the 72-hole stroke-play event for 120 LPGA professionals.

The field is led by seven of the top 10 players on the Rolex Rankings including world No. 1 Jin Young Ko, No. 3 Lydia Ko, No. 4 Lilia Vu and No. 5 Minjee Lee. Also teeing it up this week are the finalists from Sunday’s Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play, where Thailand’s Pajaree Anannarukarn captured her second LPGA title with a 3-and-1 victory over Japan’s Ayaka Furue.

Michelle Wie West is serving as the tournament host, and she’ll be on hand to welcome fellow Stanford alum Rose Zhang, who’s fresh off her second straight NCAA individual title and turned professional just last week. Zhang will have her first go at an LPGA prize purse, which tops out at $2.75 million this week with the winner taking home $412,500.

How to watch the 2023 Mizuho Americas Open

You can watch the 2023 Mizuho Americas Open on Golf Channel, Peacock, and the NBC Sports app. Check out the complete TV and streaming schedule:

  • Thursday, June 1: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. ET, Golf Channel and Peacock
  • Friday, June 2: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. ET, Golf Channel and Peacock
  • Saturday, June 3: 5-8 p.m. ET, Golf Channel and Peacock
  • Sunday, June 4: 4:30-5 p.m. ET (streaming only on Peacock); 5-7:30 p.m. ET, Golf Channel and Peacock

ALSO FROM ON HER TURF: Wake Forest captures team title at 2023 NCAA DI women’s golf championships, Stanford’s Rose Zhang wins individual crown

Who’s playing in the 2023 Mizuho Americas Open?

The 120-player field features seven of the top 10 players (and 16 of the top 25 player) on the Rolex Rankings:

  • No. 1 Jin Young Ko
  • No. 3 Lydia Ko
  • No. 4 Lilia Vu
  • No. 5 Minjee Lee
  • No. 6 Atthaya Thitikul
  • No. 8 Brooke Henderson
  • No. 9 Georgia Hall

Also in the field are 2023 winners Celine Boutier (LPGA Drive On Championship), Ruoning Yin (DIO Implant LA Open) and Grace Kim (LOTTE Championship), plus several sponsor exemptions including reigning NCAA individual champion Rose Zhang and her Stanford teammate Megha Ganne. Ganne, a native of Holmdel, N.J., finished T-21 at the recent NCAAs and is playing as an amateur. Joining them as an exemption is fellow Cardinal Mariah Stackhouse, who has conditional status on tour in 2023. Monday qualifiers include tour rookie Alexa Pano and Australia’s Sarah Jane Smith.

Among the notable juniors expected to play are 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur winner Anna Davis, 2022 U.S. Girls’ Junior winner Yana Wilson and 2022 U.S. Junior Girls’ runnerup Gianna Clemente. The 24 junior players were invited through their standings in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.

What’s the format for the Mizuho Americas Open?

The professionals will play a 72-hole stroke-play competition, with a cut to the top 50 and ties after 36 holes. The 24 juniors will play a 72-hole, no-cut competition using the modified Stableford scoring format and a different yardage than the pros.

During the first two rounds, the AJGA players will all be paired together. During the final two rounds, one junior player will play with two LPGA pros with groupings based on scores. This unique format marks the first time the AJGA and LPGA have partnered to showcase junior and professional competitors playing together.

Stableford scoring refresher: “Stableford” is a scoring system that awards points for the number of strokes taken on each hole in relation to par, rather than simply counting strokes like in stroke play. Unlike in stroke play, where players want the lowest score, the goal in Stableford scoring is to have the highest score. Standard Stableford points values are:

  • 0 Points – Double bogey or worse (two strokes or more over par)
  • 1 Point – Bogey (one stroke over par)
  • 2 Points – Par
  • 3 Points – Birdie (one stroke under par)
  • 4 Points – Eagle (two strokes under par)
  • 5 Points – Albatross or double eagle (three strokes under par)
  • 6 Points – Condor (four strokes under par)

More about Liberty National Golf Club

Located on the shore of the Upper Bay of New York Harbor, Liberty National Golf Club was designed by Bob Cupp and Tom Kite and officially opened on July 4, 2006. After the course received mixed reviews following the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust in 2009, the course underwent a renovation led by Steve Wenzloff of PGA Tour Design Services. Of note, the course hosted an event during the PGA Tour Playoffs four times (2009, 2013, 2019 and 2021) as well as the 2017 Presidents Cup, where the U.S. defeated the Internationals 19-11 for the Americans’ seventh consecutive victory in the competition and its 10th straight win overall. For this week’s event, the course will play to a par of 72 with an unofficial scorecard yardage of 6,671 yards.

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