AIG Women’s Open Primer: History, TV, Field, Odds

Charlie Hull AIG Women's Open Carnoustie
Charlie Hull tees off during the Pro-Am prior to the AIG Women's Open at Carnoustie Golf Links on Aug 18, 2021 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Andrew Redington via Getty Images)

The 2021 LPGA Tour major season ends this week at the iconic Carnoustie Golf Links with the 2021 AIG Women’s Open. A field of 144 world-class golfers will take to the famed links, located at the mouth of the Barry Burn on the coast of the North Sea, and attempt to hoist the season’s final major trophy.

World No. 1 Nelly Korda will make her debut as an Olympic gold medalist. The American headliner, who won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, will be joined by the season’s three other major winners in Patty Tavatanakit (ANA Inspiration), Yuka Saso (U.S. Women’s Open) and Minjee Lee (Amundi Evian Championship).

In addition, nine former AIG Women’s Open champions will tee it up this week as well, including defending champion Sophia Popov (2020), Hinako Shibuno (2019), Georgia Hall (2018), Ariya Jutanugarn (2016), Inbee Park (2015), Mo Martin (2014), Stacy Lewis (2013) and Catriona Matthew (2009).

The AIG Women’s Open is also the final qualifying event prior to the 2021 Solheim Cup, which will be held Sept. 10-12 at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.

Team USA Captain Pat Hurst and Team Europe Captain Catriona Matthew will finalize their automatic qualifiers following the completion of play on Sunday, with the captains’ picks announced on Monday.


The Skinny

Tournament: AIG Women’s Open
Dates: Aug. 19-22, 2021
Where: Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland
Course: Carnoustie GL
Par: 36-36—72
Distance: 6,850 yards
Architect: Al Robertson, Old Tom Morris (1842)
Redesign: James Braid (1926)
Format: 144 players, stroke-play
Purse: $5,800,000
Winning Share: $870,000
Defending Champion: Sophia Popov


How to Follow the AIG Women’s Open

AIG Women's Open Carnoustie Flag
A detail view of the AIG Women’s Open trophy during a practice day prior to the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie Golf Links on Aug 16, 2021 in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst / R&A via Getty Images)

TELEVISION: Thu-Fri: 6 a.m.-1 p.m. (GOLF Channel); Sat: 7 a.m.-12 p.m. (GOLF Channel), 12-2 p.m. (CNBC); Sun: 7 a.m.-12 p.m. (GOLF Channel), 12-2 p.m. (NBC)

TOURNAMENT LINKS: Website | Facebook | Instagram

LPGA LINKS: Leaderboard | Facebook | Instagram


Women’s Open History

Janes Geddes Weetabix Women's Open 1989
Janes Geddes on her way to winning the Weetabix Women’s British Open during the final day of the 1989 Women’s British at Ferndown Golf Club on Aug 7, 1989 in Ferndown, England (Photo by Peter Dazeley via Getty Images)

The AIG Women’s British Open is a major championship in women’s professional golf. It is co-sanctioned by both the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour as a major.

It was initially established by the Ladies’ Golf Union in 1976 and was intended to serve as the women’s equivalent of The Open Championship. At first, it was difficult for the organizers to get the most iconic and prestigious courses to agree to host the event, with the exception of Royal Birkdale – which hosted it twice during its early days (1982 and 1986).

After nearly folding in 1983, the tournament was held at the best of the “second-tier” courses, including Woburn Golf and Country Club for seven straight years (1990-1996) as well as in 1984 and 1999.

As its prestige continued to increase, more of the links courses that are in the rotation for The Open Championship, such as Turnberry (2002) and Royal Lytham & St Annes (1998, 2003, 2006) hosted the tournament, in addition to Royal Birkdale (2000, 2005, 2010). In 2007, the tournament took place at the Old Course at St Andrews for the first time.

Natalie Gulbis Weetabix Women's Open 2006
Natalie Gulbis talks to her caddie during the first round at the Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham St Annes in Lancashire, in northwest England on Aug 3, 2006. (Photo by GLENN CAMPBELL / AFP via Getty Images)

In the 2010s, two additional Open Championship venues became first-time hosts for the women’s event: Carnoustie (2011) and Royal Liverpool (2012). In 2020, Royal Troon hosted for the first time while Muirfield will be the host venue for the first time in 2022.

The tournament has yet to be played (or scheduled to be played) at just two Open Championship courses: Royal St. George’s in southeastern England and Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.

Unlike its male counterpart, the Women’s British Open has not adopted a links-only policy. This greatly increases the number of potential venues, especially the number close to the major population centers of England. Following the 2017 merger of the Ladies Golf Union with The R&A, the tournament is now organized by the same organization as the men’s tournament.

Through 1993, the tournament was an official stop only on the Ladies European Tour, with the exception of the 1984 edition, which was co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour.

2018 Ricoh Women's British Open Royal Lytham and St Annes
A general view of Royal Lytham and St Annes in advance of the 2018 Ricoh Women’s British Open in Lancashire, England. Credit: Jan Kruger/WME IMG/Getty Images

Starting in 1994, it became a permanent LPGA Tour event, which increased both the quality of the field and the event’s prestige. It has been an official LPGA major since 2001, when it replaced the du Maurier Classic in Canada.

Since becoming an LPGA major in 2001 it has generally been played in late July or early August. The 2012 edition was scheduled for mid-September, due to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, while the 2014 event was played in mid-July, the week prior to the Open Championship.

From 2007 to 2018, it was called the Ricoh Women’s British Open while the previous twenty editions (1987–2006) were sponsored by Weetabix, a breakfast cereal. In 2019 AIG came on as the title sponsor (AIG Women’s British Open), and a year later it announced an extended sponsorship agreement through 2025 but part of the deal included a rebranding by removing the word “British.”

History: Recent Winners

2020 Sophia Popov (-7)
2019 Hinako Shibuno (-18)
2018 Georgia Hall (-17)
2017 In-Kyung Kim (-18)
2016 Ariya Jutanugarn (-16)

History: Scoring Records
  • 18 holes: 62 – Minea Blomqvist (2004), Mirim Lee (2016)
  • 36 holes: 133 – Caroline Masson (2011), Mirim Lee (2016), In-Kyung Kim (2017)
  • 54 holes: 199 – In-Kyung Kim (2017)
  • 72 holes: 269, Karen Stupples (2004)

The Field: AIG Women’s Open

Nelly Korda Leads Tokyo Olympics
Nelly Korda of USA on the 11th green during round three of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan. (Photo By Brendan Moran / Sportsfile via Getty Images)

World No. 1 Nelly Korda will headline the field at Carnoustie. The Olympic gold medalist, who won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, will be joined by the season’s three other major winners in Patty Tavatanakit (ANA Inspiration), Yuka Saso (U.S. Women’s Open) and Minjee Lee (Amundi Evian Championship).

In addition, nine former AIG Women’s Open champions will tee it up this week as well, including defending champion Sophia Popov (2020), Hinako Shibuno (2019), Georgia Hall (2018), Ariya Jutanugarn (2016), Inbee Park (2015), Mo Martin (2014), Stacy Lewis (2013) and Catriona Matthew (2009).

The field will also include 17 of the 19 winners this season on the LPGA Tour, including three time winner Korda (Gainbridge LPGA, Meijer LPGA Classic, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship), two-time winner Jutanugarn (Honda LPGA Thailand, Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational).

The clear favorite this week is Korda who’s offered at 8-1. She is followed by Lydia Ko (12-1) and Atthaya Thitikul (16-1).

Top-5 Betting Favorites

1. Nelly Korda 8-1
2. Lydia Ko 12-1
3. Atthaya Thitikul 16-1
4. Inbee Park 22-1
5. Jeongeun Lee6 22-1

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