The Inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open visits Chicagoland July 12-15, 2018 at the historic Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton. The field will include 120 players and is open to professionals and amateur golfers who are 50 years of age and are exempt or qualify for the championship.
Players eligible to compete this year include Hollis Stacy, Juli Inkster, Amy Alcott, Pat Bradley, Laura David, Dottie Pepper, Liselotte Neumann and Helen Alfredsson. Eighteen holes of stroke play are scheduled each day from Thursday, July 12, through Sunday, July 15. The starting field will be cut to the low 50 scorers, including ties after the second round.
The U.S. Senior Women’s Open will feature $1 million in prize money. The winner will also receive a 13-pound sterling silver trophy that was designed and produced by English silversmith Nicholas Winton and is the heaviest of the USGA’s Open championship trophies.
“I’ve been waiting for 17 years for this” said LPGA Hall of Famer Pat Bradley. “It’s just great that the USGA has done this, just as it is that the LPGA started their senior tournament.”
“We feel strongly that factors such as the international strength of the LPGA and the increasing number of age-eligible quality competitors from around the world, as well as the growth of women’s golf, are key to reaching this historic announcement,” said Mike Davis, Chief Executive Officer of the United States Golf Association. “The number of entries in our women’s championships continues to grow. We hope this new championship will inspire both amateurs and professionals.”
Chicago Golf Club is a fitting host for this first ever competition given its rich history as the oldest 18-hole course in North America and one of the five founding clubs of the United States Golf Association. Founded in 1893 and designed by CB Macdonald, Chicago Golf Club has hosted the US Open three times (1897, 1900, 1911), the US Amateur four times (1897, 1905, 1909, 1912), the US Women’s Amateur in 1903, the US Senior Amateur in 1979 and the Walker Cup in 1928 and 2005.
Current Chicago Golf Club members include Cleveland Golf founder Roger Cleveland, actor Chris O’Donnell and former Amoco chairman H. Laurence Fuller. Two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw is a non-resident member. Chicago Golf Club admitted its first African-American member, Charles Thurston, in 1993 and its first female full member, Judith Whinfrey, in 2001.
The USGA expects to need approximately 1,000 volunteers to serve the championship including marshals, player services, leaderboards and merchandise. Assignments for these committees will occur on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested volunteers can learn more at the USGA website.
The 2018 U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be the first Open championship played in the state of Illinois in 15 years since Jim Furyk’s U.S. Open Championship victory in 2003 at Olympia Fields Country Club. The most recent USGA championship in Illinois was the 2015 U.S. Amateur, which was won by Bryson DeChambeau at Olympia Fields. The 2018 U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be the 61st USGA championship contested in the Land of Lincoln.
The 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be contested at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Pine Needles hosted the U.S. Women’s Open in 1996, 2001 and 2007. It is also scheduled to host the U.S. Women’s Open in 2022.