The 72nd US Women’s Open heads to of all places, Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster today where there will be no shortage of Irish interest. Duke University star Leona Maguire and Jordanstown’s LPGA Tour professional Stephanie Meadow will be among a star-studded field teeing off in New Jersey.
Safe to say our girls will be going in under the radar, however, as the tournament build-up has been dominated by Trump the President and not Trump the golf course. A running campaign overshadowed by sexist undertones hasn’t exactly been improved upon since the President took office, and his alienating policies, particular when it comes to women’s rights activists, should make for an uncomfortable backdrop to such an iconic event in the women’s golfing calendar.
Thankfully our duo won’t be as concerned as say, Mexican-American golfer Lizette Salas, who tweeted after Trump’s shock election victory: “After last night, this country isn’t what I thought it was. I ask that the whole country pray for the citizens who still believe in morals.” Imagine the speech if she was to fulfil her dream and win the US Open, with ‘The Donald’ looking on.
It will be interesting to get an insight into the whole event from our columnist, Stephanie Meadow, in her piece with us next month, but no doubt Stephanie will be firmly focused on her own game after a particularly difficult year on Tour. A string of missed cuts haven’t exactly reflected her form, but this is a results business and having done so well to qualify for the championship from a 36-hole playoff in June, Steph will be determined to take advantage of a potentially career changing week.
On the contrary, Leona Maguire can fly to New Jersey without any pressure but that what she chooses to place upon herself. Another record breaking year on the US collegiate circuit saw her named US National Player of the Year for a second time, and if that wasn’t enough, the Cavan native then went on to claim victory in June’s British Ladies Amateur Championship.
For Leona, the golfing world is at her feet but there’s no rush to concur it. That’s not to say I’d be surprised if she featured at the weekend. Maguire never ceases to amaze. Yet this week Meadow needs it more and here’s hoping our two magnificent representatives do themselves proud in the uneasy setting of Trump’s back yard.