The women’s major season comes to a crescendo this week at the AIG Women’s Open, the fifth and final major of 2022, hosted at historic Muirfield in the county of East Lothian, Scotland.
Defending champion Anna Nordqvist leads a field of 144 players (136 pros, eight amateurs), who are competing for a $7.3 million prize purse – including the $1.095 million first-place prize. Forty-four of the top 50 players in the Rolex Ranking are playing, including 18 of the top 20. Missing are No. 15 Min Ji Park and No. 16 Danielle Kang, while 15 of 16 winners on the LPGA Tour in 2022 also are playing, with only the injured Kang being absent.
Hometown heroine Catriona Matthew, who hails from North Berwick, Scotland, will have the honor of hitting the first tee shot at 6:30 a.m. local time. Matthew, who grew up on the Wee Course at nearby North Berwick Golf Club and still lives there with her husband and two daughters, shared her perspective on the historic moment at Muirfield, which invited women to join its membership just three years ago.
“I think you just have to look forward rather than look backwards,” said Matthew, a four-time LPGA winner and two-time captain of the European Solheim Cup team. “Golf, starting in Scotland, we had a lot more traditions perhaps; that we’re just gradually moving with the times.”
How to watch the 2022 AIG Women’s Open (all times ET)
- Thursday: 6 a.m.-1 p.m., USA
- Friday: 6 a.m.-1 p.m., USA
- Saturday: 8 a.m.-noon, USA; noon-3 p.m., NBC
- Sunday: 8 a.m.-noon, USA; noon-3 p.m., NBC
Streaming: News and tournament action from the AIG Women’s Open is available any time on any mobile device and online through NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.
Who’s playing in the 2022 AIG Women’s Open
New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, No. 4 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, arrives at Muirfield among the betting favorites, with world No. 3 Nelly Korda close behind along with reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion and world No. 2 Minjee Lee and recent Evian Championship winner Brooke Henderson.
The field features 10 past winners of this event since it became a major in 2001, plus Dame Laura Davies, who won the event in 1986:
- Catriona Matthew (Scotland), 2009
- Stacy Lewis (USA), 2013
- Mo Martin (USA), 2014
- Inbee Park (South Korea), 2015
- Ariya Jutanugarn (Thailand), 2016
- I.K. Kim (South Korea), 2017
- Georgia Hall (England), 2018
- Hinako Shibuno (Japan), 2019
- Sophia Popov (Germany), 2020
- Anna Nordqvist (Sweden), 2021
Like the other four women’s majors, the Women’s Open gives amateurs a chance to shine next to the pros, and this year’s group features:
- Mizuki Hashimoto (Japan), 2021 Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific champion
- Valery Plata (Colombia), 2021 Women’s Amateur Latin America champion
- Rose Zhang (USA), 2021 McCormack Medal winner
- Jess Baker (England), 2022 Women’s Amateur champion
- Savannah De Bock (Belgium), 2022 European Ladies’ Amateur champion
- Anna Davis (USA), 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur champion
- Caley McGinty (England), 2022 highest WAGR-ranked GB&I player
Last year at the 2021 Women’s Open
Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist ended a nearly four-year win drought last year at the Women’s Open at Carnoustie, where she captured his third career major title. After opening with back-to-back rounds of 71, the 34-year-old Nordqvist vaulted to a share of the lead with a third-round 65. She shot 69 in the final round to finish at 12-under 276, beating Lizette Salas, Georgia Hall and Madelene Sagstrom by one stroke.
Nordqvist came to her 72nd hole tied with Madsen, and her par at the last proved enough after Madsen made double bogey. It was Nordqvist’s first win in four years and marked the ninth LPGA title of her career. Nordqvist will look to become the first player since Yani Tseng (2010-2011) to successfully defend her title since the tournament became a major in 2001.
Past champions of the Women’s Open (winning score, venue)
- 2021: Anna Nordqvist (Sweden), 12-under 276, Carnoustie (Championship Course)
- 2020: Sophia Popov (Germany), 7-under 277, Royal Troon (Old Course)
- 2019: Hinako Shibuno (Japan), 18-under 270, Woburn (Marquess Course)
- 2018: Georgia Hall (England) 17-under 271, Royal Lythem & St. Annes
- 2017: In-Kyung Kim (South Korea) 18-under 270, Kingsbarns
- 2016: Ariya Jutanugarn (Thailand), 16-under 272, Woburn (Marquess Course)
- 2015: Inbee Park (South Korea), 12-under 276, Turnberry
- 2014: Mo Martin (USA), 1-under 287, Royal Birkdale
- 2013: Stacy Lewis (USA), 8-under 280, St. Andrews
- 2012: Jiyai Shin (South Korea), 9-under 279, Royal Liverpool
This year marks the first AIG Women’s Open to be played at Muirfield, which has hosted 16 men’s Open Championships (most recently in 2013, won by Phil Mickelson), 11 Amateur Championships, two Walker Cups, one Ryder Cup (1973) and one Senior Open Championship (2007).
Par is 72 (36-36), with scorecard yardage for the tournament stretching to 6,680 yards. Of note, Muirfield features 147 bunkers and no water hazards, with the greens, tees, fairways and rough comprised of bent grass and fescue.
While the club was founded in 1744, the course opened in 1891 with 16 holes originally designed by Tom Morris Sr. The course consisted of 117 acres enclosed by a stone wall, and the layout was expanded to 18 holes in 1892 – just in time to host its first Open Championship and first R&A championship that same year. Of note, the 1892 Open also marked the first year the event was contested over 72 holes, and in 1966, Muirfield also became the site of the first Open that was played over four days.
The NBC research team contributed to this report.