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The AIG Women’s Open marks the fifth and final Major of the year, and some of the world’s biggest players will be teeing it up in the field at Muirfield.
However, there are several players who won't be appearing at what is one of the best golf courses in Scotland. Here are 10 of the biggest names to miss out this year...
1. Danielle Kang
American Kang has enjoyed a trophy-laden career to date, including the 2017 Women's PGA Championship. The 29-year-old has also had four top 10 finishes in other Majors, but never in the Women's Open. In fact, the best Kang has managed in the tournament is a tie for 32nd in 2020. Nevertheless, Kang is one of the highest-profile players on the LPGA Tour with earnings of $7.6m.
In announcing her withdrawal from this year's tournament on Instagram as she continues to receive treatment for a spinal tumour, Kang said: "Muirfield, I'll play you next time. Walton Heath, I'll see you next year." Assuming she does tee it up in Surrey in 2023, she is sure to be one of the biggest names in the event.
2. Paula Creamer
Paula Creamer’s early career saw an impressive run of results in the Women’s British Open (now the AIG Women's Open), including top 10 finishes in four of her six appearances between 2007 and 2012. Since then, though, it’s been a different story. Creamer has missed the cut in three of the tournaments since 2015 and hasn’t appeared in the final Major of the year since 2019, when she missed the cut.
One of the reasons for that long absence is her recovery from wrist surgery, which kept her out of the game between 2019 and last year. The 2010 US Women’s Open Champion has also missed every other Major in 2022 as she is on maternity leave following the birth of her baby girl in January. Creamer recently announced her return, with two Ohio starts lined up at the Dana Open in Toledo later this month and Kroger Queen City Championship in Cincinnati the following week.
3. Michelle Wie West
Like Creamer, Michelle Wie West is another big name who’s been missing from the Women’s British Open for several years. In fact, her absence stretches even further back than her compatriot’s. After tying for third in the 2017 tournament and withdrawing after 12 holes with a hand injury the year after, she hasn’t appeared since.
Wie West gave birth to a daughter in June 2020. While it was anticipated that she would eventually return full-time to the game in an effort to add to her sole Major win, in January this year she revealed that she intended to step away from golf following the US Women’s Open, where she missed the cut. At the present time, she only has next year’s tournament at Pebble Beach in her schedule.
4. Shanshan Feng
Chinese former World No.1 Shanshan Feng has announced her retirement from the game following a glittering career that included a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, and the 2012 Women's PGA Championship among her 23 wins.
Feng had initially hinted at retirement after missing the cut at last year's KMPG Women's PGA Championship. That moment has now come, meaning she won't get the chance to better her tie for second at the 2014 tournament.
5. Maria Fassi
Big-hitting Mexican Maria Fassi is still a relative newcomer, aged 24, but her omission from the field at Muirfield will surprise some. True, Fassi has yet to make any significant impression on the Majors, with a tie for 12th in the 2019 US Women’s Open her best performance to date. Nevertheless, she is one of the brightest young talents in the women’s game.
Fassi demonstrated as much in her most recent tournament, The Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational when, partnering US Solheim Cup captain Stacy Lewis, the pair finished third on 20 under-par for her best LPGA Tour result to date. That included a bogey-free 59.
As for Fassi, she cites her mental game as the area that needs the most work as she bids to step up a level. Following that performance, she said: “I think this year there was a lot more on the mental and emotional side of things. Still a little bit of strategy and course management, but I think I've improved a lot from where we were last year golf-wise.”
6. Brittany Lincicome
With two Major victories among 12 top 10 finishes, the 36-year-old Floridian is one of the most impressive performers of her generation. However, while Lincicome has only enjoyed moderate success in the Women’s British Open, she has still competed in it 15 times over her substantial career.
Linicicome misses the 2022 tournament for a very good reason – the birth of her second child is expected in a matter of weeks. Even still, that didn’t stop her playing the ShopRite LPGA Classic as recently as June. Despite being seven months pregnant at the time, she still managed an impressive tie for 6th. She even continued playing as recently as the KPMG PGA Championship later that month, although she missed the cut in her last Major for the foreseeable future.
7. Min Ji Park
At World No.15, Min Ji Park is the highest-ranked player not competing. After turning pro in 2016, she joined the KLPGA the following year. Since then, she has barely looked back, and in 2021 won six tournaments among 14 top 10 finishes. She’s followed that up with a further three wins on the Tour so far in 2022.
The South Korean made her maiden Major appearance in this year’s Amundi Evian Championship, where she finished tied for 37th. However, it looks like we’ll need to wait a little longer to see a talent that has dominated the KLPGA with 13 wins in recent years translate to the biggest competitions.
8. Christina Kim
American Kim misses out on this year’s tournament despite having appeared in it 15 times in her career to date. The 38-year-old has yet to win a Major, though she came closest in the Women’s British Open in 2009 when she finished tied for 3rd. After backing that up with a tie for 9th the following year, Kim’s fortunes in the competition have suffered in recent years, and she missed the cut in 2020 and at Carnoustie last year. Kim has also endured a difficult 2022 form-wise, with nine missed cuts from her 11 appearances.
9. Mirim Lee
South Korean Lee won her maiden Major title in the 2020 Chevron Championship (then known as the ANA Inspiration) and has an impressive record in Majors, with seven top-10 finishes since 2014. In 2016, she came close to winning the Women’s British Open but fell three shots short of eventual winner Ariya Jutanugarn to finish in a tie for 2nd at Woburn. While Lee missed out that year, she did match a low-round record for a Women’s British Open in the tournament with a 10 under 62. Lee’s most recent appearance came in this year’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, where she finished tied for 50th.
10. Mone Inami
Japanese player Mone Inami is a rising star of the game who’s currently making her name on the LPGA of Japan Tour, where, at the age of just 22, she has a hugely impressive 11 wins. Currently the World No.23, even bigger things are expected of her in the years to come. Despite her encouraging Tour record, it was in the 2020 Summer Olympics where Inami really shot to prominence. She defeated New Zealand superstar Lydia Ko in a sudden-death playoff to claim the silver medal in women’s individual.
Inami’s appearances in Majors have been sporadic to date, though she did compete in the 2020 Women’s British Open. However, she failed to make the cut.
As well as the ten listed here, other big names to miss out this year include Americans Jennifer Song and Lucy Li, and Japanese star Sakura Koiwai. Despite the absentees, there is still a strong field for the event, including holder Anna Nordqvist, KPMG Women's PGA Championship winner In Gee Chun and one of the players who ran her close in that event, Lexi Thompson. That suggests that, even though some big names are missing, this year's AIG Women's Open is still one of the most hotly anticipated events in the calendar.
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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