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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Evian Championship Preview

The second of the three big golf events this week is the Evian Championship, the fifth and final major for the LPGA and related women's tours.

The view from the course

The Evian is held at the Evian Resort Golf Club in beautiful Evian-les-Bains, France. You can see Lake Geneva in the above photo, in the valleys of the Alps. The ladies loved playing there even before the Evian became a major... and I think you can see why.

As usual, Tony Jesselli has done his own preview of the event over on his blog. Tony says this has the second strongest field of the year, behind only the Kraft Nabisco.

There are a number of storylines in play this week, some of which you should be aware of:
  • Tony notes that Stacy Lewis is in danger of losing her #1 ranking this week. If either Inbee Park or Lydia Ko wins, they will take #1 no matter what Stacy does.
  • Speaking of Lydia, this is her last chance to become the youngest major winner ever. If she succeeds, she will break the record of Young Tom Morris, who won the 1868 Open Championship at age 17.
  • Lydia missed the last LPGA tournament with a wrist problem, but Michelle Wie has been out for several weeks with a finger fracture. She missed the last major and says she doesn't have any expectations this week because she's had very little practice time. However, due to the shorter length and relatively high elevation of the course, accuracy will be more important than power so Michelle may do better than expected.
  • The winner of the new Annika Award (for best performance in the majors) will be determined this week. Despite not being able to play in the Women's British Open, Michelle Wie still leads by a mere 10 points over Inbee Park.
  • And Minjee Lee makes her pro debut this week.
Suzann Pettersen is the defending champion this week. Her win last year was weather-shortened; only 54 holes were played. This is the first year that the revamped course will (hopefully) see a full 72-hole event.

And finally, this event will be getting some serious TV time. GC's coverage on Thursday and Friday runs from 7:30am-12:30pm ET, on Saturday from 6:30am-11:30am ET, and on Sunday the combined GC/NBC coverage is from 8:30am-1:30pm ET. That means it won't conflict with the Tour Championship except for 1.5 hours on Sunday (the GC/NBC crossover coverage).

That's two down. Tomorrow... the last of our three big previews.

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