There is no denying that the AIG Women’s Open is a major championship
with a family feel to it. It might be one of the most fiercely contested championships
in golf which is steeped in history and tradition like no other but despite its
international field, it feels like home to so many.
For players, the support network that usually comes to this event is
also one of the most extensive, with competitors from more than 30 nationalities
bringing friends, families and support with them but this week is different due
to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols which has forced players to choose only
one person to accompany them in this important fixture.
While many have chosen their professional caddie to play this part,
others have looked to family members to play a dual role at Royal Troon with as
many as 14 players opting for a relation, whether that be a Father, Mother,
Brother, Sister or partner to be by their side on and off the course.
Austria’s Christine Wolf is the only competitor to have her Mother on
the bag, and insisted, “It’s really nice, she’s been with me for every AIG Women’s
Open, this is the fourth one now. Hopefully four is a charm.”
Speaking about how the relationship can change, her Mother Andrea, who
is a 12-handicapper, said, “I know when I have to say something or not
because I know her very well. On the course we switch to another mode from
mother-daughter to a friendship and boss-employee.”
Christine was sure of one thing though, “About halfway home in the
car, the roles are reversed back to the typical Mother-Daughter relationship. We
have so much fun together.”
Father-daughter partnerships are more common-place in this event,
especially since the success Georgia Hall achieved with her Dad in 2018.
Newly turned professional Stephanie Kyriacou, who triumphed as an
amateur earlier in the year at the Australian Ladies Classic, is making her
major debut and has had an interesting journey to Scotland from her home in
“I’m going to have to quarantine for two weeks
in a hotel when we go back but I had no hesitation to come here, I was actually
waiting for government approval to leave the country.”
She continued, “It’s pretty cool to be playing in my first major, it’s
been a big jump going from playing amateur events at the start of the year to
here, it’s extra special having my Dad here, he helped me get the win in
Australia so hopefully he can help me again this week.”
Her Father Nick, added, “I am super proud, she’s done well, it is awesome
to be here.”
Keeping it in the family, sibling rivalry can be one thing but not for
the most well-known family partnership in the field – the Henderson sisters – who
have worked successfully together for more than five years.
Brooke is the younger sibling and has spent the entirety of her
professional career working with her older sister Brittany, who is also a
professional golfer. Together Brooke has won eight LPGA titles and a major
LET member Emma Nilsson also has her younger sister, Sarah Nilsson, on
her bag with both sisters set to compete in next weeks’ Tipsport Czech Ladies Open.
Emma explained, “We have travelled and competed a lot together so if one
of us missed the cut the other one would caddie, so she’s done this job a few
times. We think it will be fun out there together.”
Johnson is the last player in the Championship, qualifying as first reserve
after a late drop out, and has her younger brother Luke with her.
“I feel very
fortunate to get the last spot, I call myself a lucky loser, whatever it takes
to get in the field. Everyone starts on a level playing field on Thursday.”
brother Luke has caddied a few times for me but this is his first major, It’s
always fun to have a family member on the bag. He’s only 20 so he tries to play
it pretty cool but I know him well enough to know if he’s a bit nervous, hopefully
he will be more nervous than me, it’ll be fun to change it around.”