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A global game


Thirteen countries have produced AIG Women's Open winners

In-Kyung Kim with the AIG Women

The AIG Women’s Open prides itself on being the most international major in golf – and this is evidenced by the 13 countries that can boast a winner of the prestigious Championship.

Thirty-nine golfers have claimed the coveted prize since its inception in 1976, and they hail from all corners of the globe, with seven different nationalities winning the last seven editions.

Here we take a closer look at each Champion Golfer, grouped with their compatriots.

USA (1980, 1981, 1985, 1989, 1992, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2006, 2013, 2014)

American golfers have dominated this Championship since the 1980s, racking up an impressive 11 victories over the last four decades.

The first American winner was Debbie Massey who pipped Marta Figueras-Dotti and Scottish amateur Belle Robertson to victory in 1980 – a title she would successfully defend 12 months later.

Betsy King (1985) and Jane Geddes (1989) were the final two American victors in the Eighties, before Patty Sheehan (1992) and Emilee Klein (1996) paved the way for Sherri Steinhauer to write her name in the history books.

Sherri Steinhauer

Three-time Champion Sherri Steinhauer

Only Karrie Webb has won the AIG Women’s Open as many times as the Wisconsin star, who lifted the trophy for the first time at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1998. Steinhauer retained the title in 1999 and completed her hat-trick seven years later (2006) when, aged 43, she became the Championship’s oldest winner.

Stacy Lewis (2013) and Mo Martin (2014) are the last two American women to win a major in the UK.

England (1976, 1977, 1978, 1986, 1987, 1991, 2004, 2018)

Jenny Lee Smith (1976) has the distinction of being the very first winner of the AIG Women’s Open, blazing a trail for every Champion Golfer since.

Vivien Saunders (1977) and Janet Melville (1978) followed in Smith’s historic steps as the first three Championships were won by home golfers.

Legendary figure Dame Laura Davies (1986) was just 22 when successful at Royal Birkdale and she was joined in the winners’ circle by her future Solheim Cup captain Alison Nicholas (1987).

Penny Grice-Whittaker (1991) was the only English winner of the Nineties before Karen Stupples picked up the mantle in 2004 in record-breaking fashion, shooting the lowest final round by a Champion to equal Karrie Webb's record 72-hole total of 269.

Georgia Hall is the eighth Englishwoman to win the AIG Women’s Open, doing so in 2018 with her dad Wayne as caddie.

South Korea (2001, 2005, 2008, 2012, 2015, 2017)

Americans may have won the most titles but it’s fair to say South Korean golfers have had the run of things since the turn of the century.

Se Ri Pak’s (2001) landmark victory hinted at future Korean dominance, as did the fact her compatriot Mi Hyun Kim was runner-up.

Jeong Jang (2005), Inbee Park (2015) and In Kyung Kim (2017) have also enjoyed success on British shores, as has Jiyai Shin (2008, 2012), one of only five women to have won the event multiple times.

Australia (1988, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2002)

Three-time Champion Karrie Webb leads the successful Australian contingent, reeling off her hat-trick of wins in 1995, 1997 and 2002.

Australian golfer Karrie Webb

The irrepressible Karrie Webb in full flow

Corinne Dibnah (1988) was her country’s maiden winner, clinching the crown after the Championship’s first sudden-death play-off, while Karen Lunn stormed to an eight-stroke victory in 1993.

Sweden (1990, 1994, 2000, 2003, 2021)

Sweden has provided some of the most famous names in women’s golf.

Helen Alfredsson (1990) smashed the ceiling for her countrywomen and was quickly followed by Liselotte Neumann (1994).

Sophie Gustafson (2000) was the first winner of the new Millennium, while she also posted six top-10 finishes.

After finishing as runner-up three times, the great Annika Sorenstam (2003) triumphed at Royal Lytham & St Annes to collect the sixth of her 10 major titles.

Anna Nordqvist (2021) is another multiple major winner, with the AIG Women’s Open victory bringing her tally to three.

Chinese Taipei (2010, 2011)

Yani Tseng is one of only three players to win the AIG Women's Open in consecutive years.

She collected her first title after going wire-to-wire at Royal Birkdale in 2010. Tseng defended her crown at Carnoustie 12 months later, winning by four strokes from Brittany Lang.

Tseng was the dominant force in the women’s game at her peak, winning five majors between 2008 and 2011 and spending 108 weeks as the world number one.

Japan (1984, 2019)

No player in history has claimed a bigger winning margin at the AIG Women's Open than Ayako Okamoto, who stormed to victory by 11 shots at Woburn in 1984.

Rounds of 71, 71, 70 and 77 saw Okamoto finish on three-under-par, with Betsy King and Dale Reid her nearest rivals on eight-over.

And when Hinako Shibuno achieved glory at Woburn in 2019, it was the first time she had competed outside of her native Japan.

South Africa (1979, 2022)

Alison Sheard (1979) was the first non-English winner of the AIG Women’s Open. Her success came in the fourth playing of the Championship, at Southport & Ainsdale, where she recovered superbly from an opening round of 83 with subsequent scores of 74, 72 and 72 to finish three clear of Mickey Walker.

Ashleigh Buhai (2022) is the only other South African winner, capturing the title in 2022 after defeating In Gee Chun in an epic four-hole play-off.

Germany (2020)

Sophia Popov is the only German winner of a women’s major following her remarkable victory at Royal Troon in 2020.

Ranked 304th in the world at the time, and having only qualified the week before, Popov produced the best golfing week of her life to edge out Jasmine Suwannapura by two strokes.

Mexico (2007)

Lorena Ochoa (2007) produced a magnificent wire-to-wire victory the first time the AIG Women’s Open was staged at St Andrews, the home of golf.

The Mexican great recorded a remarkable 21 victories between 2006 and 2008, including two majors. Ochoa held the world number one spot for just over three years consecutively from 2007 to 2010, the most in history.

Scotland (2009)

Catriona Matthew was the first – and so far only – Scottish golfer to win a women’s major.

The Edinburgh native tasted glory at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2009, just 11 weeks after giving birth. Matthew finished three strokes clear of three-time winner Karrie Webb and went on to captain Europe to back-to-back victories in the Solheim Cup, in 2019 and 2021.

Catriona Matthew holds aloft the AIG Women's Open trophy in 2009

A maiden women's major for Scotland

Spain (1984)

Marta Figueras-Dotti is the only golfer to have won the Championship and the Smyth Salver – awarded to the leading amateur – in the same year.

The Spaniard’s champagne moment came at Royal Birkdale in 1984, the first time the event had been held at an Open Championship venue.

Figueras-Dotti is the only woman from her country to have won the prestigious title, while she finished runner-up a joint-record three times.

Thailand (2016)

Ariya Jutanugarn became the first player from Thailand, male or female, to win major honours when she triumphed at Woburn in 2016, finishing three strokes clear of South Korea’s Mirim Lee.

Jutanugarn, who picked up a second major at the US Open two years later, finished third in the AIG Women’s Open in 2018 and was back inside the top 10 in 2021.