Minnesota welcomes top golfers to U.S. Women's Openby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
Edina, Minn. — The U.S. Women's Open golf tournament starts this morning at Interlachen Country Club in Edina.
Some of the world's best female golfers will have three days of practice before round one starts on Thursday.
Three-time champion Annika Sorenstam will play in her final U.S. Women's Open at Interlachen.
She will be hard to miss, even for those who aren't in attendance at the course.
Her first round will be streamed live on the tournament's Web site (www.uswomensopen.com), the first time that has happened in women's golf.
Fans on the Internet will be able to see every shot from Sorenstam and her two other playing partners -- Paula Creamer is expected to be one of them -- during the first round.
Live streaming in the second round will focus on the traditional pairing of defending champion Cristie Kerr, Women's British Open champion Lorena Ochoa and U.S. Women's Amateur champion Maria Uribe.
The tournament also puts Interlachen itself back in the spotlight.
The private club has hosted a number of national golf tournaments, most notably the 1930 men's U.S. Open. That's when the legendary Bobby Jones won the tournament at Interlachen en route to achieving golf's greatest feat, the Grand Slam.
Golf historian Daniel Wexler says Interlachen is a great course, but probably wouldn't be considered as prestigious if Jones hadn't won there.
"Jones really was the first American superstar. The media just took to him and the coverage he got was mind-boggling. It was really groundbreaking for golf," said Wexler. "He always carried himself in such a way that, even long after he was done competing, whenever he said anything or did anything it kind of took center stage."
Interlachen's golf pro Jock Olson said the course is in excellent shape, and will be very inviting for spectators.
"And we have gotten rid of some trees that were infringing on tees, greens, and fairways. And by that I mean when you have too much shade on a golf course the grass tends to not grow as well. So I think fans will enjoy being able to see across the golf course," Olson said.
The field of players also includes Hillary Lunke, who grew up just blocks from the course in Edina. Because of that connection, the USGA scheduled Lunke to start the entire tournament.
She played the opening shot off the first tee at 7 this morning. Gates open each day at 6:30 a.m. this week for spectators.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)