The trophy for the U.S. Women's Open golf championship has piled up a lot of travel miles since Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn hoisted it late Sunday in Birmingham, Ala.
Jutanugarn, who prevailed in a four-hole playoff with South Korea's Hyo-Joo Kim, traveled with the trophy to New York on Monday for a series of promotional appearances. Later in the day, she had to give up possession of the trophy so U.S. Golf Association officials could bring it to Charleston and officially kick off the run up to 2019 U.S. Women's Open that will be played May 30-June 2 at the Country Club of Charleston.
"We ultimately had a wonderful national championship in Birmingham but as (New England Patriots coach) Bill Belichick says, on to the next," USGA Championships Director Matt Sawicki said Tuesday at a USGA presentation held at Charleston Municipal Golf Course.
Sawicki emphasized that the tournament isn't just about the best 156 professional and amateur women's golfers in the world, but a chance to showcase Charleston with television coverage carrying the event to more than 100 countries.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said the 2019 Women's Open "accentuates what golf means to the Charleston community" and reminded those gathered for the event that golf was first played in America in Charleston as early as 1739.
Frank Ford III, General Chairman of the 2019 U.S. Women's Open, said women's golf has always been a priority at the Country Club of Charleston, which traces its history to 1900.
"Women's golf has been at the core of our club from the beginning," Ford said, pointing out that World Golf Hall of Fame member Beth Daniel learned the game at the Country Club of Charleston and continues supporting golf with the Beth Daniel Junior Azalea each year for young male and female players.
Sawicki noted that ticket sales are now open with special pricing in effect until July 4. Prices begin as low as $20 for practice rounds and juniors 18 and younger will be admitted free with a ticketed adult.
The USGA's Mobile Marketing Unit also arrived Tuesday and will be utilized at various locations throughout the area for the coming year with interactive displays as well as a replica of the Women's Open trophy.
Sawicki said the event needs approximately 1,500 volunteers. Volunteer registration is online at uswomensopen.com/2019.