Klára Davidson Spilková: The British Open has a completely different atmosphere.
This year marks exactly ten years since Czech professional golfer Klára Davidson Spilková played her first Women’s Open. In 2013, she made her debut at the most sacred golf site of the Old Course at St. Andrews. In the following years, the Czech number one returned to the Women’s Open several times, when the competition was always played in Scotland. However, this year brings a change. “We’re playing in England, near London, and the tournament has a completely different atmosphere than what I’m used to from Scotland, but perhaps it’s also thanks to better weather,” Davidson Spilková commented on her first impressions from Surrey, England.
“Every time I come back to the Women’s Open, it’s a big thing for me, but this year will be even more special. I’ve never played the British Open in England before. I have always played it in Scotland, where it was always cold, with freezing winds and rain. Now we’re playing near London, and the forecast promises summer weather without rain. Also, being in the starting field of such a significant tournament is a great honour in its own right, and I’m excited that I’ve qualified for this major. I’m really looking forward to the first round,” the player commented from the United Kingdom.
This year’s tournament is held at the Walton Heath Golf Club, which celebrated its 120th anniversary on 5 August. The old 18-hole course, which will celebrate its own milestone next year, was designed and built by the legendary Englishman William Herbert Fowler, who gained fame for redesigning the 18-hole at Pebble Beach or for his distinctive flat-bottomed bunkers.
“It looks that the course might suit me, and I really like it. The holes are clear, and although some of the sand traps are a bit hidden, they’re not the deep Scottish pot bunkers but rather the kind I’m familiar with from my home course, PGA National. This course has one interesting feature – instead of tall grass, there are flowers growing here. They’re beautiful, but it’s tough to play from them. Staying on the fairway will be crucial. There are also relatively large greens that aren’t particularly wavy, but there’s usually at least one elevated spot on each of them,” the professional golfer described the course.
Davidson Spilková is returning to the Women’s Open after three long years. She last played the British championship in 2020 in Ayrshire at the Royal Troon course, finishing just two shots below the cut line.
“Just today I was thinking about where I actually played my very first British Open, and it was at St. Andrews, where it’s supposed to be held next year as well. It would be great to qualify and return to the Old Course. It’s crazy how time flies,” the player reminisced.
Davidson Spilková will start the tournament on Thursday at 10:15 local time. The draw placed her in a group with last year’s winner of the Madrid Ladies Open and the second-ranked player of the LET Race to Costa del Sol ranking, Ana Peláez Triviño of Spain, as well as the 2006 US Girls Junior champion and LPGA Tour player, Jenny Shin of South Korea. Like the men, all players traditionally start from hole number 1.
“I got lucky with the draw, and I’ll be teeing off later in the morning, so I’ll finally get a bit more sleep before the competition round and won’t have to be up at four in the morning. I still have a sleep deficit from Scotland. I’ll be on the course with Ana [Peláez Triviño], with whom I’ve played several times this year, and she’s a very pleasant partner. I don’t know Jenny [Shin] that well, but I think it will be fine with her too. I can’t wait for Thursday,” Davidson Spilková commented on her tournament draw.
Klára Davidson Spilková’s tournament schedule:
10 –13 August 2023 AIG Women’s Open, Surrey, England
17 –20 August 2023 ISPS HANDA World Invitational, Antrim, Northern Ireland
31 August – 3 September 2023 KPMG Women’s Irish Open, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Ireland