The Mizuho Americas Open is becoming the tournament on the LPGA schedule that all others should be looking to emulate. Here's why...

This week, a tournament flying a little under the radar is the second playing of the Mizuho Americas Open. Hosted by golf icon Michelle Wie West at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey really is a one-of-a-kind event on the LPGA Tour.

Alongside the 120 LPGA tour players, 24 AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) girls will get the opportunity to play in an LPGA Tour event, amongst their idols.

Here’s how it works:

  • 120 LPGA Pros and 24 AJGA Juniors will play two separate tournaments, with AJGA using Stableford Scoring all four rounds and playing from different yardages
  • During Rounds 1 & 2, AJGA juniors will all be paired together
  • After 36 holes, LPGA will cut to low 50 and ties; there is no cut for the AJGA Juniors
  • During Rounds 3 & 4, one AJGA junior will play with two LPGA Tour pros with groupings made based on scores (ie. the AJGA player with the lowest score will play with the lowest scoring LPGA pros)

This event is being played a month earlier than its June date last year, which unfortunately has led to a clash with the men’s second Major of the season.

Whilst we could dwell on the negatives of this situation, the main one being the lack of eyes that will be watching, there are a lot of positives associated with this event, which is only in its second year.

Michelle Wie West

Tournament host Michelle Wie West has been on quite the PR run to gain as much exposure for the event, even appearing on Jimmy Fallon on Monday night. At a press conference on Tuesday, she explained further why this event is so special:

“Rose won last week so really excited about that. Seems like her game is really gearing up for this week, so we love to see that. And year two, I mean, year one was an absolute success, but we're coming back even stronger for year two.

“It's really cool to see how excited the players were to come back. That's just something that we all as tournament staff can feel so proud of. We've really done something so exceptional last year. We were the first to cover all the players' hotel rooms domestically in the U.S. Over the past year it's really fun to see how many other tournaments have followed suit. That was something that I was kind of talking over and over again the first year, is we want to raise the standard of how tournaments are run.

“I felt like we showed everyone the first year, and year two, you know, it's even better. It's just so amazing to see how excited the sponsors are, Mizuho is, how excited Liberty National is to have us. It just makes me as tournament host, the players as players, just feel so happy and welcome.

“I'm really excited. A lot of new juniors in the field, which was really fun to see them yesterday as well. But iconic players, iconic venue, iconic format. I think it's going to be a great year.”

That’s not to mention the increase in the prize fund to $3 million.

Defending Champion Rose Zhang

Defending Champion Rose Zhang, who had the perfect start to her professional career by winning this event last year, on her professional debut, comes into the week off the back of winning down the road at the Cognizant Founders Cup.

Zhang has been helping to promote the event in advance of the week and has been enjoying the experience:

“It was super fun. I've been in Jersey now for almost two weeks, and I think the media day went super well. Yana, Michelle, and I had so much fun. Went to the Yankee Stadium and I think even being at Liberty we just had a good time.

“It's always an honor to be able to come back, especially now I guess I'm not really a rookie anymore considering this is the first event that I played in back then. I guess it's a little bit of a start to I guess more familiar territory.

“At the same time, I mean, it's so incredible coming back and also seeing Michelle and everything she's doing and all she's accomplishing. I'm really grateful to have her as not only a friend, but also someone to look up to.”

Nelly Korda makes her debut

World Number one Nelly Korda is making her debut in this event and comes in with a little less pressure on her shoulders after not making it six in a row last weekend. There’s no doubt she can only see the positives of this week:

“Not getting to play it last year I see what all the hype was about. It's just a different feel getting to also take your mind off golf after the day and going out into the city, eating dinner, and just kind of recharging your batteries in a sense.

“I'm really excited for the week. It's been already a really fun week. I can't wait to be a foodie for the rest of the week mainly and play this amazing track.”

View the full leaderboard from the Mizuho Americas Open here.