Many many congrats to Lilia Vu, the new world No 1 in the women’s game but most importantly the recently crowned AIG Women’s Open champion.  Alas, for English fans it wasn’t a nail-biter and although Vu and Charley Hull started the final round on the same mark it was Vu who took control early on and ran out the winner with a six-shot cushion.

That’s the last three majors that have registered that same margin of victory – Brian Harman in the Open Championship, Celine Boutier in the Amundi Evian Championship and last Sunday we had Vu enjoying that 18th hole walk at Walton Heath virtually jitter-free.  One regular tournament victory (in Thailand in February) followed up by two major wins in one season makes for astounding reading for the Californian native.  Yet, strange as it may seem, she suffered a monumental crisis of confidence mid-season, convinced that those first two wins were a fluke.  Who says sport isn’t mental – in every respect?

Lilia Vu – at the top of her game. [aigwomensopen.com]

And what about Charley Hull?  Two runner-ups in the season’s majors brings her closer than ever to her dream of lifting one of the big prizes in the game.  She’s adapted to a diagnosis of hyperactive ADHD and says she has learned her triggers.  It’s not easy juggling her medication as some of it is on the LPGA banned list.  Isn’t it oh-so-easy to forget, or not realise, that the wonderful sportspeople we watch on our screens frequently have life struggles off the course to deal with as well?

Despite Charley holing this bunker shot for an eagle on the 11th hole she could never quite catch the dominant Vu. [aigwomensopen.com]

Along with many others, I do believe Charley will win a major or two and, as sure as night follows day, inevitably a mention in a birthday or New Year’s honours list will ensue.  In the interests of transparency here I don’t believe ANYONE should get a gong for simply doing their job extremely well but that isn’t the way of things apparently.  And so I come to one of my long-standing topics for my soapbox.

Karen Stupples.  Or to put it more accurately – why is Karen the only one of the five female British major champions not to be honoured?  We have Laura Davies, aka the Dame, heading the list with four majors, then Ali Nicholas with one major – and a gong;  Catriona Mathew with one – and a gong;  and Georgia Hall with one – and a gong.  Well, you get the picture.  Stupples, who won the Women’s British Open at Sunningdale in 2004, has yet to be mentioned in dispatches.

My contention is that as she has resided in America virtually all of her adult life she has simply been overlooked – not by the Awards Office, I hasten to add, but by those in golf who should have been putting her name forward.  That is how the system operates – Karen’s club, county, country, home professional tour or other professional organisation needs to orchestrate and put forward a body of work to be considered by the Awards Office.  At the very least, surely the powers-that-be at England Golf should look into this?  They have three players thus honoured – why not the fourth?  (Point of info for the our non golf-tragic readers – Catriona Matthew is Scottish.)

Appearing on Golf Channel at an earlier Women’s British Open with Karen Stupples, centre and Tom Abbott.

Perhaps the R&A can help?  They are searching for, and promoting, women role models from all branches of the golf industry and here is a major champion under our noses.  Please, please consider this as a project to be pursued.  Don’t just assume someone else will do it thus allowing this fine player (and better person) to fall through the cracks.

Surprise, surprise but this topic got me thinking about our male major champions from Great Britain and Northern Ireland – in other words those who may qualify to be considered for these awards.  Since 1951 when Max Faulkner won the Open at Royal Portrush we have celebrated twelve male major winners.  By my reckoning they are as follows:  the aforementioned Max; Tony Jacklin (Open and US Open); Sandy Lyle (Open and Masters); Ian Woosnam (Masters); Nick Faldo (3 Masters and 3 Opens);  Paul Lawrie (Open);  Graeme McDowell (US Open);  Rory McIlroy (Open, US Open, 2 PGAs);  Darren Clarke (Open);   Justin Rose (US Open);  Danny Willett (Masters) and Matt Fitzpatrick (US Open).

Lists are dangerous things to put in blogs as you always run the risk of leaving someone out.  However, I’m very happy to be corrected by more knowledgeable and/or detail-orientated readers.  To the best of my own, somewhat streaky, knowledge Willett and Fitzpatrick, the most recent winners, are the only ones yet to have a medal pinned on them by royalty.

Perhaps, like Karen, their time will come.

It is certain, however, that Lilia Vu’s time is now and I hope she takes time to celebrate in fine style.  We will see her skills on this side of the Atlantic again very shortly.

Next up – Spain and the Solheim!