5 Burning Questions For This Week's Women's British Open

Michelle Wie matched her best result of the year in the U.S. Women's Open, and Lydia Ko is coming off a fourth-place finish in Scotland. Getty Images

The fourth of five 2015 LPGA major championships, the Ricoh Women's British Open will be held Thursday-Sunday on the Ailsa course at Trump Turnberry Resort on Scotland's southwestern coast.

It is the second time the event has been played at Turnberry, best known as the site of Tom Watson's stirring victory over Jack Nicklaus in the 1977 Open Championship and Watson's second-place finish in the 2009 Open at age 59, when he led going to the final hole. Australian Karrie Webb won the Women's British at Turnberry in 2002, a year after the championship had been designated an LPGA major.

Established stars and upstarts have made an impact so far this season on the LPGA Tour. Here are five questions in advance of the Women's British Open, where American Mo Martin will defend her inspiring victory of a year ago.

1. What can we expect from injury-riddled Michelle Wie?

Wie, 25, matched her best result of the year in the U.S. Women's Open at Lancaster Country Club, finishing 11th despite continuing to be hampered by injuries that caused her to limp noticeably at times. Wie did not play in the past two events, the Marathon Classic and Meijer LPGA Classic, in an effort to recover from bursitis in her left hip and a bone spur in her left foot that have been plaguing her for several months.

She seemed in good spirits during a Monday morning practice round in Scotland, tweeting, "Team Wie is loving Turnberry so far!!"

It will be interesting to see if the rest has helped Wie, who also has dramatically revamped her stance with instructor David Leadbetter -- making it much narrower -- to take stress off her left side. Wie has shown an admirably gritty spirit in competing while she has been hurt, but she needs to heal to play the kind of winning golf she did in the first half of 2014.

2. Do those who played last week in Scotland have an edge?

Much is made each summer of the men who do or don't play in Great Britain the week prior to the Open Championship. By winning the Claret Jug two weeks ago on the Old Course after competing at the John Deere Classic in Illinois, Zach Johnson offered a rebuke to those who say arriving earlier abroad is a plus. (Two years ago, Phil Mickelson notably won the Scottish Open the week before capturing the Open at Muirfield.)

The debate about which strategy is best is relevant this week, too. While the Meijer LPGA Classic was being contested in Michigan last week, the Ladies Scottish Open, a Ladies European Tour stop, was held at Dundonald Links in Scotland.

Two LPGA stars, World No. 2 Lydia Ko and No. 6 Suzann Pettersen, passed up Michigan for Ayrshire and had good weeks -- Ko tying for fourth place and Pettersen finishing second.

For Ko, it was her third top-six finish in her past four tournaments -- she tied for 12th in the U.S. Women's Open in the other -- which should give her some confidence at Turnberry. When Ko won her seventh career LPGA title the week she turned 18 earlier this year, a major victory seemed imminent. But she went through a rough patch going into the Women's PGA, where she missed the first cut of her LPGA career. Her game is trending in the right direction again now, though, and she could be a serious factor this week.

A victory at Turnberry or in the Evian Championship next month would make Ko the youngest winner of an LPGA major, which would be fitting given her teenage success.

3. Will young Brooke Henderson continue to impress?

It will be no surprise if the Canadian teenager is in contention at Turnberry, where she is playing on a special exemption. Henderson, 17, has authored a compelling story on the LPGA Tour in 2015, where she has no status but has played well enough in appearances through weekly qualifying and sponsor exemptions to climb to 32nd in the latest Rolex Rankings.

Henderson was solo fifth at the KPMG Women's PGA and tied for fifth at the U.S. Women's Open -- the latter after being bruised in a car accident the previous week -- showing a fondness and talent for major competition.

The key number for Henderson as an LPGA nonmember is 40. If, when the season has been completed, she has earned the equivalent of 40th place on the LPGA money list, she will earn a 2016 tour card and not have to go through the qualifying tournament. Henderson has won $458,866 in LPGA events, which would put her 20th in earnings if she was a tour member. At the end of last year, it took $447,658 to finish 40th, although purses have gone up.

If Henderson plays well this week in a tournament with a $3 million purse, it will go a long way toward solidifying her exempt status for 2016.

4. Who could be this week's In Gee Chun?

In Gee Chun's victory at the U.S. Women's Open surprised some people, but the 20-year-old South Korean was a proven winner in Asia before outplaying everyone at Lancaster Country Club. Her victory reiterated the international flavor of the women's game and was a reminder that players need not be LPGA regulars to win on the game's biggest stages.

If you're looking for someone slightly under the radar who could pull off a similar win at Turnberry, keep an eye on Jin-Young Ko. Chun's fellow 20-year-old hasn't won as often as Chun in Korea but is a player to watch, ranked 28th in the world. (Chun was 20th prior to the U.S. Open.)

Since the Women's British became a major in 2001, South Koreans have won it four times, the most of any nation. World No. 1 Inbee Park is a favorite, of course, but as Chun demonstrated earlier this month, the other players on the Korean LPGA Tour have plenty of talent, too.

5. Can Stacy Lewis eliminate big numbers and break her drought?

Lewis had two double-bogeys during a final-round 70 at the U.S. Women's Open, where she tied for third, three shots behind Chun. With a par and a bogey on those two holes, Lewis would have been in a playoff.

Inbee Park, who also tied for third, can also look at the U.S. Women's Open as one that got away because of her uncharacteristically mediocre putting. But no one is more due to win than Lewis, who last lifted a trophy more than a year ago at the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship.

Since that triumph, her 11th LPGA title, Lewis has eight top-three finishes, six in 2015. It is a testament to Lewis' talent that she has kept getting in position to win, but she needs to close the deal. The Women's British, where she won in memorable style at St. Andrews in 2013, could be the perfect place for Lewis to regain her winning touch.