Karine Icher has hit out at the USGA for not granting her the same special maternity exemption offered to American duo Stacy Lewis and Brittany Lincicome.
Icher, 40, requested an exemption into this year’s US Women’s Open after giving birth to her second child on November 3.
That request was denied, much to the frustration of the four-time Solheim Cup star, who had seen Lewis and Lincicome offered similar exemptions into the second women’s major of the season.
“The USGA is changing their rules for next year, but they’re already applying them to this year, after the deadline for entering the US Women’s Open has passed,” Icher told the Golf Channel. “I don’t understand how that’s fair to do, after entries were closed.
“Stacy and I had our babies a week apart. If they’re going to do this, why didn’t they do it for all the players who had babies?”
The top 50 players on the Rolex Women’s World Rankings are exempt into this year’s US Women’s Open. When Lewis left the game to prepare for the birth of her daughter last year, she was ranked 33rd. Lincicome, who is also inside the top 50, received the same offer but turned it down.
Icher, by contrast, was ranked 95th when she left the tour to prepare to give birth.
However, she pointed to the fact that, in 2011, she gave up her place in the US Women’s Open to give birth to her first child and didn’t get her spot back the following year when she was able to play.
“With this baby boom, a lot of players are learning how hard it is to come back after having a baby,” added Icher. “I asked if the LPGA board could grandfather me into the new policy, but I never heard anything back.”
There is, however, a happy ending to all this: Icher went to US Women’s Open sectional qualifying this week, which she won by five shots to take the lone spot available to the 35 entrants.