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‘It’s gotta be the Dior shoes’: Mina Harigae dials in at US Women’s Open

Mina Harigae lines up a putt on the 17th hole during the first round of the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open. (David Cannon/Getty Images)

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. — After Mina Harigae’s press conference Thursday evening, not long after she shot a seven-under par 64 to take a one-shot lead in the opening round of the U.S. Women’s Open, she divulged the magic behind her career-best round at the major.

“It’s gotta be the Dior shoes, for sure,” Harigae said, laughing.

The Jordan Brand aficionado received a pair of custom Jordan Diors from her agent, Alex Guerrero, during a practice round on Tuesday afternoon at Pine Needles Golf Club. The gesture was the result of the 32-year-old’s year-long journey with the brand.

Guerrero primarily works with professional male athletes and is used to his clients receiving free products. So, he sent a note to Jordan Brand explaining that Harigae had felt comfortable playing in Jordan ADG golf shoes during U.S. Women’s Open qualifying last year. From there, Jordan started a relationship with Harigae, while she and her fiancé and caddie, Travis Kreiter, became full-blown Jordan sneakerheads.

“I got about 10 new pairs in the last like two months,” Harigae said Thursday. “But Travis has way more.”

Kreiter said he has about 50-60 pairs of shoes, but the new Diors are his favorite because of their exclusivity. Guerrero ordered a pair of Jordan 1 lows and sent them to shoe artist Tyler Liber so he could customize them for the couple. The gift acknowledges how far they’ve come in the last year, over a decade since Harigae made her U.S. Women’s Open debut at Pine Needles Golf Club in 2007 at just 17 years old.

“Feeling wanted and loved is half the battle in this game,” Guerrero said.

The couple received the shoes Tuesday after a delayed redeye flight out of Phoenix pushed their arrival time back a day. Instead of worrying, they focused on what they needed to do to prepare for Day 1.

Krieter walked the opening eight holes to scout the renovated Pine Needles track, and Harigae practiced.

“In my eyes, a lot of times it’s easy to get stressed at majors,” Kreiter said. “The longer you’re here, the worse it is sometimes.”

On the range, they recognized the gap in distance between Harigae’s driver and three-wood might be too much for the week. So they worked with Harigae’s club sponsor, PXG’s club representative Scotty Kim, to tweak her three-wood setup. They tried out four separate shafts before deciding to increase her shaft length from 43 to 43.5 inches, and switch out her Ventus Blue shaft to a Ventus Red shaft to maximize height and carry.

“Because Mina has great tempo, I thought that she would be able to manage the slightly longer club length,” Kim wrote in a text.

With the changes, Harigae increased her ball speed, peak height and total distance without relinquishing any control. On Wednesday, Harigae got her first taste of the course after its 2021 renovation, playing the final 10 holes for the first time in 15 years when she finished T-66 at the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open.

The three-wood adjustments gave Harigae a boost right away on Thursday afternoon. Her second shot on the first hole, a 507-yard par-5, sat 224 yards away from the front. Instead of leaving an awkward 20-yard pitch shot, Harigae hit her three wood and ended up 4 yards from the front of the green. The Monterey, Calif. native chipped it to within 8 feet of the cup with a bump-and-run sand wedge, setting her up to make her first of nine birdies during the round.

“I do that a ton,” Harigae said when asked about not playing all 18 holes before the first round. “I think it’s just more keeping the ball in front of me, picking conservative-ish targets and not going at pins.

“Honestly, any golf course, any tournament, as long you hit it where Travis tells me to go, I feel like I’m good to go.”

Harigae slotted in PXG’s “Hercules” model during the Bank of Hope LPGA match play last week, which Kreiter received the Friday before the Las Vegas tournament. Kreiter recalled the last time Harigae used his putter, she finished in second place at the 2021 Marathon Classic.

“You can steal my putter as long as you keep making birdies,” Kreiter joked.

Harigae's PXG's "Hercules" putter, as shown by fiancé Travis Keiter (Kent Paisley/Just Women's Sports)

They polished off their preparations by having her hold her putter more level, which led to more consistency on the greens. On Thursday, she recorded 24 putts, her lowest total since hitting 23 in the opening round of the Honda LPGA Thailand in March.

“She’s been closer than results have shown,” Kreiter said. “Even the 12th-place finish, we didn’t make hardly anything outside of 10 feet.”

After recording her first round in the 60s at the U.S. Women’s Open in 37 rounds, the 13-year veteran heads into Friday’s round with the first 18-hole lead of her LPGA career. Harigae, however, isn’t letting herself look too far ahead. With her Jordans on, she plans to stay present on one of the grandest stages in golf.

“Just being appreciative of where I am, really taking in the moment, but at the same time, not trying to put so much precedent on how big the moment is,” Harigae said. “It’s another day on the golf course, another hole.”

Kent Paisley is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering golf and the LPGA. He also contributes to Golf Digest. Follow him on Twitter @KentPaisley.

The Women’s Cup Finalizes 2024 Tournament With Chile’s Colo Colo

Patricia Padium (L) of Brazils Audax/Corinthians, vies for the ball with Claudia Soto of Chile's Colo Colo during the Women Copa Libertadores final match
The addition of the Chilean side rounds out the Cup's four-team field. (FAVIO FALCON/AFP via Getty Images)

The Women’s Cup field has been finalized, with Chilean club Colo Colo joining the four-team field. 

Colo Colo will join Racing Louisville of the NWSL along with Italy's Juventus and Brazil's Palmeiras at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville from August 9th through 13th. 

The tournament will have a $100,000 prize pool.

"We are honored to have Colo-Colo as the first Chilean Team to play in The Women’s Cup," said J.P. Reynal, CEO of The Women’s Cup, in yesterday's press release. "Women’s soccer has seen exponential growth in South America and having two of the best teams in the region participating in this year’s tournament is proof they can compete with the top teams from Europe and the United States."

"We are pleased to be considered in this important championship for women’s soccer and very proud that Colo-Colo is one of the most important exponents of this discipline in Chile," echoed Enzo Caszely, president of women’s football at Colo-Colo. "As a club, we have been pioneers in its professionalization at a national level, and this instance is proof of it."

Juventus and Colo-Colo will square off on Friday, August 9th at 5 PM ET followed by Racing Louisville and Palmeiras at 8 PM ET. Tickets can be purchased now via both The Women's Cup's and Racing Lousiville's websites.

This is Racing Louisville's third time featuring in the competition. The team won The Women's Cup's first iteration in 2021, beating German side FC Bayern in penalty kicks at Lynn Family Stadium. The Seattle Reign claimed The Women's Cup in 2022.

The Kansas City Current will also host a Women’s Cup tournament from August 14th through the 17th. The winners of each 2024 tournament will then face each other in the Global Series Finals, scheduled for February 2025.

PWHL Draft Spurs Controversy for League Champs Minnesota

pwhl draft first pick Sarah Fillier
PWHL New York kicked off the 2024 PWHL Draft by selecting Princeton's Sarah Fillier No. 1 overall. (PWHL)

The 2024 PWHL Draft took place on Tuesday, with Princeton and Canadian national team forward Sarah Fillier going first overall to PWHL New York. 

New York also added two defenders and a goaltender, as well as three forwards to make seven solid additions to next season's roster. 

But it was first-ever PWHL champions Minnesota that created the most buzz, with the draft happening just three days after they announced the abrupt departure of general manager Natalie Darwitz following a league review. 

With the 9th overall pick, PWHL Minnesota took Team USA forward Britta Curl. Fans immediately took to the internet to voice their concerns, citing Curl's social media activity. In the past, Curl had "liked" posts on X that targeted the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly transgender individuals. Her activity also showed support for Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old Wisconsin man who shot three unarmed people, two fatally, during a 2020 Black Lives Matter protest.

When asked about the pick — and whether or not he had consulted with any members of the LGBTQIA+ community prior to making the pick — PWHL Minnesota coach Ken Klee opted to defend Curl.

"Did I speak to anyone from the community? I talk with players, with coaches. That’s tough to answer for me," Klee said. "I spoke with a lot of different people. I mean, at the end of the day, I was told she’s a great teammate, a great person. She’s obviously a great player."

The team also had PWHL Minnesota assistant coach Mira Jalosuo, who is married to a woman, announce the pick.

"We have people in that community and obviously Mira making that selection for us, I think that speaks volumes for us," Klee added. "We were just trying to pick the best players available. I wouldn’t want anything to take away from any of those players' experience. It’s unfortunate a little bit at the beginning, but again, it’s okay. People are entitled to their opinion."

Washington Mystics Snap 12-Game Losing Streak

Brittney Sykes #20 of the Washington Mystics shoots the ball during the game against the Atlanta Dream during the 2024 WNBA Commissioner's Cup game on June 11, 2024
Washington guard Brittney Sykes returned from injury Tuesday night to post a game-high 18 points. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Washington Mystics snapped a team-record 12-game losing streak on Tuesday, taking home their first win of the season over the Atlanta Dream. 

Brittney Sykes returned from injury and made an immediate impact with game-high 18 points, four assists, and three rebounds. As a team, Washington shot over 50% from behind the arc.

"The feel is it's been coming," coach Eric Thibault said after the game. "I said the other night that we're turning into a good basketball team and we just haven't had the wins to show for it yet. We've been playing better basketball now for a while.

"We're obviously shooting well, but I think the quality of the shots we're getting is really good."

Still, the team’s slow start isn't exactly in the rearview mirror. With star forward Elena Delle Donne sitting this season out, the Mystics were always predicted to face an uphill climb in what has been described as a rebuilding year. 

But with a franchise-worst 0-12 record to kick off the 2024 season, the Mystics are likely on track for a lottery pick. However, Washington can point to positive performances from star draft pick Aaliyah Edwards and league newcomer Julie Vanloo.

Elsewhere in the WNBA, the Las Vegas Aces continued their skid with a surprising 100-86 upset courtesy of the Minnesota Lynx. The reigning WNBA champions were shorthanded this week, falling to 5-5 on the season despite MVP-level play from A'ja Wilson, who scored 28 points in Tuesday's loss.

Minnesota shot over 55% as a team, with Alanna Smith leading the team with 18 points. The game marked the Aces' first three-game losing streak since 2019.

"This is a long, long, long season," Wilson said in her postgame remarks. "I'm not going to press the panic button. I'm still going to bet on us. I know exactly what's in that locker room."

Aces stalwart Chelsea Gray has been out with injury since last year's WNBA Finals run. And while she told reporters on Tuesday that she's set to return before the Olympic break, the team can’t get her back soon enough as they continue to struggle with depth. 

"I don't want them thinking too much; then you get paralysis [by] analysis," coach Becky Hammon said. "We're just not being solid in our base. Just be solid defensively. We're not a very good team right now, that's just reality. But we know we can get better. I still have a lot of belief in this ball club."

USA Women’s Basketball Releases Olympic Roster, Explains Clark’s Omission

USA Women's Basketball's Diana Taurasi #12, Brittney Griner #15 and Sabrina Ionescu #6 at April's National Team Training Camp
All the players tapped for this year's Olympic roster have senior national team experience. (Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

USA Women's Basketball announced its official Olympic roster on Tuesday, with officials noting that Caitlin Clark’s lack of national team experience played a key role in her omission.

Selection committee chair Jen Rizzotti said that the committee evaluated players according to a set of on-court criteria they were given.

"When you base your decision on criteria, there were other players that were harder to cut because they checked a lot more boxes," she told reporters on Tuesday. "Then sometimes it comes down to position, style of play for [coach Cheryl Reeve] and then sometimes a vote."

Three first-time Olympians made the squad: Alyssa Thomas, Sabrina Ionescu, and Kahleah Copper. Additionally, Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum will make the switch to the national 5-on-5 team after winning gold in the inaugural 3×3 competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Age, Rizzotti said, was "never brought up" in player selection discussions. It’s the first time in Olympic history that a USA Women’s Basketball 5-on-5 team will travel to the Games without a single player under 26 years old.

Rizzotti commented that all the players tapped for this year's Olympic roster have senior national team experience, something that Clark does not have.

"She's certainly going to continue to get better and better," USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley added. "Really hope that she's a big part of our future going forward."

Rizzotti said it would have been "irresponsible" to base roster decisions on anything outside of a basketball context. Marketing and popularity were not on the selection committee’s list of criteria. 

"It would be irresponsible for us to talk about her in a way other than how she would impact the play of the team," Rizzotti said. "Because it wasn't the purview of our committee to decide how many people would watch or how many people would root for the US. It was our purview to create the best team we could for Cheryl."

Clark expressed that she'll be using what some consider a snub as fuel for a run at the 2028 Olympic team. 

"I think it just gives you something to work for," Clark told media after practice Sunday. "It's a dream. Hopefully one day I can be there. I think it's just a little more motivation. You remember that. Hopefully when four years comes back around, I can be there."

Watch more: "Were Caitlin Clark and Arike Ogunbowale snubbed?" on Expert Adjacent

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