The Inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open: A Q&A with Alicia Dibos
Alicia Dibos (Photo: Chris Keane/USGA)
As one of 120 women to compete in the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open Championship at Chicago Golf Club in July, Winged Foot Golf Club director of instruction Alicia Dibos soaked in every bit of the special experience. While Dibos, a native of Peru, is a former LPGA Tour player and has plenty of competitive experience, the opportunity to once again compete in a national championship fueled her drive to maintain her own game, in addition to keeping a busy teaching schedule.
Simply put, her planning and training paid off as Dibos—who has been on staff at Winged Foot since 2002—finished tied for 12th in the championship. Following her performance, we caught up with Dibos to learn more about her experience of competing in the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open.
What did it mean for you to compete in the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open?
I was exempt to play and compete in the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open. It was the best prize I’ve received in my 45 years playing golf. It’s the culmination of many years of work and determination. I was so proud to get the USGA card in the mail. It’s framed forever!
How were you able to balance your preparation for the championship with your teaching schedule?
As soon as I realized that I was going to play in such special event, I organized myself to practice. Also, physically, I wanted to be in better shape. I hope that the USGA knows the impact that a Senior Women's Open created amongst us. Players who love to compete, who love teaching the game, and who have dedicated our life to golf were motivated to practice with a goal and to be in shape to face the pressure and endurance of a U.S. Open Championship.
When I have a tournament coming up, I organize my lesson book so I can practice an hour a day. I also play with the Winged Foot members on the weekends. Of course, playing Winged Foot at least once a week keeps your game in good shape. For the U.S. Open, I played nine holes late in the day, hitting few shots to greens and few approach shots around the greens.
Which aspects of your game do you feel were strongest in leading to your T-12 finish?
I believe that driving the ball well and putting well is the key to scoring well. At Winged Foot, I hit many drives on the driving range and do putting drills. At the U.S. Open, I probably missed just few fairways and putted well.
What is your most memorable shot from the championship?
My first shot at the U.S. Open was an 8-iron on the 10th hole during Tuesday’s practice round. I had a hole-in-one! Too bad that it happened during a practice round, but it still was fun and memorable. Also, having Nancy Lopez as an Official Starter to the event was priceless.
As a former LPGA Tour player, you have plenty of experience competing in big events, but how did it feel to once again compete in a national championship?
I’ve been playing competitive golf for many years. I played in a few U.S. Opens and British Opens and many Met Opens. Thanks to the Legends Tour—it’s the Senior Tour of the LPGA created by Jane Blalock—we are still competing for good purses. The pressure is always there. The intensity is always there. For a good reason, when you play in a U.S. Open, the pressure and intensity elevates to a level that’s hard to explain. I prepared mentally for this event. I worked hard physically; I meditated and felt really strong walking the fairways at Chicago Golf Club.
What will you remember most from the week at Chicago Golf Club?
What I will remember and be grateful about the first U.S. Senior Women’s Open is the fact that on Tuesday all participants gathered for dinner and the USGA recognized all the USGA winners from the past. We celebrated women’s golf, and the USGA made it clear to honor all of us. I was proud to be among all those players who have made history in women’s golf.
The 2020 U.S. Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club will be here before we know it—what are you looking forward to about that week as someone from the host club?
Winged Foot will be hosting the U.S. Open for the 6th time. I am thrilled to be part of the Winged Foot family to host such a prestigious event. Winged Foot is a club of tradition and history and our members recognize the importance and privilege to keep the club making history. It will be phenomenal!