Newport was a winning venue 

July, 3, 2006
NEWPORT, R.I. -- After four rounds and an additional Monday playoff here at the 61st U.S. Women's Open, I'm convinced of two things: (1) Annika Sorenstam is still the top player in the world; and (2) You couldn't ask for a better setting for a major championship than this picturesque seaside town on the coast of Rhode Island.

I'll admit I didn't know much about Newport Country Club before making the trek this week -- only that it hosted the first-ever USGA championship in 1895 and hasn't held an event of much stature since the 1995 U.S. Amateur -- but I was enamored with the old-style links course upon first glimpse.

With blustery winds blowing in from the ocean and tall, fescue-like grass outside of the primary cut of rough, the venue had the feel of a British Open rather than a U.S.-based tournament, a motion many players seconded in giving their blessings on the course.

Jason Sobel | email

ESPN Senior Writer