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Are the women being asked to follow the Lord Mayor's Show at Pinehurst?

Leafing through some yellowing, dog-eared school reports the other day, it became abundantly clear that many of my equally yellowing and dog-eared teachers from those carefree times of yore felt I was easily distracted.

Martin Kaymer celebrates after his emphatic US Open victory at Pinehurst. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Martin Kaymer celebrates after his emphatic US Open victory at Pinehurst. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Well, that's just a load of nonsense. This correspondent has always possessed the kind of intense, unwavering focus of a . . . ooooh look outside, there's a cooing pigeon roosting on a pensioner's bunnet. Okay, I'll admit that I have a fairly short attention span. In fact, my restless mind began to wander just then, halfway through typing the word 'span'.

Mercifully at this time of the year, there is plenty to keep a hattered head engaged. The second major championship of the season, the US Open, has just meandered to a processional conclusion. Usually, the day after the night before at these vast events is a scene of intolerable squalor. The stands are being razed to the ground, the tented village is being obliterated, the portaloos are going up in flames and the hard-working golf writers are shuffling around and reeking like a biblical zoo.

This week at Pinehurst, of course, it's slightly different. The stands are staying up, the tented village is getting hoovered, the loos are being sprayed with synthetic lavender and the golf writers are being deloused and sent back into the breach.

For the first time, the United States Golf Association is holding its two highest profile events - the US Open and the US Women's Open - in consecutive weeks on the same course. The men have had their moment. Now, after the kind of rapid scene-changing usually reserved for a West End musical, this interesting experiment continues with the good ladies taking centre stage. Or will they? After Martin Kaymer's majestic masterclass in North Carolina, will it still be a major attraction or very much a case of after the Lord Mayor's Show?

The party line is that this is an opportunity to promote the women's game. Critics will argue that the women have been shoved to the rear of the bus while high-ranking officials pat themselves on the back because of the money they are saving by having the infrastructure in place already instead of rattling it up at another venue. Will attendance be affected and will the women generally feel overshadowed by being second on the bill?

Imagine if the USGA had decided to host the men's showpiece after the women? Perish the thought. The pampered stars of the PGA Tour and beyond would no doubt have worked themselves into quite a lather over practice time and the general condition of the course after so much traffic. Instead, the women will have to muddle on with those concerns.

On this side of the pond, next month's Women's British Open will take place at Royal Birkdale, the week before the men's Open gets under way just down the road at Hoylake. The plus side of that is that the spotlight will be shining on England's golf coast in the build- up to the world's oldest major and, if the women can hop on to the bandwagon and tap into some of that attention, then great.

Of course, there is a problem. Because of the Commonwealth Games, the Women's Open is the event that has been bumped forward by a month for television purposes and will now go directly up against the Scottish Open, with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Jutin Rose all in star-studded attendance at Royal Aberdeen.

In terms of coverage and profile, it is an unfortunate and damaging clash. When you have two big hitters elbowing and jockeying for position in the limelight, one will be dunted to the sidelines.

But back to Pinehurst. The much-lauded and reworked No.2 course played at 7565 yards for the men. The women will be playing it at around 6649 yards. Prize money for the fellas was $8m. For the women it will be $3.25m. They will be playing something in the region of 88% of the course that was set out for the men but they will be competing for around 40% of the pay packet. There remains a lot of work to do on the female financial front.

The chances, meanwhile, of a Kaymer-style demolition job being repeated again this week may be remote. The rejuvenated German's majestic eight-shot romp was a spectacular illustration of a player in complete control of his golfing senses. In the last three years, Kaymer has soared to the top of the world rankings and plummeted outside the leading 60. He took the brave decision to overhaul his swing and this second coming speaks volumes for his mental fortitude.

Some doom mongers may have questioned that resolve during his slump but he has emphatically proved the doubters wrong. "How good are the Germans at penalty shoot-outs?" noted his Glaswegian caddie, Craig Connelly, after his boss holed the nerve-jangling putt that completed Europe's Miracle of Medinah in the 2012 Ryder Cup. "When it comes to the crunch, they hold their nerve."

There may be one or two nervous characters in the USGA this week as their bold experiment with back-to-back majors continues to unravel. Forward-thinking or foolhardy? Only time will tell.

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