Redemption For One-Shot In The Arm For All
If you would have told me a month ago that I would be blogging about the LPGA, I’d have laughed at you. To say I have not exactly been an ardent supporter of that tour and ladies golf would be an hilarious insult to the meaning of “not exactly.”
I think it started to change when I played in the Symetra Classic Pro-Am at Raintree Country Club last month (the Symetra Tour is the LPGA’s “minor league”). There, I spent 4-5 hours with Brittany Altamore, one of the top players on that tour. I believe she is currently ranked 8th on their money list with the top 10 making it to the LPGA tour next year. Anyway, she was a complete delight to play and to hang out with.
About that time, I saw-on accident-the last nine holes of the the LPGA Tour’s first major in which Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson, two American golfers, were battling it out for the title.
That, to me, has been the problem with the ladies tour. It has been seemingly dominated by Korean women. Nothing against Korea, but it just doesn’t interest me to care for people who I don’t know, can’t pronounce their names, and don’t speak my language. Look, I know that makes me the stereotypical, ugly American, but I’m just being honest.
NOW though…there were young, attractive ladies-CRUSHING the golf ball in the heat of Major Championship (The Kraft Nabisco Championship), AND they are American! On that day, Lexi Thompson was awesome and proved to be too much for Michelle Wie.
Well, come the weekend at the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst #2 and these two were at it again! GREAT TV. Not only that, some history as well.
First, the wonderful Lucy Li at age 11, not only qualified for the Open, but charmed us all in her press conferences and dazzled us with her playing ability (she broke 80-TWICE-shooting 78, 78).
Then, Julie Inkster, a World Golf Hall of Famer, playing in her last U.S. Open, turned back the clock at age 53 and fired the low round of the tournament, a four-under-par 66, on Saturday. All great champions seem to be able to muster one, last great round to remind us all of who they are and have been.
At the end of the day on Saturday, unlike the previous major, Michelle bested Lexi and seemed poised to claim her first major title on Sunday.
What a long, strange trip it’s been for the former child prodigy-of whom so much has been expected and unrealized to this point. Her parents (specifically her father) have been the poster for what NOT to do in their position, and at times she has seemed like a little girl, lost.
All of that changed yesterday as Michelle Wie, a grown woman at 24 (playing in her 13th U.S. Open!) struck a redemptive blow in claiming her 4th professional title and 1st Major Championship.
Additionally, Stacy Lewis (the world’s #1 ranked player and an American) finished 2nd. In fact, of the top 8 finishers, American golf claimed 3 spots. I can’t remember the last time that happened.
Perhaps, the LPGA can turn the corner and build upon this momentum.
Perhaps, this is the launching pad for Michelle Wie as a professional and she can go on a big run of success.
Perhaps, American professional ladies golf has found a bright spot that it hasn’t enjoyed in many years.
And no perhaps about it, should all this be true, the game of golf will be better for it.
-Charlie Nance (@WFNZGolfGuy on Twitter)