As a dude who walks 18 holes with a loaded cart bag (snacks and such, ya know), I used to be a bit embarrassed to admit I follow the LPGA Tour.
Okay, I was a lot embarrassed. It was as hard for me to admit as coming clean with the fact that I’ve seen Rick Springfield in concert three times, but there it is.
I could point out the usual excuses for my interest—short skirts and Natalie Gulbis—but that wouldn’t be entirely true. Although, short skirts and Ms. Gulbis are definitely marketing tools that sucker hooked me.
No, the real reason I like to follow the LPGA is because, admittedly, the women’s game is much closer to my own than those played on the manicured tee boxes of the PGA.
Watching the 103rd player on the PGA money list hit an eight-iron onto a green from 178 yards is not good for my tender golf psyche. It’s much more soothing for me to see a top-10 performer on the LPGA hit a seven-iron 155 yards.
My ego comes away with fewer lumps.
It’s not a talent thing—it’s purely a physical thing. There are no 330-yard drives to shrivel my manhood on the LPGA Tour. Give me Lorena Ochoa’s attainable 270 yards.
Believe me, length aside, these gals ain’t bad. Did you catch the Sunday drama at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first Major of the season for the LPGA Tour?
Kristy McPherson, Cristie Kerr, and Brittany Lincicome were in a threesome (stop the snickering) on the final tee—a par five—with McPherson up by a stroke (-8) on both Kerr (-7) and Lincicome (-7).
Lincicome—a big hitter in women’s golf—split the fairway with a 270-yard drive. She then hit from 200 yards to within a Danny Devito of the pin.
Plop went the eagle putt, to put her at minus nine overall...All this under the intense pressure of Major-itaville!
Lincicome's playing partners were game, but they came up short. McPherson pared the hole (-8), and Kerr sunk a valiant 15-foot putt from the fringe for birdie (-8).
Suspense? Uh-huh. Drama? Yep. Guts, talent, execution? You bet!
I believe the men’s PGA Tour winner that day won in a playoff—with a bogie. Yawn.
But I’m not here to diss the PGA Tour…much.
I was fortunate enough to see Nick Price win the PGA Championship at Bellerive in ’92. This was before Tiger Mania, but it was still a thrill.
I saw Arnie and Jack play, and that too was priceless.
I’ve witnessed a handful of LPGA Tour events as well—the Michelob Light Classic and GHP Heartland Golf Classic, which were the same tournament (now defunct) with different sponsors.
The Tiger of her day, Annika Sorenstam, won that event a number of times.
In all honesty, I’ve got to say, I enjoyed the women’s tournaments more than the men’s, for reasons beyond the game similarity thing I’ve already given.
The LPGA players were just so much more friendly and courteous. They smiled. They said hello. They were very gracious and appreciative of the galleries and volunteers.
On the flipside, like it or not, the PGA Tour has a reputation for sheltering whining malcontents who have little regard for the rabble beyond the ropes.
I don’t want to blanket the whole tour with this smear, but isn’t one malcontent one too many in such a coddled environment?
This is a big reason I’m no longer embarrassed to say I follow the LPGA Tour.
Yes, I like the ladies. There, I said it. They’re good. They’re well-mannered.
And pardon my sexist tendency, but Natalie Gulbis is still smokin’ no matter what she shoots.
Now, if only Rick Springfield would make it back to town...