Bienvenue! My name is Jamie and I like golf. I grew up playing tennis in eastern Massachusetts, but fell in love with the game after watching Se Ri Pak defeat Jenny Chausiriporn at the 1998 U.S. Womens Open. I studied Hospitality & Tourism Management (with a focus on Event, Tourism, and Convention Management) at the Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Tennis is my first love, but golf is a very close second. I believe style should equal substance, and the latter is nothing without the former.
If Beth Bader had a birdie for every round in the 60s she had this year, she would be two strokes worse then then the -8 (64) she fired in the opening round of the Safeway Classic. Nine birdies and a single bogey on the par 4 2nd has given Bader her best round of the year, and a one stroke cushion over 2009 Rookie and major champion Anna Nordqvist. Not a bad bounce back for Anna who is shaken off the dubious distinction of losing the point that allowed the U.S. retain the Solheim Cup.
A third of the field finished under par on opening day, and the birdies came in bunches, and for three of my favorite players Mindy Kim (82), Jeanne Cho-Hunicke & Jeehae Lee (83) struggled mightily.
The story of the opening day though belongs to Bader. The 9th year player hasn’t had a top 10 since 2007, and best finish in the last two seasons has been a T25 at the 2008 State Farm Classic. Currently 95th on the money list, a solid finish here could guarantee her Category 1 status for next year. Bader returned to Q-School last year, where she tied for 4th, giving her Category 11 status for the year.
Earlier in the week The Construcstivist posted the question: Will the Rookie of the Year Race Finally Get Interesting? In the post he referenced the #2 in the ROY race Michelle Wie as a potential player to threaten Jiyai Shin for the honor. McDonald’s LPGA Champion Anna Nordqvist may have something to say about that after her bogey-free 65 (-7). Anna may only have one top 10 this year (but, my was it a good one!), but has shown poise under pressure, and definitley has a chance to make a run at it. Shin, who only has one finish outside the top 25 so far this year, is in danger of missing the cut after a +2 74 which puts her in a tie for 83rd.
Seemingly always coming out of nowhere to win, Seon Hwa Lee is tied with Anna Nordqvist in T2. She may not have made the big leap into the top of the game like I expected her to this year, but that dosen’t mean she won’t grab a win or two before 2009 is done.
Nordqvist’s playings partners Angela Stanford (66, T4) & Ai Miyazato (67, T8) had similiar good rounds, and were the clear winners for group of the day. Solheim Cupper Janice Moodie, former Solheim Cupper Stacy Prammanasudh, and Lexus Cupper Candie Kung joined Stanford at -6, T4, while Moira Dunn and another former Solheim Cupper Michele Redman joined the red hot Miyazato at -5, T8.
Great opening rounds by two injury sticken players, Jeong Jang & Jennifer Rosales who both fired 68s to finish just out of the top 10 at tied for 11th with a quadruple of Solheim Cuppees Christina Kim, Natalie Gulbis, Michelle Wie, & Suzann Petterson, and the #2 player in the world Yani Tseng.
Pornanong Phatlum gained entry in the field after the withdrawl of Paula Creamer, and used her alternate status well, Phatlum shot a 71 and is T39. Amateurs and Monday qualifiers Ayaka Kaneko and Taylor Karle had two different rounds today, Kaneko is above the cutline (T66, 73) while Karle is below it (T125, 78).
Surprisingly joining Jiyai Shin, and Karle below the cutline are, Morgan Pressel, In-Kyung Kim, and Karrie Webb all who could only manage 74s today are are tied for 83rd. 2009 major champions Catriona Matthew & Brittany Lincicome were worse after their 77s.
With birdies available in Portalnd this week, we should be in store for an exciting weekend.
Michelle Wie on being the defacto player messiah for the LPGA… and stuff.
After what feels like forever, the LPGA is finally back in action at the Safeway Classic in Portland, Oregon this week. The Safeway is the tour’s first 54-hole event since the Mastercard Classic in March, which was won by Pat Hurst. In 2008 Cristie Kerr was cool in the clutch, sinking a 15-hole birdie putt on the first playoff hole to defeat Helen Alfredsson and Sophie Gustafson.
The return to tour could not have come any sooner for the lower ranked fully-exempt (or high priority) players no the tour this year. For any of those unable to qualify for the European Swing, and not able to get an entry into this year’s U.S. Women’s Open, the Safe Classic will be their first event in eight weeks. Almost has the feel like the beginning of the year for some of then I’d imagine!
With the LPGA taking center stage last week with a brilliant event at the Solheim Cup, this is a great opportunity to ride that momentum here in Portland. This will be the last regular LPGA tour event that ESPN will cover for at least 10 years, due to the exclusive deal the LPGA tour struck with the Golf Channel earlier this year. Hopefully some of the drama from last week in Rich Harvest Farms will follow.
With only Angela Park the only LPGA regular ranked in the top 50 in the Rolex World Rankings not in the field at the Safeway has got to be one of the strongest events of the year. So, who has the best chance to come through this week?
Of the Americans, current money list leader and defending champion Cristie Kerr is coming off a solid 2-1-1 performance at the Solheim Cup. Kerr, the most consistent player on tour this season is playing as good as golf as anyone.
I’ll get to the big question, is this week, or at least this fall, going to be when Michelle Wie finally breaks through? I don’t take lightly the indelible experience Wie gained last week at the Solheim Cup. She seemed to have the same lightness, the same fun, and the same power that she had when she was a 14 year old dominating nearly all of the events she entered. The 3-0-1 record is the best of the USA team, and the only player with three wins to go undefeated. Paula Creamer and Christina Kim the other players to get gain three wins, also had one defeat.
Perennial LET star Gwladys Nocera was the only player on the European team able to secure three wins (she matched Michelle Wie with the best record of the cup) is returning to Europe this week. We’ll see if Suzann Petterson, who fighting a bad back, was only able to go 1-4 last week can bounce back in a big way.
With the top three players in the world returning to action (Lorena Ochoa, Yani Tseng, and Jiyai Shin) it’s anyone’s guess as to who will finish on top this weekend. Remember, before we broke Ai Miyazato was on quite a hot streak winning in Evian and finishing top 3 at the WBO. With all of that said, who are my picks for the top 12?
Like I’ve said many times In-Kyung Kim is my pick to finish as Player of the Year, so it’s no wonder I’m picking her to win again. I expect Michelle Wie & Brittany Lang to some solid play at the Solheim and have strong finishes this week. Very impressed by Lang’s finish against Laura Davies on Sunday.
Finally, big props to Taylor Karle and Ayaka Kaneko for taking advantage of open Monday qualifying and gaining a spot in this year’s event.
Am I missing something? Were we not applauding and turning Christina Kim into a covergirl after her stellar, enthusiastic performance after the 2005 Solheim Cup? What has happened in the four years that has turned the newly svelte Kim into a distracting, over the line, unprofessional golfer? Was Christina Kim the only roof raising, booty bumping, crowd amping, and overly patriotic lady on the USA Solheim Cup team? No, she was not alone. Why is she getting the flack for it?
Was I the only one who saw and heard Christina give due props to Europe’s Tania Elosegui after hitting a clutch shot down the stretch on Sunday?
Were we not just praising Michelle Wie for letting loose and having fun on the golf course, but when she was paired with Christina Kim and letting loose, it was a no-no? What a bad influence you are Christina.
Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t lack of personality one of the biggest criticisms of the LPGA? Now we’re complaining that a player has taken it too far?
The LPGA got the opportunity to be center stage this week. It’s coverage of the Solheim Cup superseded an exciting weekend over at the PGA where players were vying for spots into the Fed Ex Playoffs, and a major over at the Senior PGA Tour. We should be praising the ladies for letting loose, representing the USA proud, playing some amazing golf, and not nitpicking on things like that. This, to me, depreciates what a great weekend of golf this was.
Perhaps it’s only fitting, in 2005 Christina Kim got all the spoils for being nothing else, but her. A kick ass golfer, who loves her country. Now she’s getting the backlash. Can you imagine how devastating this weekend if the players “kept it cool” the entire weekend? That’s not what I want to see by players competing for their countries!
Christina Kim was being herself. We need to embrace the players, all of them, for being who they are. Whether they are loud, whether they are reserved, whatever it is. In the end Christina Kim showed us how much she loves the LPGA, the Solheim Cup, and the United States of America, and that is something I would never criticize her for.
What’s next? Criticizing Jiyai Shin for winning too much worldwide? Criticize Lorena Ochoa for helping to grow the game in Mexico? Complain that Paula Creamer wears to much pink, and that Michelle Wie is too tall? All of this is nonsense. Christina Kim you’re amazing, and you’ve inspired me and countless others this weekend.
After the 2005 Solheim Cup I was hopeful that Christina Kim’s sharp patriotism, team spirit, and most importantly, excellent golf game would put her in the upper echelons of the American golfers on the LPGA. As this little trading card pack shows you, Christina Kim is not one of America’s darlings, though she should.
I have conceded the fact that Paula Creamer is, and deservedly so, the LPGA #1 America’s Sweetheart. She has the phenomenal results to back this statement, and is the picture of girl next door. Fine, I’m okay with that. Natalie & Morgan though, what do they have going on that should put them in an upper playing field compared to Christina.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to turn this post into a rambling size/race discussion. Morganza does have a major that Christina dose not, but if CK were to win the RICOH Women’s British Open today, would she be warranted the same American darling status? I don’t think that’s likely. Which is a real shame, Christina Kim is truly an amazing ambassador for this tour. She showed just what she was made up on the professional side of things, as if I recall correctly was the only LPGA pro present for Marsha Evan’s presser announcing her as interim Commissioner.
Morgan Pressel is firery and competitive, a la Dottie Pepper. Christina Kim is, loud? Exuberant? Brash? Natalie Gulbis has calendars, and photo shoots galore. Christina is posting super-sexy tweets of herself. There’s quite a dichotomy here. Let me be clear here, I do not want to diminish anything from Morgan, Natalie or Paula. They are all clearly talented women, all deserving of the utmost praise, and I wish them continued success, all of it will help the LPGA.
I just wish Christina got the due respect she deserved for being an open, fan-friendly, professional out here. Would we care about her so-called “excessive tweeting” if she were size 2 and blonde? Or would we be fawning at the fact that someone so desirable were letting us in on their lives? The same way many, many, many fanboys and fangirls follow their favorite actor/singer/crush of their life sort of way?
I just think it’s truly a pity when someone who is incredibly icy (not naming names, but they may have the same initials) is considered more marketable then Christina. Let’s embrace CK and give her the love she deserves.
I don’t know why the LPGA Board of Directors or any of us fans/bloggers/writers are even going through the motions seeking out the next LPGA Commissioner. It is quite obvious that person right and ready for the job has been sitting under our noses! Literally on the bottom, of the money list that is… Anna Rawson (what is it about women’s sports and polarizing ladies named Anna?)! Clearly playing golf at a competitive professional level may not be in the cards for Anna, so why bypass years of toiling away with low priority status, when she could jump on up and take the Commissioner role?
While appearing on ESPN’s E:60, she laid out a brilliant 5 point plan to help the LPGA Tour. If someone how you missed the model’s appearance (how could you?!), you can read up on everything right here.
Let’s go a little bit deeper on her statements!
1. ROCK THE TEE. Every player should tee off to her favorite song at the beginning of the tournament and have it played again when she approaches the 18th green.
Really Anna? Really? Let me preface all of her statements as she’s clearly speaking from the young perspective and trying to reach out to a younger audience. As a 22 year old herself, I can see her appeal for some of these things. However nearly everything she recommends alienates her peers and a huge part of the LPGA fan base. Not so great. As much as I’d love to see Rosie Jones marching up the 18th tee to “I Kissed a Girl,” or anything like that, it would clearly be a bother to the other players, not to mention how do we pick whose song in that group to play? Whoever is prettier perhaps?
2. BRING ON THE MEN. Some LPGA tournaments should be played in conjunction with PGA tournaments. Both tours would play on the same course during the same week — and at the same time — while still competing for separate titles.
Even though I can’t begin to understand the logistics of an event like this, I do enjoy this idea in theory. Getting some sort of event where you can attract the best men and women in golf in the world is only a good thing. Not that trying to rely on the men’s tour as a crutch at this moment is necessarily the best thing in pride terms, trying to figure a way to get this event to happen I think would be a huge benefit. They held the Boys and Girls US Junior championships together this week, I do believe this can happen in some way.
3. FASHION TO THE FAIRWAYS. For each tournament, I would have a fashion designer create a piece of clothing or accessory for the trophy ceremony. On Monday, the winner would be flown to Manhattan to shoot the gown, jacket or jewelry for an ad to be placed in a fashion magazine (Elle, Vogue, Glamour, InStyle).
I think this has a genuine heart to it, but the idea of a cookie cutter champion, stripping away their athleticism, and dressing them up to be Anna’s idea of fashionable, is not exactly the right thing. Getting a spread in a fashion magazine, or any weekly non-golf publication, would bring publicity and good press for the tour. Trying to squeeze everyone into a Vera Wang gown isn’t the way to do it. This is the fundamental problem with a lot of reactions to players right now, we are not ready to embrace the players for who they are. Usually the problem is that the player doesn’t speak good enough English, and is too reserved. We should be embracing the differences in these women and highlight everyone for who they are. That’s so much more empowering, and so much better for all the girls who are looking up to these athletes.
4. MARKETING IS THE BOSS. I would give the LPGA’s VP of communications, David Higdon, a long-term contract and make him directly answerable only to the players. Higdon knows how to help the public connect with athletes.
I think it’s a solid idea to have someone help marketing. Although I don’t think ALL DECISIONS should necessarily be made by a marketing perspective. I think we’re on the right track with this one.
5. READY FOR OUR CLOSE UP. Every group should be miked up and followed by its own camera crew, not a hard or expensive thing to do in this era of cheap, portable devices that can send images and audio around the globe in an instant.
I think having one or two mic’d groups every tournament would be an amazing thing! CK was great, but you need the right player to grab the mic. It’s not going to be a good thing if you are mic’ing a group who is uncomfortable, and thusly not saying or being exciting at the least. Before we mic every group, perhaps we should get every tournament broadcast.
All and all I don’t have nearly as many problems with her thoughts as I made it sound like at the top of the post. I just think her problem is she’s thinking in a purely one-sided direction, and not taking in account the diversity of cultures and personalities (not to mention physicality) on tour. Everything she promotes to do, works in benefit for who she is.
I guess that’s all and all to be expected. Anna will need all the help she can get, if her golf game won’t get it done. Stephanie Wei (and I some how make even more comments) has her thoughts on this. I also posted some thoughts on Waggle Room.