Virginia’s weather is always unpredictable, but it will not keep the LPGA away! This weekend I had the privilege of being chosen as a LPGA / Acer Jr. Golf Course Reporter and a privilege it was. Saturday started out with nothing but rain and cold weather. The game was put off until 12:03, and, when it started, they kept playing, but because of the hectic rescheduling, our day of reporting was delayed which turned out to my advantage. As I usually do the Girls Golf clinic, I would have missed it if I had been reporting. The Girls Golf clinic is a part of the LPGA Kingsmill you need to experience. As the clinic and LPGA*USGA Girls Golf is one of the best programs of getting girls involved in a used-to-be predominantly men’s sport, and I will tell you why.
Girls Golf is about much more than the sport. It is about the 5 E’s: Enrich, Energize, Empower, Engage and Exercise, which are all about succeeding in life. As I watched the women players these two days, I realized that. In the past, I was like any other person coming to watch the game, but this time I had the opportunity to be up close, observe, interview and take in the players, their game, and their attitudes. It is undeniable that all these women are great players but it is amazing that their attitudes match their game. I witnessed disappointment to success and what I realized was that both were dealt with with determination, character, and poise.
An example of this is at the end when Lexi Thompson, #3 in the world and a Kingsmill favorite, began the 18th hole 11 under par. After her last shot, her score fell to 10 under. This was after shooting 4 Birdies, 1 Eagle and now she shot 1 Bogey that lead her to the 10 under. She did not lose her temper, she did not display her anger, she did not pout. I could tell her frustration and when she came out I was the first person to interview her. Any player in her position might just want to pass a little girl, upset and wanting to escape but not Lexi; and at that moment I knew why everyone loves her. She stopped, wiped the tear from her eye, smiled and pulled herself together to talk to me. My heart went out to her and my respect grew!
I asked Lexi, who was her biggest competitor? Without hesitation, she answered “Myself.” And she went on to explain why. She told me she has been golfing since she was 5 years old, she loves spending time with her family when she is not golfing and her favorite place to golf is at Trump Towers. She is truly an inspiration to young girls out there and motivation to why you should golf.
Then, we come to the winner—Ariya Jutanugarn. Ariya is from Thailand, her English is good but somewhat broken, and today she shot an incredible 14 under par. Her game of golf is amazing, as you can tell, because this was her 2nd LPGA win this year. She did not hurriedly pass us knowing she was #1, she took the time to stop, say hi, and sign our hats. Then we went and sat in the Press interview and I got to watch how poised, down-to-earth and normal she was. She laughed and handled every question as if she had done 100 of these and at only 20 years old. When asked if she felt pressure at the end from the other players coming up on her, she stopped and said, “I didn’t feel pressure, today. I just feel like whatever is fine because I just really want to have fun. I’m not really care [sic]. Actually I know they play good, but I’m not really care about them [sic]. I really worry about like what I want to do more.” That was an important lesson for me. She showed me that being humble, having fun and just taking what the day gives you makes you just as much a winner as winning does. This is what young women all over need to see, and this young woman, along with all the others I saw yesterday, are a HUGE reason why you should go to watch them. Although, she also showed that you get what you earn and work hard for. She showed this in her answer to my question to her during the interview. My question to the 2016 Kingsmill Champion was, “Are you going to share your money with your sister?” Her sister, Moriya, was also golfing today. Ariya’s eyes got wide, and she laughed as the room did also. When she was done, she looked at me and said, “No, I am not going to share it with my sister but I may buy her something.” Truthful, fair, and extremely funny.
This weekend started out slow but through the hard work of the LPGA and the weather cooperating, the Kingsmill Championship continued. The ending was an experience I will never forget, full of lessons I might never have learned, opportunities to meet players whom I got to know better and a wanting that every girl should be exposed to this sport. Women’s golf is much more than a game; it is a life of character building and success, and every player I met showed me this. The LPGA Girls Golf and Acer gave me the privilege and opportunity as a Jr Course Reporter, to experience a path I have only dreamt about, and I am forever grateful to them and the players of the LPGA!
6th grader, avid golfer, competitive gymnast and sister to 8 brothers 🙂
LPGA*USGA Girls Golf Course Reporters Sponsored by Acer.