On Monday, I played in an afternoon pro-am at Locust Hills Country Club, the site of the 2010 LPGA Championship Presented by Wegmans. I was fortunate enough to play with Colleen and Joy Wegman, two of the most incredible ladies that I have ever met, and two amazing supporters of this tournament. It is safe to say that without the Wegmans family, as well as the staff for the tournament, the staff at the club, and all of the volunteers, this tournament would not be here today.
The LPGA has been coming to the Rochester, NY region for decades, and the LPGA Wegmans Championship has always been known as one of the tour's staple tournaments. People like to call it a community run event, which makes no sense to me. For years, The Wegmans came the week before the US Women's Open, and was an amazing preparatory course for it. The staff, the crowds, they all treat the LPGA members like royalty. The hospitality is always amazing, large tents are set up all over the course, and this tournament used to always rival the crowds we would get at almost any other tournament, be it a major or not. However, now that this tournament has become a major, people are flooding in at an even more astonishing rate! You should have seen the amount of people that came to support this tournament, on a freaking MONDAY!!! It is more than safe to say that this event definitely has that indescribable, intangible "major" feel to it.
Tuesday, I had a 9:00am pro-am time. Monday's pro-am was optional, and has been played for many many years. When Wegmans took over as the presenting sponsor for the LPGA Championship, I believe they requested that their Monday pro-am stay, and I am personally glad that it did. I always get a hoot in my pro-ams, and this week was no exception. Sorry, I digress. The Tuesday Pro-Am, which was put on and sponsored by Excedrin, started off beautifully. There were a few perfect, fluffy clouds in the sky, and my group was amazing. At 10:30, we got through three holes, and just hit our approach shots into the 13th hole, our 4th, when the BERRRRRRRR of the horns blew. Severe weather was approaching. We all scuttled into the maintenance shed, and before we knew it, we were being shlepped back into the clubhouse. After a two hour delay, we were back on the course. Thankfully the clouds stayed away... Or so we thought... At about 3pm, we heard those horns go off again. This time we were on the 7th tee, our 16th of the day. We managed to scurry back into the clubhouse, as there was a severe storm coming our way. Unfortunately, after two more hours, the course was deemed unplayable, and there wasn't going to be enough light out to finish. I felt terrible that we weren't going to be able to complete our round, even though we teed off at 9:00am. I ran to my car, in the pouring rain, and gave each of my pro-am partners a signed copy of my book. It was little consolation, I am sure, as they would have loved to have finished the round, but I hope reading it may brighten their day a bit!
By the way, for those of you wondering, this is how we sometimes enjoy our time while in a rain delay. This was taken during the Korea vs. Nigeria World Cup game, and as you can see, the Korean players are definitely NOT robotic, as many in the world of the media make you believe!
Tuesday night I also had my book signing in the Rochester Barnes&Noble. Penelope, the lady that helped me with said signing and passage reading of my book, was an absolute doll, and in the end, surprise surprise, I walked away with a nook. I know, I don't need one at all, as I have the Kindle DX (though I am letting Jane Park use it as she determines if she wants an iPad for ebook reading) and an iPad... But Penelope was so damned good at selling it, I just had to have it!!!!My evening ended with me coming to my hotel, whipping up a delicious plate of Angel Hair pasta (made from Jerusalem Artichoke Flour), grass-fed ground beef, and a pound of organic spinach, in an organic tomato sauce. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and Paprika to increase flavor. I finished my evening off with a small bowl of strawberries and a cup of detoxifying tea. 4lbs of epsom salts in my bath, two nights in a row, and I passed out, my Brookstone sleeping mask on.
Today, Wednesday, I had another great day. I woke up after a wondrous night's sleep, got to the course, visited the LPGA Fitness trailer for some stretching, and then hit quite a few balls on the range. My swing is feeling very good, but my clubs, I come to find, were a bit flat. Don't ask me how this happened... I have no clue. After getting them adjusted, I was flushing balls down the range, and a great sense of calm came over me. I was feeling ready to take on the world. After my practice on the range, I had a luncheon and round-table discussion called "Everything Major." The talk was hosted by Gail Graham, former LPGA Player and LPGA President, and present were myself, Betsy Rawls (one of the most incredible women on the planet), Meg Mallon (another amazing human being, and one of my heroes/closest friends) Abby Wambach (Rochester native, and she scored gold medal winning goal in the 2004 Summer Olympics. HERO!!!), and Diann Roffe (Two-time Olympic Medalist, including the gold in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Norway. Amazing woman, great spirit. Utter inspiration!!). I, having only won two LPGA tournaments in my career, felt a bit like the ugly duckling. Very humbled to be in the presence of such greatness, and as we sat in front of 300+ people, I was as enraptured with the conversation as anyone in the room. I sat there, wide-eyed, and gobbled up every bit of information that the amazing women next to me were saying, and though I believe I said a few poignant pieces myself (the only thing that sticks out in my head, when Betsy Rawls and Meg Mallon were discussing what makes separates a good golfer from a great, was when I blurted out "HUH! And here all this time I was thinking it was MONKEY DUST!!!" <-that term was inspired by John Raser, by the way), I felt so honored, so humbled, and so determined to perform, after having sat with such greatness. After the discussion came to a close, Diann Roffe leaned over (as I was sitting next to her!! SQUEEEP!!!!) and said "Christina, I am a huge fan of yours. I think what you did in the Solheim Cup, what you bring to the game of golf, is huge, and you should be proud of yourself." I mean, really?! An Olympic GOLD MEDALIST, a hero to the sports world, was a fan of ME?! I damned near fell out of my chair and almost started to cry. But no. Big girls don't cry. I stammered something utterly incoherent, hugged her, and then floated to the first tee, where I was meeting my caddy, Brian Funk. We calls him BFunk. He lives in Rochester, and so he is the town hero. I love him, and we had such a great day out there in our practice round. We played nine holes, where I hit just about any and every conceivable shot in the book, worked a bit on my putting (long story about my putter to come at another date...) and then came home. As I sit here now, my laundry mumbling something to me in the dryer, I am looking forward to my plate of Jerusalem Artichoke Flour Angel Hair pasta with the same grass-fed ground beef, pound of organic spinach, organic tomato sauce, with my Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and Paprika to flavor that I am going to whip up. Tonight, methinks I will partake in more than 5 strawberries in the bath, which is all I had in my bowl last night, and I will savor my cup of detoxifying tea a little bit slower. My sleeping mask will fall over my eyes, and as I drift off to sleep, I will be looking forward to starting my round tomorrow.