Finally… it’s that time of the year. An already exciting 2018 TOUR season on the LPGA and PGA TOUR respectively has just gotten a whole lot more exciting. it’s time for the first major of the year. While everybody and their uncle are talking about what could be next week… let’s not look too far forward into the future. Instead let’s discuss this week.
It just seems like the majority of golf fans often think of the first major of the year being that little tournament that takes place down in Augusta, Georgia. The home of pimento and cheese sandwiches, Magnolia Lane, azaleas and a land where everything is meticulous and green. But The Masters isn’t the first major of the year. That honour belongs to the ANA Inspiration of the LPGA Tour.
Photo Credit: LPGA
Out in the Californian desert in Rancho Mirage, California lies the stunning Mission Hills Country Club. While the facility houses 54-holes of golf its the Dinah Shore Tournament Course that hosts the years first major. All of the best female golfers in the world descend on the Palm Springs area to play in the annual tournament that was founded in 1972 by entertainer Dinah Shore. The course is home to the popular landmark “Poppies Pond” and was named after former tournament director Terry Wilcox in 2006 (his grandchildren called him “Poppie”). Since 1994, it’s been a tradition for the winner to unceremoniously jump into the pond although the first time that it happened was in 1988.
The list of winner’s of the tournament formerly known as the Nabisco Dinah Shore and Kraft Nabisco among others is a list of superstars from the LPGA Tour. Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson, last week’s winner Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome (twice), Lorena Ochoa, Karrie Webb (twice), Juli Inkster, Dottie Pepper and Annika Sorenstam (three times) are some of the names to have won the event. Interestingly enough the legendary Se Ri Pak never won this tournament.
Photo Credit: LPGA
The field this week seems more star-studded than usual and I really don’t know what I’m basing that on. If you look at results of tournaments thus far in 2018 on the LPGA Tour the year has been full of amazing results. Laura Davies electrified with a sensational finish at age 54 two weeks ago. Major winners Anna Nordqvist, Lydia Ko and Canadian Brooke Henderson could be poised to take the leap into the pond come Sunday. Cristie Kerr, Michelle Wie, Lexi Thompson, and Thailand’s Moriya Jutanagarn have definitely shown signs of brilliance and could be there. But then you have the Korda sister’s (Jessica and Nelly) who look like a “watered-down” LPGA version of the Williams sisters (Serena and Venus) with the way that they’ve played thus far in 2018.
Photo Credit: LPGA
The action in the desert is going to be fun, exciting and make for very compelling television Sunday evening. We’ve already seen an Ace from Iceland’s Olafia Kristinsdottir. Especially, if the scoring is similar to what’s current at the time of writing. There are 15 players within 3 strokes of the lead as the first round is being played/finished. Just because The Master’s is next week doesn’t mean that you have to sulk because these girls are good. If you haven’t followed the LPGA Tour do yourself a favor and take some time to watch this tournament. Buckle up because the Sunday finish will be as exciting as any other major the guys play.
Until The Next Tee!!
In this editorial I just wanted to touch on a couple of trains of thought that I had looking back at the last week. There is a fair amount to talk about and I think that I’ll start with the obvious. The Solheim Cup.
Photo Credit: lpga.com
The Solheim Cup is a biennial event that was founded in 1990. Although it doesn’t have the rich history of their male counterpart (Ryder Cup) the combination of the LPGA and the Ladies European Tour has an event that rarely fails to yield excitement. This year the event was held on the rich American farmland that is Iowa. The Des Moines Golf and Country Club served as the events host this year and as one might expect the home team had the support from their “Red, White and Blue” fans led by team captain Juli Inkster. Looking back at the event I think there are two stories that really sum up this edition of “The Solheim”. The first story was the fact that after Day Two the American squad led the European Squad (led by Annika Sorenstam) 10 1/2 to 5 1/2. In my opinion… a pretty sizeable lead heading into the Sunday Day Three Single’s Matches. On the final day the Americans only needed to win 3 1/2 points to retain the Cup. As we know… they would claim the Cup winning by a margin of 16 1/2 to 11 1/2. The highlight of the matches leads me to the second story of the Solheim Cup. The match played between Lexi Thompson and Anna Nordqvist. The latter definitely had a very strong Sunday and was playing some very inspired golf. Through four holes of golf Anna Nordqvist was 4UP on Thompson. But golf is a funny sport in that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Thompson (Ranked #2 in the World) would play some golf that could be best described as “scintillating”. She would play -7 thru holes 10-18. When somebody is clicking like Lexi was all that you can do (if you’re Nordqvist) is tip your cap to your opponent and shake hands afterwards. It has been said that this match will most likely go down as one of the best in Solheim Cup history.
Photo Credit: lpga.com
However, as exciting as that match was I have a thought… as I have about the Solheim Cup. Looking at the Official World Rankings the roster of the American squad had five players in the Top 25 in the world. The group led by #2 Thompson, #14 Cristie Kerr, #21 Danielle Kang and #25 Gerina Piller. In comparison the European squad sees their top player being #13 Anna Nordqvist. After her there is #20 Carlota Ciganda and #24 Suzann Pettersen. Strolling outside of the Top 25 there is a number of girls from the American side ranked higher than the European team. My point being that even though any team can win on “any given Sunday” on paper the American’s have a pretty big advantage. Remember I’m from Canada so I have no vested interest in the Solheim Cup other than simply being a fan of golf and hoping for good golf. It doesn’t matter to me who wins although I am Hungarian by ethnicity.
I wonder if #10 Brooke Henderson would be game??? (Photo Credit: thestar.ca)
The reality is that women’s golf does not get the support that it rightfully deserves from sponsors and fans alike. I have stated this opinion before in the past and I will also hold this opinion until my last breath. Furthermore, the average golfer can lean a ton more from watching the ladies over the men. But if there is one thing that I would love to see it’s the development of another type of match where Team USA would play Team World much like the President’s Cup for the men. Perhaps an exhibition match like this would heavily favour Team World with the likes of Korea’s World #1 So Yeon Ryu, #4 Sung Hyun Park, #9 Inbee Park, New Zealand’s #5 Lydia Ko, China’s #6 Shanshan Feng and Canada’s #10 Brooke Henderson. A star-studded event like this held in Asia would be massive for growing golf and in particular women’s golf. The respective sanctioning bodies could potentially earn huge dollar signs through television royalties and endorsements. Especially in the Asian market. Whether it would fly in the U.S.A however is where this concept could be a bit of a mystery. Would American viewers tune in to watch a rout? Or would the same American viewers tune in to watch a true “David vs Goliath” scenario? Everybody loves an underdog… right?! Moving away from The Solheim Cup.
Recently, I decided that I wanted to try to develop more “audience participation”. So on Twitter (@UntilTheNextTee) I posted my first ever poll. After recent putting woes I had to ask myself. Is it my stroke? Is it my putter? Is it me? Or is everything fine and just keep on keeping on? My issue was that most of my putts missed either (A) lipped out or (B) just missed on the high side by less than an inch and 5″ past the cup. My frustration level got to the point where I would mutter curse words under my breath for missing a putt… in practice sessions. I would switch between different putters partially because of testing for an upcoming piece on Rosemark Grips and part of it because I thought maybe it was the putter. At any rate I finally came upon the conclusion that putts weren’t falling because of just “plain ole bad luck”. So I stayed the course and lo and behold putts are starting to drop. I want to thank everyone who voted for taking part and below is the actual poll with results.
My first poll. Golfers… you’re putting and you continue to miss putts to the point it’s now frustrating. Lipping out numerous. Do you…
23% Change your putter
42% Change your stroke or..
35% Nothing. It’s bad luck
The voting was close and 42% of the voters said that they would change their stroke. This means anything from a grip change to a change of technique. For example a stroke involving more hands for slower greens. Also receiving a vote was another choice… a little more creative and a reason that slipped my mind. Blaming the superintendent. I like that one!!!
Until The Next Tee!!
Recently, I released a press release introducing the 2017 Summer Women’s Apparel line from Antigua Sports. Last week, the team representing the United States against Europe was introduced by team captain Juli Inkster. Initially past Solheim Cup team stalwart Paula Creamer was left off of the team but has since replaced the injured Jessica Korda.
Mary Beth Lacy of golf public relations firm Mary Beth Lacy Inc shared a press release with me. In the press release below it was announced that Antigua will be the United States teams apparel provider. Please see below for more details and scripting.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2017
Antigua to Serve as Provider for Team USA’s Uniforms at the 2017 Solheim Cup
PEORIA, Ariz., August 10, 2017 – Antigua Group, Inc., one of the nation’s leading designers and marketers of lifestyle and golf apparel under the distinguished Antigua brand, has been named the provider for Team USA’s uniforms at the 2017 Solheim Cup.
The 2017 Solheim Cup will be held at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines, Iowa from Aug. 18-20.
Having created Team USA’s clothing at the last three Solheim Cups, working on the 2017 uniforms presented a unique challenge for Antigua designer Danielle Dellios, who created something fresh and new using the traditional red, white and blue color scheme.
“Instead of coming up with designs that were solely ‘Americana’ in feeling, I decided to give the team a more sport-driven look,” said Dellios. The abstract prints in the new designs are a big change from the previous outfit presentation.
Team USA captain Juli Inkster has been very active with input on the uniform designs for both her winning team in 2015 in Germany and for the 2017 uniforms.
“She also loves to get American fans involved by asking them to wear red one day, white
another day, and navy blue the third day — to support the team’s efforts on the course,” said Dellios. “She has been fantastic to work with through the whole process.”
The Friday outfit for the first day of competition at the 2017 Solheim Cup features a new take on polka dots – the red and white print Ascend polo is matched with the Ascend skort and short that sport a mirrored version of the same print, in white with red dots. The gradient dotted pattern creates an optical illusion.
The team will start Saturday’s matches wearing the Prize polo and skort. The polo features a zip placket, a solid white body with contrast navy color printed insets. The print pattern is reminiscent of all-over sequins, minus the metallic effect. The coordinating skort is printed all-over with solid white welt pockets and waistband. Both the polo and skort feature a stretch jersey knit fabric.
On Sunday, the team will don mostly white with an asymmetrical engineered printed navy and red triangle. The Pyramid polo features a snap placket with front and back printed panels. The
Until The Next Tee!!