This weekend my friends and I decided to take a road trip to Maine to see the Legends of the LPGA. I was excited to see Nancy Lopez, Pat Bradley, Val Skinner, Hollis Stacy, and all the other LPGA golfers; after all, I grew up watching these ladies on TV!
We arrived at the course just as Pat Bradley and Christa Johnson were coming to the 10th tee. Obviously, living in New England, we were excited to see Pat Bradley so we decided to follow her group for a few holes. Bradley had a tough first round score 78 (6 over par); and in the second round was 2 over for the day when she came to the 10th. But the great thing was she was smiling and friendly. In fact, as she walked off the green (after a bogey) she spoke to us and said “It’s a tough day at the office today.” I thought to myself, I’d smile too if this was my office!
We walked with Bradley for two more holes and then walked over to the 16th tee to wait for Nancy Lopez and Donna Caponi to arrive. I was so excited to see Nancy Lopez. We were sitting on the bench by the tee box and Nancy drove by us in the cart and said “Anybody got a birdie I can buy?” and gave us that famous smile. Nancy was also not playing well. She shot a first day score of 83 and was struggling again on Sunday. I’m happy to report she did par the 16th (par 3) hole we saw her play.
A funny thing happened, my friend has Nancy Lopez golf clubs and she noticed that Nancy was playing with Titelist clubs. My friend announced to us — “She doesn’t play her own clubs” (I must admit I was hoping Nancy did not hear her because we were not too far from Nancy sitting in her cart.) As we were walking to the 16th green a man came up to us and explained that Nancy doesn’t play her clubs because they are designed and manufactured for beginner and intermediate golfers and so they do not fit a professionals game; and then he walked on.
We met up with the man again at the next hole and I took the opportunity to thank him for his insight. He said he usually doesn’t interject but felt compelled this time. I asked him if he worked with Nancy. He said “No, I’m her boyfriend.” I asked him what was wrong with Nancy’s knee (she was wearing a black brace). He said “Her knee is basically bone on bone and it’s been that way for years. It is hurting her today.” Then we stopped talking because Nancy was about to putt. O.K., I must admit — it was fun to talk to Nancy Lopez’ boyfriend.
We watched Lopez and Caponi tee off the 18th hole and then we walked across the cart path to the 10th hole. We camped out at the green for the 10th hole to watch the next 10 groups come by (and we could easily walk over to the 18th tee to see the early groups coming to tee off on 18).
As we sat and watched the players putt on the 10th hole I said to my friend that the hole location must be really tough because we have seen player after player miss their putts. Then came the group with Sherri Turner and Val Skinner. They both started the day at one under par. Sherri Turner shot a 32 on the front nine holes and was now 5 under par and leading the tournament. Turner hit a beautiful shot on to the green and birdied the hole. I said to my friend, she is the only player we have seen birdie this hole so I think she will win today.
After watching all the groups on the 10th hole we headed to the 18th green to see everyone finish. See the slide show at the end of the post — it has a photo of Sherri Turner putting for the win! Her final score was 6 under par.
We watched the award ceremony and it was wonderful to see Sheri Turner so happy. Below is a great video of her speaking about the win (she states many of the things she said when she was accepting her trophy.) What is thrilling for me is Turner talks about the birdie on the 10th hole and how it was a big deal for her.
My only expectation in attending the tournament was to enjoy a warm summer day in New England and to see some great golf. What I did not expect was the interaction with these famous golfers. There were no ropes (expect on the 18th green). I did not expect the players to talk to us or stop to take a photo with an eager fan in the middle of their round (my friend got a picture with one of her favorite players). It is clearly a more relaxed tour then the PGA or LPGA (where the players are still making their mark in their sport.) Although these “legends” do not have to interact with the fans, it is wonderful that they are so open and it is a great service to the game of golf.
If you love golf, have a non-golfer friend you want to introduce to golf, or a child interested in golf — go to a Legends of the LPGA tour event. It will be a relaxed and fun day for everyone. I know my friends and I will remember our visit to Maine. Finally, here are some photos taken at the event. Photos taken with my iPhone…