Cristie Kerr wins and ends two-year drought

There were a lot of great stories to follow this week in golf.  The stories included which bubble boys of the PGA tour would make the top 125, Charlie Beljan being so ill on Friday that he had to go the hospital after his round and then he wins the tournament on Sunday, and Stacy Lewis clinching LPGA Player of the Year; but I want to acknowledge Cristie Kerr’s win at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

First, I followed the action on Twitter and my Golf Channel iPhone App because the tournament was not televised.  Hopefully the LPGA and the Golf Channel were monitoring the twitter conversation because I was not the only fan that lamented the fact it was not on TV.  It should be noted that the tournament page on the LPGA website lists TV times on November 15, 16, 17 and 18 but in my mind that is “a day late and a dollar short.”

Fortunately, the LPGA YouTube channel has highlight videos.  It was interesting to see that Angela Standford missed her birdie putt on the 18th hole which would have tied Kerr at sixteen under.  Then Kerr misses her birdie putt on the 18th and has a testy par putt to win.  Even Kerr said that she “had to make it interesting” in the end. If you don’t want to watch the full video below, fast forward to the time of 1:53 to see Stanford’s putt and Kerr’s highlights and interview.

It was nice to see Cristie Kerr win.  She is 35 years old and this was her 15th career win and she has 17 of the 27 points needed to get into the Hall of Fame.  It’s a big challenge to become a Hall of Fame Golfer but I believe Kerr has the determination and game to make it into the Hall of Fame.  However, as Brent Kelly wrote in his article, “The LPGA’s Hall of Fame Criteria are Anything but Easy,” the LPGA’s point system is “much more stringent than those of just about any other sports Hall of Fame you can name.”

Finally, some people may not be as positive about Kerr winning or wish her the best because the rumors on the internet indicate she has a prickly personality.  I do not know Kerr so I’m not going to judge her interpersonal skills.  This is about acknowledging an athlete overcoming a two-year drought and winning again in a very competitive sport.

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Charity Spotlight: Birdies for Breast Cancer

One of the things that makes me proud to be a fan of golf is that so many golfers support a variety of causes and give back to many great charities.  Many of the professional golfers have started charitable organizations.  This post is about Birdies for Breast Cancer, a charity of golfer Cristie Kerr.

Birdies for Breast Cancer supports women’s health.  According to the website the event has raised over $2,000,000 since it’s inception and this is the 8th year.  Specifically, the funds raised help support the Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Center at Jersey City Medical Center in New Jersey.  What caught my eye was the statement that the health center provides care to women “regardless of their ability to pay.”  Kerr recently tweeted that the health center (which was opened in 2010) has performed “over 15,000 exams.”

On October 1, 2012 the fund-raising event “Birdies for Breast Cancer Celebrity Golf Classic” takes place at Liberty National Golf Course.  If you want to donate to the charity you have a few options.  You can go to the Donation page (image below) which has a number of options.  I like the fact that it tells you the value of a donation.

Birdies for Breast Cancer Donation Page Image

Go to http://www.birdiesforbreastcancer.org and click on Make a Donation button

Or you can put some “skin in the game” and have fun by making a pledge to your favorite player (and their team) participating in the golf event.  It is easy to do on the Make a Pledge Page of the website (image below).

Birdies for Breast Cancer Website Pledge Page Image

Go to http://www.birdiesforbreastcancer.org and click on the Make a Pledge button

As you can see from the pledge page, you have a few choices to make.  First, which player do you want to cheer for in the event?  The host Christie Kerr or one of the wonderful other stars of the LPGA that have generously given their time to support this cause.  The second decision is how much money you want to donate for each birdie the selected “player team” makes during the event.  The website does state that “Historically, the teams average about 10 birdies during the tournament” — so that gives you a gauge to base the total amount you might was to donate but you do need to put a “per birdie” commitment ($10, $20, etc.) in the box next to the team name.  I’m sure whatever you donate is appreciated.  Although I don’t think it is needed, they provide an “incentive” to sponsor a team.  If your team wins you will get “autographed memorabilia from the tournament.”

On a personal note, my mother had breast cancer and was cancer free for five years but then got a different women’s cancer and left us too soon.  I’ve always been a fan of Cristie Kerr and it’s nice to see that she supports women’s health.

DISCLAIMER: I have no association with the charity or Cristie Kerr.  This is just my view of golf and charity!

Funny tweets from LPGA golfers

I have been following a number of the LPGA players on twitter and it is really amazing how much information they share about their personal lives.  Yes, they do promote events they are attending and products they use (or should I say endorse) but overall the tweets are not commercial.  In fact, many of the ladies are quite funny.

The best tweets involve photos, food and/or drink, insider jokes, and conversations between players.  Below are some examples.  If you are not familiar with Twitter, I’ll do my best to explain.  One thing to keep in mind is that anytime you see a twitter handle (like @ChristinaKim) just replace it with a name.  Here we go….

Here is a tweet from Christina Kim that represents it all (Photo, Food, Humor – self-deprecation).  Kim replied to a tweet from Nicole Hage.  Hage tweeted a photo showing her recent baking efforts.  Hage says “all done” (and includes a photo) and Kim replies ” You bake, and look like you….”

Christina Kim Tweet to Hage

Now, Kim has been tweeting a lot about her workouts at the gym (which adds to this already funny tweet.)  If you don’t know this…in the tweet above, there is a photo, Kim is the women in the front (that’s Michelle Wei behind her and the photo is from the Solheim Cup).

Nicole Hage

Here is a Photo of Nicole Hage.  I had to add the photo because Kim said  “you bake, and look like you” (so I know my readers would ask, so what does Nicole Hage look like).

Now, many of you who read my blog know I have written about slow play and how it is bad for the game.  So here is a funny tweet between two players about the time it took to play a Pro-Am tournament.

Suzann Petterson Tweet on Pro-AMChristina Kim reply to Pro-Am As you can see, Kim’s reply comes after Pettersens’ text..5:50, Stop exaggerating. Ugh!  The joke is self-evident.  Hopefully, now you get how to read the tweets.

Below is a “tweet conversation” that I loved because the players are exchanging a bit of “teasing” before a match.  Sophie Gustafson and Karen Stupples were scheduled to go head-to-head in match play (this was tweeted the night before the match).

Tweet between Gustafson and Stupples

Gustafson Foot Photo

And, Gustafson attached photo of her foot…to which, Karen later tweeted..love the golf tan.

Here is a great tweet from Karen Stupples regarding a rain delay.

Stupples tweet about rain delay in NJ

I guess as a traveling golfer you see it all.  Here is a photo tweeted from Rachel Connor.

Connor Tweet on Airplane

And how about this tweet from Sophie Gustafson at an airport terminal.  I can’t attach the video but here is a still of the object on the luggage carousel (yup, it’s a Heinken)

Gustafson Video Tweet

There are so many more good tweets I could show but this post would just get too long.  I want to end with two that are not really “funny” like the ones about; but show the great support these players give each other (as friends) on tour.

Kerr tweet to GulbisLincicome Tweet Congrats to OToole

This week, at the ShopRite tournament, the LPGA will promote the use of twitter by adding player’s twitter handles to name tags that go on the back of the caddie’s bib.  Now, as a fan, I already follow my favorites. So the bibs are interesting but I’m not sure it will get me to follow more.  As a marketing professional, I say “good for the LPGA for trying something new;” and I will be interested to see if it impacts individual player’s (i.e. will they get more followers.)  I plan to do my own research and see if I see any spikes in followers for the players.  By the way, the LPGA did tweet about the new name tags.

LPGA Photo Tweet

Finally, are you wondering which LPGA player has the most followers?  Well, it is Natalie Gulbis with 115,855 followers (as of May 28 at 2:38 pm).  This doesn’t surprise me given I wrote a blog post titled “Natalie Gulbis – This golfer is a savvy Marketer.”

LPGA – First Major of the Season

This week the ladies play in the first major, The Kraft Nabisco Championship.  In many ways this is “The Masters” for the women.  I say this because it is their first major of the season (as is The Masters for the men), it has been played at the same course (Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California) since its inaugural tournament (again, The Masters is always played at Augusta National), and the winner jumps into “poppies pond” at the 18th hole as part of the tournament tradition and they are given a bathrobe when they get out of the pond. Many have said the robe is the LPGA’s version of a green jacket (o.k., it is not a green jacket but hey, it’s better than just standing in dripping wet golf clothes).

The tournament was not always a major.  It started in 1972 as the Colgate – Diane Shore tournament.  I remember watching it as a young girl and thinking how exciting it was that the company my dad worked for had a golf tournament.  In 1983 it became a major and the sponsor was Nabisco.  Amy Alcott won in 1983 and two more times.  In fact, in 1991 when she won for the third time she jumped in the pond — this was the beginning of the tradition.  The video below gives a great overview of the history of this tournament.

This year all the golf pundits are saying Yani Tseng will win.  It seems like a “no-brainer” given she has already won 3 times this year, won last week by 5 shots, and is the number one female golfer in the world.  But I’m hoping for an upset like last year.  In 2011, Stacy Lewis beat Tseng by three shots.  Below is a nice video for Stacy Lewis.

Don’t get me wrong.  Yani Tseng is an amazing player but I want an exciting major — and that will only happen if someone can challenge Tseng.  My ideal ending on Sunday would be to see Cristie Kerr go head to head with Yani Tseng and win.

Cristie Kerr: The Transformer

There are a lot of things you can say about Cristie Kerr including: she is the 4th ranked LPGA player in the world (highest ranked American), has two major title wins (US Women’s Open 2007, LPGA Championship 2010), is the top American money winner (in history) with career earnings of over $13.5 million, the #1 ranked woman in golf for 5 weeks in 2010, and on and on.  But the thing that I find interesting is that she transformed herself back in 1999/2000 time-frame.

Kerr, herself, once used the expression “Four-eyed Fatty” to describe herself (how sad).  But not anymore, she went from being a 5′ 3 1/2″ young woman weighing 185 lbs with glasses and brownish curly hair to a women listed in Men’s Health magazine as one of the 12 Sexiest Female Golfers in 2011. And, the other 11 golfers are all in their twenties and Kerr is 33 years old.  Good for her!

Now you may be thinking how shallow of me to focus on this aspect of Kerr given her amazing golf talent but it is not “her looks” that I am focused. If looks were my focus I would have posted before and after photos of Kerr. No, my focus is on the dedication and determination to achieve a personal goal of health.  It just happens that often times with good health comes beauty because self-esteem improves and I believe beauty is enhanced by how you feel “inside.”  As a woman who loves golf and has also struggled with weight and staying healthy, Kerr is a role model.

She is one of my favorite golfers to watch because of her talent but I have to be honest that story behind the golfer made me an even bigger fan.