My day ( yesterday) at the LPGA Semgroup Chps. ( Gulbis,Pressel,Ochoa,Creamer)
Hello, first let me start off by saying I had a fabulous time. I‘d always wanted to go to a pro golf event since I became a fan of the LPGA 2 ½ years ago. I really wanted to see the difference between a pro golf event and a pro tennis event and see what I liked and what I didn’t like about each.
I didn’t put this in yesterday because I was tired and got kind of sunburned. I will have pictures as soon as my friend sends them to me.
First let me say that walking a golf course is a lot of work. I don’t see how some of these ladies are as big as they are being they have to walk so much almost on a weekly basis. I got a very good work out though and look kind of orange/brown which is weird because I have tanned skin to begin with.
Secondly, Golf is very hard, whether you think it’s a sport or not you really appreciate the difficulty of it up close. On television the trees look out of the way, you’d almost have to be a fool to hit a bunker and the greens look plain and even. However some of the greens at this course looked like someone scrunched up a piece of paper and said this would make a really nice green. In other words they are very uneven. It’s hard enough to make a golf ball go straight but to make it go straight with all the variations is amazing.
Let me also say that contrary to LPGA rules lots of people had phones and cameras with them. I would say that you do have to be careful with them. I mean make sure they’re at least on vibrate or even off and just do what I did and turn them on every couple of hours and go to a secluded area to make calls or check messages. I didn’t bring my camera but again several people had cameras and as long they don’t make too much noise and you aren’t taking pictures when the players are playing you’re fine. That’s another thing I guess I was 50/50 about I would see why they wouldn’t want cameras and phones at a golf event but I could also see how it would benefit them to have it.
Some players disappointed me and other players surprised me pleasantly. I found a lot of things better than a tennis tournament and other things I didn’t like as much, for example everything is basically open seating if you plan things out right you can be 2 feet from the players on several times throughout the day.
How the day began
A friend of mine is a huge Lorena Ochoa fan as am I. He has been planning some work for the summer with her foundation in Mexico. He has seen her at several golf tournaments and visited with her several times, so much that she knows who he is and says hello and stuff. They (Lorena and my friend) are by no means friends but maintain a friendly fan-athlete relationship.
So Thursday he calls me and says how about we go? I say well let me think about it. I wasn’t in the mood to wake up early that Friday and drive 2 hours to the tournament site.
We live in Oklahoma City, which is about 2 hours away from Tulsa and Broken Arrow where the tournament was played. I woke up at 5:20 a.m. and got ready to supposedly leave around 6 a.m. but partially due to me we left at 6:30 a.m. We arrived at the site around 9:00 a.m. we bought our tickets at local gas station where they were selling them for $15 instead of $20 like at the tournament site.
We walked in and headed straight to the first tee. Getting ready to tee off were Juli Inkster, Natalie Gulbis, and Carin Koch. Another thing I like, you get a free spectator guide, which is pretty much a program. At a every tennis event I’ve gone to except challengers you have to pay $5 some places like $7 for a program filled with sponsorships and few player pictures. This one at least had some advertisements from outside companies with player pictures and it had pictures of previous winners etc.
There were very few people around as it was still kind of early so we were able to get right next to them at the tee. Juli looks extremely fit for a woman her age although I think she gets some collagen in her lips. Natalie , I feel only looks so pretty because she cakes tons of foundation and eyeliner on her face. Carin looks amazing for a woman her age. I was glad to see she is playing better this year.
Natalie’s dad was around and he is not as scary looking as some make him out to be . To me he just seemed to have a biker vibe about him.
So the ladies are announced and they tee off. One thing I had trouble with is seeing the ball some old men were like oooh, it’s dropping to the left and I was like where? I can’t see it. Most of the day I was just turning my head because everyone else did.
So we went to the next hole where Lorena was playing with Mi-Hyun Kim and Paula Creamer, which proved to be like the show group of the day. We got close to the tee and I saw her, Lorena looks stunning in person and looks very fit. She was joking around with her caddie and with Paula. Another thing I liked was that the players actually talk to each other. I am sure some would just like to kill each other but believe me you can tell when people say things sarcastically or with double entendres. The general feeling though is that of a group of friends playing a round of golf on a Saturday morning. I don’t think we’ll ever get that feeling say between Venus and Maria during a match.
I was also surprised at the amount of who I assume were Mexicans following Lorena. I think what she has done for the game in Mexico and among the Hispanic community is amazing. The best thing is that most of the people looked normal you know, like not rich more like middle class and very knowledgeable about the game.
Lorena also was like joking around with a kid in the gallery, like smiling at him and turning away and smiling back at him. So they teed off at 2 and I watched them for a little bit but by then her gallery was starting to get full so, I realized Morgan Pressel and Nicole Castrale were playing in the group ahead, as many of you know Pressel is the niece of Aaron Krickstein, a former tennis player and Nicoel Castrale won a big event on the LPGA tour last year so I figured I would follow them and then wait to see Lorena and Co. tee off and them move forward in order to be close to 2 groups of players. Morgan and Nicole were complementing each other on their shots. However, both didn’t play well at all for the day. I came to realize that most players by watching a few of the lesser known players is that putting is key, most everyone can drive fairly well and hit good irons but putting is what messes people up.
I continued doing this to see both groups, I arrived at the 9th hole green and I saw Pat Hurst talking to who I believe was her Husband who I believe works for PING. Hurst is a former major winner and lost in a playoff at the 2006 U.S. Open to Annika Sorenstam I always though of her as a nice player and would be a better player if she got in shape. I wanted to ask her for an autograph but wasn’t sure if she’d be up to it. She wasn’t playing but just seemed like she was having a good time. A woman approached her and then I followed. Having heard that she sometimes travels with her children and that she can cook all sorts of meals including meat loaf in the microwave of her hotel room I asked “Can you really cook meatloaf in the microwave of your hotel room?” she kind of half way rolled her eyes and said “I can do a lot of things” and handed me back the guide I had her sign. I don’t know how she meant it but I thought “yeah, too bad winning the U.S. Open and losing 30 pounds isn’t one of them.”
So I continued following Lorena and made it to the 13th hole two groups ahead so I could get close to the tee where I hung around and watched Meredith Duncan and a couple of other players tee off. Meredith is a big girl who has muscular legs. I saw Morgan tee off and she stood right next to me almost. Then came Lorena, Paula, and Mi-Hyun. Paula was joking with a fan. This was one of the occasions Mi-Hyun unleashed her bad side, well really more her caddie but both just don’t seem like very nice people.
By the way Mi-Hyun looks, tiny, and they way she does her hair two, girly looking braids, I’d also heard she was a devout Christian I thought she’d be nice. I don’t know she may have been having a bad day which definitely showed in the way she played but she was just always getting angry and doing weird stuff. At the 9th tee she heard a bag of chips ruffling, mind you she wasn’t event practice swinging and in fact she’d just arrived and was kind of scoping the hole to tee off. The quiet signs weren’t up or anything but she stopped went over to the side to see what it was and kind of rolled her eyes. At the 13th she had just teed off and a little boy about 2 walked close to the ropes and almost crossed the ropes before his mom ( I assume) snatched him up and her caddie ran over and looked like he was about to throw the kid which was interesting why he seemed so annoyed being that Paula and Lorena had smiled at the baby and Paula even joked with a fan at the 13th and Paula’s caddie even smiled at the woman with the kid. At the 16th Mi-Hyun hit a shot in the fringe and was hitting her clubs over and over.
She just didn’t seem very nice at all.
About caddies, some of them are pretty young looking. I wouldn’t be surprised if some were in relationships with the players. I mean two fit relatively young people spending that much time together….
The 14th hole is next to some horse stables and you could smell the horse “droppings” because it was a windy day.
After the 16th hole I realized we were there to meet Lorena so I saw them tee off at 17 and then started to walk toward 18 because I knew the players would leave from there.
I saw Jane Crafter who commentates for ESPN and ESPN2 and whose voice I love and wanted to say something but she seemed really busy.
I also saw tons of hot people at the event. I wish one of them would have chit chatted with me and asked for my number. I mean we already had one thing in common being at the event and all but anyhow….
I arrived at 18 just as Morgan and Nicole were arriving at the green I went around and saw a group 0f 12-15 year olds start waling around some bleachers so I followed them and sure enough they were waiting outside the scoring tent where players sign for their score. After they finished Morgan came out and signed a lot I had a picture of her from a magazine and it was on a dark background so I specifically bought a silver permanent marker for the occasion but she just signed with a black marker, I mean you can still see her signature but it would have looked so cool in silver.
Nicole signed but was less talkative than Morgan.
Lorena and her group were coming to the green as they were received with applause. By then a short security guard, who I am sure was shorter than many of the players was harking and barking about how when they came out he was going to set up rope barriers and how you were not going to get in between the ropes which a lot of people didn’t understand what he exactly meant.
They finished up and the ropes were set up. He kept telling people to take two steps back and that the rope needed to stay straight or it was all over.
So Paula comes out of the scoring tent first and does an interview with ESPN2 and they guy announces Miss Creamer is going inside to do an interview and then she’ll be back. As she’s waling toward the clubhouse I don’t want anyone holding up anything for her to sign or she won’t be back, Immediately the huge group of 12 year olds started saying no, she is going to sign I don’t care what he says.
I think Paula heard him and in an act of defiance went all the way to the other side and started signing. If she was going to an interview inside she was sure going to make them wait. She got close to me and a little boy on the other side said Paula and she turned and said “Okay, I’ll be right there” everyone got a giggle out of that. She signed my program and I said thanks and she said anytime. I don’t know but I always like it when people say you’re welcome or something. The guy next to me said “will you have another Jomba Juice today and she said she would. He later explained he saw Paula at a local Jomba Juice the day before.
Paula is stunning in person she looks much better than those awful pictures on the LPGA site that make her look 35. Her hands were sun burnt and dry but she is truly beautiful and seems nice enough.
Mi-Hyun came out and of course she didn’t sign but it was just as well because no one really wanted her autograph, a few people including myself held out things but she walked right by. I didn’t see why especially because Morgan and Nicole who ended up missing the cut signed.
Lorena came out and immediately the media hounded her in a corner. She then did an interview for ESPN2 and started to sign autographs. By then my friend who knew her was next to me and Lorena was signing on the other side she came over to me and signed a magazine but she also had a really light colored marker and it didn’t show too well. My friend said to her hey, Lorena my friends are with me and she said cool let’s talk and she told the mean security player to let us through the rope, he did and immediately he started saying why don’t you gentlemen go up there and I’ll bring her right over, in other words he started being nice, of course a fake nice but it was ok. I felt so V.I.P. for 10 seconds. After she signed a million autographs she came over to us and talked to my friend. We took pictures and chatted for about 7 minutes. She is really nice and down to earth.
I don’t envy her life however. I admire her more for handling this hectic life and the fact that everyone wants something from her whether it be an autograph, interview, picture,ball etc.
By the way don’t ask players for a ball or a club or anything they might use to play. By the time they come out their bags are long gone with the caddie. It annoyed me that people would ask for balls and I was like where is she going to get one at this instant?
Gulbis,Inkster and Koch finished. Juli signed, Natalie signed a lot, and Carin signed a lot also. Once again Natalie played badly but still signed and smiled for everyone and talked to people Anna K would not even do this.
I had an amazing time once again, I would be happy to answer questions. I also briefly saw a few other players as well.
Pictures will be up as soon as my friend sends them.
Julieta Granada Minea Blomqvist Sophia Sheridan Suzann Pettersen Annika Sorenstam Paula Creamer Grace Park