This week we were in Fort Myers, Florida for the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial. This is always a very special week for women’s golf and for the Symetra tour, as it is named after one of the 13 Founders of the LPGA. Patty Berg was a very dominant part of the founding of the LPGA and her 15 major title wins remain the all-time record for most major wins by a female golfer. It is a real honor to be able to play in this tournament. The ladies from the Legend’s tour also joined us on the course this weekend. Although I didn’t get the results I was hoping for, it was still great to be able to be on the practice green next to players I watched on TV when I first started playing golf; Lori Kane, Meg Mallon, Beth Daniel, and Nancy Lopez to name a few.
During Friday’s round on my 17th hole there was a special moment I want to tell you about. Across the pond from the 17th was the 12th tee where Nancy Lopez was playing her practice round. I was in the greenside bunker and after hitting a great bunker shot (no the special moment was not my great bunker shot) that ran on a few more feet than I planned, my caddy says to me “Nancy Lopez just watched you hit that shot.” If you were looking at my face you’d have thought I won the lottery! I will cherish that moment for quite some time. Having the Legend’s play with us is a great way for us to get to know them better, pick their brains about what tour life was like for them, and hear any advice they may have to share. They will also being playing the event in Greenwood and I really encourage you to come out and watch. These ladies are not only amazing talents but also very engaging with the fans. If I can have half the abilities and accomplishments of these women are when I’m older, I will be very proud of myself.
This week we were also given the opportunity to see the movie made about the 13 Founders of the LPGA. Being from England, I didn’t know much about these American women who sacrificed a lot in order to become Professional golfers and build their own tour. In my years on the Symetra tour, I have learned little bits here and there about some of these women. We are always reminded to ‘think like Founders’ and to ‘leave the tour better than you found it,’ but I never fully understood that until I saw this movie. Stacy Lewis and Karrie Webb were the Executive Producers and did a wonderful job depicting what it was like in those days to even play golf as a woman, never mind trying to make it your profession. It was really eye opening to see what they had to go through and sacrifice in order to form the tour. Interestingly enough, they never saw it as a sacrifice and believed simply you if you love what you do you should go after what you want. It was a great reminder that I am very fortunate to play golf as a profession and I would not be able to do this had it not been for these 13 women, their love of golf and their fight to make the LPGA a reality. Unfortunately, only 3 of these women are still alive today. I am hopeful I will one day get the opportunity to meet them and thank them for their hard work and determination.
I’m really hoping this movie will be released to the public as I think it would be great for people to hear their story. This wasn’t just about golf, it was about women’s rights and standing up for what they deserved. I am going to be emailing Mike Whan, the commissioner of the LPGA, and Mike Nichols, the Chief Business Operator of the Symetra tour this week to advocate that this movie be available to buy. I know so many people who would love to learn more about these 13 special ladies.
Sometimes we all need a little reminder of how lucky we are to do what we do and it’s impressive to see how far we have come. This was certainly a good one for me and I also know I have a part in making things better than I found them!