Saturday, March 19, 2011

Walking with the legends

One would hope that the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup would spur a renewed interest in the history and tradition of the game and not just the LPGA Tour but also the PGA Tour and the game in general. That, of course, has yet to been seen. There is no golf soothsayer to give us a vision of the future. But what we must do is remember the past with a view towards guiding us into the future.

So with yesterday's exhibition match featuring Betsy King, Patty Sheehan and Nancy Lopez and a legendary spectator named Pat Bradley, the past became the present once again reminding us why we love the LPGA.

So here's just a few highlights noted from walking with the legends.

When the ladies arrived on the 15th tee box, one of the original thirteen founders showed up to observe the action. When Sheehan spotted Shirley Spork she immediately brought her to the tee and introduced her to the lucky crowd. The ovation and appreciation was three times the size of the gallery.

Then on the 16th tee Founder Marilynn Smith appeared. Sheehan didn't pass on this opportunity either. She took hold of Smith's arm and guided her to the tee and introduced her to the crowd also.

We're not sure many people noticed this moment, but as Brittany Lincicome was playing #11 the Legends were playing the parallel 16th. Obviously hearing the commotion, Lincicome came to the top of the rise separating the two holes, observed the scene and smiled graciously. On a mystical note, Lincicome was rewarded for honoring the “golf gods” with a fine score of 67 (-5) for the day.

Sheehan also showed us that these gals can still play with a birdie on #16 with a 30-foot putt. The putt followed a wedge from a distance of 106 yards in a fairway bunker with the ball sitting about one foot from the lip.

Sheehan and King are both still using putters from their days of great play on the LPGA Tour. King's Bullseye and Sheehan's 8802 both have birthdays dating back to the early 1970's.

Yes, this exhibition was designed quite efficiently. It was a perfect fit for the theme of the event. And even though it may have been an admiration society, it was a mutual admiration society.


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