The IX: Golf Thursday with Sarah Kellam, April 22, 2021
Lydia Ko, Hoodies for Golf, and Annika plays again — Lydia Ko's winning press conference — Must-click women's golf links
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Lydia Ko, Hoodies for Golf, and Annika plays again
The LPGA making headlines is becoming par for the course (pun intended). And this past week especially, it seems that women’s golf is finally being paid the attention it deserves.
Lydia Ko kicked it off with her victory at the LOTTE Championship, winning by an astounding seven shots and carding 67-63-65-65 en route to the title. It marked her 16th win on the LPGA Tour and was her first in almost 3 years, a grueling amount of time for one of the game’s biggest and most talented stars, and Lydia’s dominating performance garnered a lot of buzz on social media.
Many compared her success to the victory drought recently ended by Jordan Spieth after he won the Valero Texas Open the first week of April but, while the two have had eerily similar paths through the professional ranks and have experienced struggles lately, I don’t know if it’s a fair comparison.
Jordan’s trials seemed to be fraught with frustration and desperation over the past couple of years and, to be honest, his play was sometimes hard to watch. Conversely, Lydia seemed much more poised in her quest to return to the winners’ circle and despite making a lot of changes to her camp in terms of caddies and swing coaches and the heartbreak she experienced losing to Danielle Kang in dramatic fashion at the 2020 Marathon Classic, she never appeared panicked about her inability to close the deal.
Instead, Lydia remained patient, confident that her time would come again, and now that it has, you can bet that she will be a force to be reckoned with for the rest of the season.
Then, earlier this week, Michelle Wie West answered our questions about the hoodies that members of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors had been wearing that caused a buzz on social media, officially launching her “Hoodie for Golf” campaign in collaboration with the LPGA Tour.
The initiative is focused on promoting the LPGA organization as well as growing and diversifying the game of golf with proceeds from the sweatshirt sales going to the Renee Powell Fund and Clearview Legacy Foundation.
The tie-dye hoodie has already sold out twice online and it’s hard to go five minutes on both golf Twitter and golf Instagram without seeing someone of note in the game donning one. Judy Rankin even wore hers in the booth during the first round coverage of the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open.
It’s a genius play from Wie West and the Tour to come up with something like this. Not only is it the easiest way to garner widespread support for the organization (because let’s be real, who doesn’t love a tie-dye hoodie in 2021?), the mission behind it that supports charities that are encouraging young women and more importantly young women of color to pick up golf is EXACTLY what we need more of in the sport.
It’s critical for the health of the women’s game to diversify and we also need to increase our visibility to the public in any way possible so if sweatshirts are the means of accomplishing both of those goals in tandem, I’m all for it. Bravo.
And finally, this week Annika Sorenstam announced that she will again play some golf in 2021, teaming up with Henrik Stenson in the Scandinavian Mixed event that the pair are hosting in Sweden in June.
It’s exciting to have a men’s and women’s team event and The European Tours have had success with these kinds of tournaments in the past, but I sincerely hope that the PGA Tour one day decides that the opportunity is worth pursuing. Everyone is asking for them to consider collaborating with the LPGA Tour and I think it’s high time for that sort of event to come to fruition. If Stenson and Sorenstam teaming up is any indication, there are professionals on both sides of the aisle that are committed to the cause so why not give it a try? What have we got to lose?
In Annika competing again news, we’ve seen her play twice already this season at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions and the Gainbridge LPGA and her performance wasn’t lacking competitive juice.
Her old ways are still in there and while the spectacular shots are fewer and further between, Annika is still good for a hole out or chip in every once in a while. I can’t imagine what we will see from the GOAT in a team format, but I can tell you it will not disappoint.
The women of the LPGA Tour are proving that this side of golf is interesting, inspiring, and deserving of the coverage it receives and more.
They are #womenworthwatching.
This week in women’s golf
(Reminder: First: the underlined words are the links. Second: CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. ESPECIALLY NOW, as newsrooms are forced to make difficult choices. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers, and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me! firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Check out this interview with Michelle Wie West about the #hoodieforgolf project that she spear-headed in collaboration with the LPGA Tour. (via GolfChannel.com)
Annika is teaming up with Henrik Stenson in the Scandinavian Mixed in June. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Jin Young Ko’s world number one ranking could be in jeopardy sooner rather than later. (via GolfDigest.com)
Moriya Jutanugarn opened with a 66 this week in Los Angeles. (via GolfDigest.com)
Here are some of the groups to watch at the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open. (via Golfweek.com)
Sei Young Kim is looking forward to teeing it up in Hollywood. (via LPGA.com)
Amy Rogers and Adam Stanley caught up with Minjee Lee on the latest episode of The Amy and Adam Show and chatted with her about her time in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. (via GolfChannel.com)
A former UCLA Bruin, Tiffany Joh has all of the good memories and gratitude for her health ahead of this week’s event in Los Angeles. (via LPGA.com)
The LA Open is a hometown event for rookie Andrea Lee. (via LPGA.com)
Here’s how to watch the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open. (via LPGA.com)
Ron Sirak on Lydia Ko’s long road to her 16th LPGA Tour victory. (via LPGA.com)
Lydia Ko nabs her first win in almost three years at the LOTTE Championship. (via Golfweek.com)
More on Lydia Ko’s first win in 3 years. (via GOLF.com)
Jessica Korda shouted “Kobe” after holing out for eagle in Hawaii. (via GolfDigest.com)
Inverness Club, host of the 2021 Solheim Cup, is covered in snow right now. (via GolfDigest.com)
Check out this opportunity for juniors golfers to enter a contest to have a chance to meet and train with Brooke Henderson. (via GOLF.com)
Ruixin Liu won her 6th Symetra Tour title on Sunday. (via SymetraTour.com)
Here’s what you need to know about the latest Symetra Tour winner, Ruixin Liu. (via SymetraTour.com)
Here are the featured groups for the Symetra Tour’s Copper Rock Championship. (via SymetraTour.com)
Check out these storylines ahead of this week’s Symetra Tour stop in Utah. (via SymetraTour.com)
Here’s a preview of the Garden City Charity Classic coming later this month for the Symetra Tour. (via SymetraTour.com)
The 2023 Solheim Cup will be held in Spain for the first time ever and for Azahara Munoz, it’s a HUGE deal. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Los Naranjos Golf Club will host the LET’s Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España this November. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Here are some of the best shots from last season on the Ladies European Tour. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Auburn is Golfweek’s women’s college golf team of the week. (via Golfweek.com)
Gina Kim is Golfweek’s women’s college golfer of the week. (via Golfweek.com)
Auburn bested Mississippi State in match play to take home the SEC Championship. (via Golfweek.com)
Here’s a full list of all of the women’s college golf conference championships with what teams have won and what events are yet to be played. (via Golfweek.com)
Tweets of the Week
Five at The IX: Lydia Ko’s Winning Press Conference from the LOTTE Championship
What was the mindset as you refocused yourself heading into the final round?
I said to myself trust my training, and this morning Sean texted me, Hey, just trust and conviction, and I wrote that on my pin sheet today.
It’s kind of the mindset I took. I said to myself, Hey, I feel like the winner’s already chosen but we obviously don’t know, so I’m just going to go out there and play the best golf I can and see where I finish at the end of the day.
Obviously nice coming up the last with six- or seven-shot lead, especially seeing that pin position kind of scared me a little bit. But, yeah, no, nice to be back in the winner’s circle. And I felt like I was going to cry but I’m proud of myself for not crying.
Overall I’ve had an incredibly fun week here in Hawaii and I’m — I know I need to work on my Hula dance a little bit, but, yeah, no, it’s been awesome. So I’m proud of the way I stayed patient leading up to this moment.
I think that’s all worked in the end.
I remember hearing you on the green and you said, I’m trying not to the cry, I don’t want to cry, I don’t want to cry. How much does this win in Hawaii mean to you?
It means a lot. I think there were times I think it was harder and sometimes when — it’s not about other people’s expectations, but when you put expectations on yourself and you feel like you’re not reaching it.
And I think I was putting more pressure on myself and doubting myself, and I’ve been very fortunate to have a very supportive family and team and friends that have just built the confidence in me. Sean I feel like gives me so many great wisdoms and builds that confidence in myself where at times I didn’t feel like I had it.
Just makes me grateful that I just have a loving people around me that are just supporting me no matter what. I think it’s more I was proving it to myself than to anybody else.
And I know this feels great, but obviously playing next week, and I think it just says at the back of my mind. It takes away that doubt that I can do it.
And when you stay patient and keep working on the right things, everything naturally follows.
How does this one feel different than all the rest? Sweet 16?
I remember when I was Sweet 16. (Laughter.) Not so long ago actually.
No, I don’t — like it’s really hard to compare like one to another. I think every single win is so different. Obviously waited a little while from my last one in San Francisco to this one, and I had waited a while for my 15th win at Mediheal as well.
So, yeah, definitely nice. I think this week I’ve just had such a good time going out, going on hikes, just enjoying Hawaii that you golf was kind of a natural thing.
That was also the case on my 15th win, where my friend surprised me because it was my 21st birthday, and I just enjoyed spending time with him. San Francisco is obviously a place where I have a lot special memories, so I was obviously focused on my golf, but just enjoying everything.
And I think sometimes you just — like because golf is such a huge factor in my life, that I just looked down one road. This week I’ve kind of had my blinds open and just enjoying being here. I think that’s almost helped me to be a little bit more relaxed, just accept what — if things go great, that’s great. If not, I can’t do much about it.
How does your game now — does anything feel like it did when you were 15 again?
I don’t even remember when I was 15. I can’t even remember what I had for dinner last night. Yeah, you know, I think this week I felt like I hit each shot, like my drives or my putts, with confidence.
I feel like when I’m hitting it with confidence and aggressive kind of mindset, that’s when I hit it the best and play the best, because it’s more free and I’m controlling it less.
I don’t know why I did that better this week than others, but I think I was being less tentative just sticking to my game plan. And if it was a tough driving hole, just hit it more aggressively. I felt it was — felt great hitting a really solid drive down the last.
Yeah, so I guess things just clicked, and I don’t mean like it clicked in a technical way, but I think it just clicked I think sometimes between the ears. I think just having my team to kind of always remind me of my keys, key aspects has really been helpful for that.
What was the biggest difference for you in how you carried yourself today versus the final round of the 2020 Marathon?
2020 Marathon I played great up until the last hole, to be honest. Obviously wasn’t the finish that I had envisioned, but sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.
I know that my finish was not great, but Danielle played great golf. I think my finish overshadowed the great golf that she had played.
But on Saturday night sleeping before the Marathon final round I was pretty nervous. I couldn’t really sleep properly. That’s when I knew that it had been a while that I been in this position and also means that it means a lot to me.
But tonight — or last night I slept really well. Didn’t wake up through the night. I think I’ve just been trying to think what’s meant to be is going to be. I just got to accept what gets thrown my way and do a good job with the things I can control.
If things go my way, that’s great. I know sometimes even if you try your 110% it’s not going to be your time. That’s what I tried to take from that. Even though Marathon I didn’t end up winning, it had been a while since I’d been in that kind of position.
So it was disappointing, but at the same time, gave me a lot confidence to say, Hey, I can be back in contention. I think all those kind of moments become experiences and become super helpful to moments like this.
One last follow up. Who helped you find that mentality?
You know, I always thought like even in my past wins, sometimes you just hit a tree, and when it’s not going your way it goes in the worst possible place. And then sometimes you hit a tree and it comes back on the fairway. Like things just happen, and that’s where I’ve kind of naturally thought in my mind.
I feel like there is already a chosen winner and we don’t know. For us, our job is just to do a good job of what you have in front of you and do a good job with what you can control.
Whatever happens, it just happens. There are so many aspects we just can’t control. So I’ve just kind of thought that, and I think the more times I played and put myself in these kind of positions that you’re able to realize that sometimes it’s just — it’s going to go your way and sometimes it’s not.
I know when the times it doesn’t it’s going to hurt, but those moments make me my stronger. I’ve had so much support from any family and I know that they — no matter if I shoot 81 or 61 they don’t love me more or less. I think having — Sean has always been helpful where he says, Even if you win it doesn’t make me a better person, it doesn’t make me — yes, it’s going to make me a little happier at that moment, but it doesn’t change anything else.
I think he’s been a huge help to clear out questions in my mind and really embrace myself for who I am and just accept and be grateful for everything.
It looked today and throughout this tournament and even past tournaments in the last few months that you have been having so much fun. How much fun are you having and when you are having fun, how much does that help you play better golf?
I think when I’m having fun and being happy that’s when I play the best golf. I think that’s because there is less things that is going through my mind. I know sometimes I overcomplicate things and go, Oh, maybe I need to do this or that. I just get in the way of myself.
When that happens I think I like ask Sean and go, Hey, just to clear those doubts. He puts all the rubbish thoughts that come in and just swoops it to the side for me.
I think when — I think it’s not just myself, but I think in generally when people are having fun you’re able to perform at your best. It’s kind of having that balance between having fun and being focused. I’ve just been trying to enjoy it. I think especially with COVID I think we’re very grateful that we can come out and play and compete.
I know that we had a span for six months where we couldn’t, and I know a lot of people have been struggling, have lost loved ones, and are in that tough situation even now.
As golfers we’re very lucky that we’re in this kind of atmosphere and we can come back to our job and spend time with the people that we love and compete. I think that’s kind of been the mindset of just being grateful. I think that way you just kind of see the world in the better way rather than feeling like, Okay, what are the bad things going on in my life? I think all of us here are very lucky about everything that is happening.
With that kind of mindset you end up enjoying it and want to embrace the whole journey ahead.