The IX: Golf Thursday with Carly Grenfell, July 4, 2019
Junior Golf — Throwback interview with Alexa Pano — Must-click links in women's golf
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First and foremost, happy Fourth of July! I’m looking forward to a day off and just laying by the pool all day. I’m probably there as we speak, actually.
In other news, I wanted to put a different spin on today’s intro to talk about something I’ve never really touched on before, and that’s junior golf and junior golfers. I’ve been around some of the best of the best, specifically at last year’s Junior Ryder Cup at Disneyland Paris, and will be heading out to Connecticut next week for the Girls Junior PGA Championship! This is one of the premier events in junior golf.
If you’re not super familiar, the Junior Ryder Cup is essentially just a junior version of the ‘real’ Ryder Cup and is held the week before. It features six of the top juniors for both the United States and Europe, plus two Captain’s picks for each team for a total of eight players. Throughout the year, players can earn points through specific events to get into the top six. If you’re interested, here’s a full overview of qualification criteria of what has to happen to make the team.
Being I had mostly been around PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour professionals leading into the Junior Ryder Cup last year, the junior side was definitely new and a lot of fun! I actually had the chance to get to know these kids on a different level. All extremely gifted and pleasant to be around. But that week did definitely get me thinking about some of the challenges that come with being so good at a young age. These players travel all over the world and get to see some pretty incredible things before they even get to college. That’s rare.
Not to mention, because they are so good at golf, it becomes a matter of their parents following them around everywhere and their worlds revolving around the sport. That’s all these kids really know—traveling from one tournament to the next. And if you don’t believe me, check out the article on Alexa Pano in the links section. Her dad actually retired early so he could help her pursue a career in golf. She’s the top-ranked junior right now, so it’s paid off on the outside looking in.
I just think about players like Michelle Wie, who was a superstar really early in her career, and now can hardly stay healthy. She can’t even play the rest of the year because of her wrist injury. This is pure speculation on my part, but I truly do feel like happiness matters in sports. If you’re not happy, you probably aren’t going to be your very best. I know as a former college athlete, that was true for me. It would be really easy to get caught up in the wrong things or let the pressure get to you when everyone is telling you how great you are all the time. As a parent, I think it would be really tough to try and keep your kid grounded!
Just my two cents. Junior golf is an incredible world and fun to be around. I can’t help but think of some of the battles that might come with it, though.
This Week in Women’s Golf
Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me! email@example.com
Sung Hyun Park birdies the 18th for her seventh LPGA win in Arkansas.
Super interesting read on why private clubs can legally discriminate against women.
Five golfy things you didn’t know about the USWNT.
If you need a good laugh, definitely watch this clip from a new golf show.
Top-ranked Junior Alexa Pano is looking to make her first cut in an LPGA event.
Michelle Wie announced that she’s done for the season.
Maria Fassi is a superstar in the making.
Solheim Cup U.S. Captain Juli Inkster is blogging about crunch time.
Lydia Ko picks out her favorite skills of players on tour to build the ultimate golfer.
Paula Creamer had a great week in Arkansas last week.
Balance on the PGA TOUR and LPGA is good for the future of the sport.
The only pro female Native American Golfer returns to Thornberry.
Robertson ready to build on tradition at Oklahoma State.
This local golfer just celebrated her 100th birthday.
Duke’s Elena Carta nominated for 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year.
Tweet of the Week
Five at The IX: Alexa Pano
With Junior golf being at the forefront of today’s newsletter, I thought I’d resurface this interview of 13-year-old (at the time) and now top-ranked junior golfer Alexa Pano. This was filmed before playing in her first LPGA event last year.
How does it feel to be playing on a sponsor exemption and your first LPGA event?
It’s super exciting to be here and it’s going to be a great experience for me to be able to see what it’s like to play with the pros on the LPGA Tour. It’s going to be a really good test for my game. I’m really excited to get started.
Did you ever think you’d be here right now?
You look at these people on tv every single week and when I was five years old, I definitely didn’t think I’d be playing in an LPGA event at 13. It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m going to take advantage of it to the max and hopefully I’ll have more opportunities like this.
Where do you see yourself down the road?
I think I want to be here, exactly where I am right now. Hopefully I’ve figured things out with my golf game and I’m out here competing with all of these girls and new ones as well. And hopefully out here winning. That’s the big dream. Everyone wants to be an LPGA Professional if you’re a woman and want to play golf. I think that’s where I want to be.
Which golfers do you look up to?
When I was younger, I would watch Lexi Thompson. You just see her play and she’s out there, young, doing it and kicking butt doing it. That’s something I want to do. You look at Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer—everyone’s looked up to them for years. That’s someone who you want to be like and you learn from.
What do you want to accomplish this week?
I don’t think anyone comes to their first LPGA event with the expectation of winning. But I don’t think anyone has ever gone to a tournament saying my expectation is to lose. So, you go out and you shoot the best score you think you can shoot. Whatever happens, happens. I’m just here to experience it.