The IX: Golf Thursday with Sarah Kellam, June 17, 2021

My friend Judi — 5 summer golf reads — Must-click women's golf links

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My friend Judi

I distinctly remember one of the first times that I met Rob Harpum. 

I had just started working in Triple Crown Country Club’s pro shop after a number of years outside as a cart attendant and this member strolled in one day to talk with the head golf professional. I’m sure I had seen him around before — it’s quite difficult to miss a golf cart with a Union Jack seat cushion — but this day is my earliest memory of beginning to get to know him.

Being the aggressive Anglophile that I am, I was instantly fascinated by the boisterous, thick English accent with which the man spoke and I made sure to introduce myself, wanting to know more about this international’s heritage. While I don’t recall exactly what was said, I remember he and I had a lively albeit brief conversation that most likely involved me gushing over how cool it was that he was British. 

From that introduction onward, Rob quickly became one of my favorite members and we would always chat every time he popped in the shop before his early, dew-sweeping rounds on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I even began to get to know his family: his son Christopher, who was an exceptional junior golfer, and his wife and fellow Brit Judi. 

I knew Chris fairly well — he often accompanied his father and his friends on those morning weekend loops or would be hanging out with his buddies hitting balls and cutting up on the driving range. I only occasionally bumped into Judi either picking up or dropping off Chris for lessons or attending the trophy ceremonies for her son.

We would exchange hellos and pleasantries typical of any member/staff interaction and on to our respective days we would go, me to my work and her to her motherhood, mere acquaintances with a common denominator of knowing Rob.

I’m not sure when I learned about the cancer, but it was most definitely a surprise. You see, Judi was a total badass. She was poised, stoic even. She didn’t suffer fools and said things exactly as they were often tinged with the driest of humor that’s so stereotypical of the English. You never would’ve guessed the internal battle that she was waging with her own body and it was her ability to just drive right on that made her strength that much more admirable.

Whereas Rob and I were friends almost immediately, Judi and I grew close when I began to become invested in Chris’s golf career and coach him in middle school golf in 2017 and she was an impeccable example of a “golf mom”. We’d often discuss her son and his golf prowess and she’d matter of factly recount his rounds, not worried if they were good or bad but more focused on his attitude on the course than the numbers he shot. 

She was incredibly proud of him you could tell, but Judi always did what she could to keep Chris’s perspective in check because, as she knew better than anyone, golf wasn’t life or death. It was simply just a game. 

After that season, the conversations became more frequent and our relationship blossomed with them, with her and Rob stopping by the pro shop on their daily walks of their black Labrador Bollox (yes, you read that correctly…Bollox) and offers of a place to rent if I ever wanted to live closer to work. 

I quickly found a lifelong friendship with the Harpums, and, when I left the club to pursue a career in golf media, they were supportive and requested that I drop by their house every time I was in town to catch up over a few glasses of wine and from 2018 on, that was the tradition when our mutual schedules allowed for it. Meeting up with them was always a highlight of my trips home, one that I made a point to schedule every time I could, one that now will never be the same.

We lost Judi last week.

Every possible treatment was done, every possible doctor seen, every clinical trial tested, but in the end, the cancer just couldn’t be cured. She fought it valiantly and fought it hard, doing so without ever complaining, without ever questioning the hand that she was dealt. She just played with the cards that she had, living her life as best as she could as gracefully as she could, with never-ending strength.

I’m devastated for Rob and Chris because no one should ever have to lose their partner or their mother so early in life and especially not in this way. The worst things happen to the best people and it’s something none of us will ever fully understand. She was a great woman in every sense of the word and I count myself lucky to have gotten to know her and be her friend.

In the wake of news like this, you often get a fresh dose of perspective, one that really makes you sit back and look at your life through a different lens. 

After hearing of Judi’s passing, I started to think about how little certain things really mean in the big scheme of things, how meaningless the things that we worry about day in and day out truly are when you consider the swiftness of mortality. We get caught up in the trivialities and the most minuscule of problems when what truly matters is how we handle ourselves in the face of adversity and the relationships we make.

I think when I look back on Judi and her life and our friendship, that’s what I’ll remember most. That nothing, absolutely nothing except life and death is life or death.

Everything else is simply just a game.

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!

14-year-old Sophia Howard got to meet the Korda sisters through Dream on 3 and then got to attend their practice round at the Meijer LPGA Classic. (via

Here’s how teenager Sophia Howard got to hang out with her idols, Nelly and Jessica Korda, at the Meijer LPGA Classic. (via

Brooke Henderson is defending this week, but without her sister on the bag. (via

Visa issues are keeping Brittany Henderson from looping for her sister this week. (via

Brooke will have a new caddie on the bag at the Meijer LPGA Classic for the first time since 2016. (via

Michigan State alumna Sarah Burnham just moved to Michigan because of the relationship she has with her former college program. (via

Xiyu Lin is chasing an Olympics berth in her next two starts. (via

Su Oh is hoping for all of the good vibes at this week’s Meijer LPGA Classic. (via

Min Lee has a win and a second-place finish in her last two weeks and it could be a great week in Michigan for her first win. (via

The final round of the Meijer LPGA Classic will air on CBS on Sunday. (via

Here’s how and where to watch the Meijer LPGA Classic. (via

USWO champion Yuka Saso got to meet her idol, Rory McIlroy, at Torrey Pines ahead of the U.S. Open. (via

Yuka Saso said she was way more nervous to meet Rory than she was over her winning U.S. Women’s Open putt. (via

Gabi Ruffels and Maria Fassi were giving invitations to play in next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. (via

PXG to sponsor a match play event for up-and-coming women’s golf professionals. (via

Cognizant has been named the presenting partner for the JOHN SHIPPEN Shoot-Out. (via

The LPGA is offering a second exemption into the Cognizant Founders Cup that will go to the winner of the JOHN SHIPPEN Shoot-Out. (via

Matilda Castren became the first Finnish winner on the LPGA Tour on Sunday. (via

An incredible Sunday propelled Matilda Castren to her first victory on the LPGA Tour. (via

Finland sees its first-ever LPGA Tour winner in Matilda Castren. (via

With her victory at MEDIHEAL, Matilda Castren solidifies her spot representing Finland at the Olympics. (via

More on Matilda Castren’s historic win at MEDIHEAL. (via

Min Lee wasn’t too bothered with her runner-up finish on Sunday. (via

Check out Lydia Ko reaching a par five in two with a driver off the deck from the rough. (via

Learn more about the LPGA Tour’s Lauren Kim. (via

That’s Min Lee, not Minjee Lee, who’s been making women’s golf headlines lately. (via

Celine Boutier set the 18 hole scoring record for the MEDIHEAL last week. (via

Rachel Heck is just enjoying herself as an amateur competing with the world’s best on the LPGA Tour. (via

These are Inbee Park’s keys to success in life and golf. (via

A cool piece on Simi Mehra, one of the first Indian golfers to ever make some noise in the professional circuit. (via

The USGA says it’s important that they consistently take their signature events to some of the best venues in the game. (via

Annika Sorenstam and Henrik Stenson are proud of their Scandinavian Mixed event as they very well should be. (via

Thomas Bjørn hopes that the Scandinavian Mixed effectively showcased the women’s game to golf fans. (via

The players of the Ladies European Tour hope that the Scandinavian Mixed is as impactful as possible. (via

Caldwell and Hewson who are making headlines after their performances in Sweden will also be teeing it up at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational in late July. (via

Jonathan Caldwell took home the win, but it was Alice Hewson’s 3rd place finish at the Scandinavian Mixed that is much more significant. (via

Alice Hewson stepped up and showed out at the Scandinavian Mixed. (via

It was Jonathan Caldwell who won the Scandinavian Mixed, but Alice Hewson’s third-place finish showed just how great the event turned out to be. (via

Even though Jonathan Caldwell ended up with the Scandinavian Mixed title, the event was a huge success. (via

Check out this player blog from the LET by Linda Wessberg. (via

OCEANTEE is a Global Good Awards finalist. (via

Here’s a preview of the Symetra Tour’s Prasco Charity Championship. (via

With her win at the Island Resort Championship, Morgane Metraux is back in the top ten of the Race for the Card rankings. (via

Morgane Metraux nabs her first win on the Symetra Tour. (via

Here’s everything you need to know about Morgane Metraux. (via

This is what’s in the bag of the most recent winner on the Symetra Tour, Morgane Metraux. (via

Celine Borge shot 7 under on Sunday to card a 3rd place finish at the Island Resort Championship. (via

Savannah Vilaubi won the Colorado Women’s Open during the Symetra Tour’s week-long hiatus after the Mission Inn Resort and Club Championship. (via

Here’s the full list of Golfweek’s All-American women collegiate golfers. (via

Tweets of the Week

Five at The IX: Summer golf reads

Who says beach reads have to JUST be romances or murder mysteries? Check out these five golf books and brush up on your golf history, get inspired to go play, or improve your game this summer.

  1. Wonder Girl: The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias

  1. The Murder of Marion Miley

  1. Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships

  1. Every Shot Must Have a Purpose

  1. In the Women’s Clubhouse: The Greatest Women Golfers in Their Own Words

    Share The IX: Your curated guide to women’s sports, every weekday

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By Sarah Kellam @sarahkellam, Contributor
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By Jessica Taylor Price, @jesstaylorprice, Freelance Gymnastics Writer

Written by The IX Team