Two weeks in Asia have come and gone pretty fast. I write this blog on a rainy morning in Lubbock, TX after a quick nine holes on the course. I would have to say that my first two weeks in Asia were not as successful as I would have liked, but as always I learned plenty of things from my travels and first experience in Asia.
I started my Asia journey in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the Sime Darby LPGA Classic. The trip took 30 some odd hours to complete and I think the jet lag wore off sometime on Thursday. I quite honestly enjoyed my time there for it was a very Westernized city. We stayed at a hotel connected to a huge mall with plenty of American shops and restaurants, so my fear of starvation was held off for at least one week. As expected, it was stifling hot and humid. There was so much haze from the heat and humidity that I literally didn’t see the sun in 7 days. Exhausting.
I was really looking forward to playing these events with no cut. It is four guaranteed days with no pressure of making the cut and if I’m going to be honest, a guaranteed paycheck. Unfortunately, I think I left my swing on the plane. It was four of the longest, most brutal days of golf I had experienced all year. Add poor ball striking with 90 degrees of heat and humidity and you get one very long week. I tried to stay positive by reminding myself how fortunate I was to be playing these limited field events and that I could be sitting at home instead. It sounds good, but hard to remember when you’re chunking 5 irons in the water.
While we spend most of our time at the hotel or golf course and don’t have much contact with people outside the tournament, the reality is that we are in a very foreign country with very different rules and standards. We had a very scary situation occur when four caddies were stopped and questioned by two police officers, one of which was prominently carrying a machine gun, as they walked to their hotel during the middle of the day. The police likely wanted to be paid off, but the caddies were smart and were insistent that they did not have much money. Secondly, on Wednesday night we came to find out that there had been a terrorist bomb at a karaoke bar about ten minutes from where we stayed. One person died and about a dozen were severely injured. I bring these situations up because when people watch on TV they just see another golf tournament, but for us its real life. We actually live in these places for a week and deal with these security issues. The LPGA brings it’s own security staff each week and does a great job at trying to warn us of what is going on in each country that we visit; but we are as susceptible to crime and terrorism as anybody else living there. It’s eye opening to say the least.
The tournament finished on Sunday and I finished near the bottom of the pack. Not ideal, but fortunately I had another week to improve. A majority of the field went to Korea so we were all on two different red eyes Sunday night. One of the things that is different about these Asia events is that the entire player and caddie body travel all together.
I wasn’t sure what to expect in Korea, but I played my practice round in pants and a jacket and I couldn’t be more happy to feel a little bit of fall weather. It is after all October and I just can’t help but feel that it should be fall! I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to living year round in warm climates. I could tell I was going to like this place.
As you could probably see by my scores and stats, Korea was a much better event for me. I had a solid opening round in some really windy conditions (playing 4 years in Lubbock really paid off), regressed to some more poor ball striking in the middle two rounds, and then found my groove in the final round making five birdies and finishing 2 under. It definitely wasn’t an all star performance, but it was a step up from Malaysia and heading in the right direction.
I left Korea Monday morning and flew 13 hours direct to Houston. I got to Lubbock late afternoon and will spend three days here before flying back down to Houston for a friend’s wedding. It is a lot of time and travel to come back to the states during the Asia swing, but it is just part of life on tour. If we become so consumed with our life on tour and stop living life outside the tour, then what is the point in playing in the first place? While I do give up many things to go to events, there are just certain times where other things must come first. It’s a balance that I think we are always striving to find.
After my week here in Texas I will leave Sunday morning and fly back to Taiwan. I will play Taiwan and Japan and then come back to Florida for good. I did not get into Mexico this year, but will very likely play the CME Tour Championship in Naples in the middle of November. Three events to go! Time to finish the year out strong.
#2 at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club
View of Kuala Lumpur from my hotel
One of the few remaining palaces in Seoul, Korea.. with Rosa and Julieta Granada.
Buddha Temple in Seoul.
Praying to Buddha.
The “King’s Chair”
Our lunch in Seoul… I didn’t eat much.
Team dinner at Fuzzy’s in Lubbock. Miss these girls!
The newest member of the Texas Tech Women’s golf team named Cash. :)