I know it has been awhile since my last post, but I didn’t forget about you. I’ve just been enjoying my three weeks off and it isn’t very exciting to write a blog about my standing on the practice green hitting 3 foot putts. While I wasn’t traveling to any events to play, I still found myself spending plenty of time in the air and on the road. Before coming home I spent a week in Lubbock for my best friend’s wedding; a much needed and refreshing break from tour life. When I finally made it back to the homeland I split time between Clark, Sioux Falls, and Sutton Bay. I struggle with staying in one place for too long.
Last Sunday my mom and I hit the road for Arkansas and the Northwest Arkansas Championship. I felt like I was headed out to a Symetra event; it’s been awhile since I’ve road tripped it to an event. The event is held in Rogers, AK and is sponsored by Walmart because Walmart actually started in Rogers. Before Walmart (pre-1970’s) Rogers had about 7,000 people in it, it now consists of several towns that run together to make up “Northwest Arkansas” and has a population of around 500,000. While we can all have our own opinions about Walmart and whether or not we like or dislike the massive store, I can say that they definitely know how to put on a first class event. The highlight of the event took place Saturday night when we all got two tickets to a Dierks Bentley concert held at their own Walmart Amphitheatre. An outdoor concert completely free to probably 5 or 6 thousand people – pretty cool. Also, they had the 17 hole surrounded in box seating and the goal was to make it the “Loudest Hole on Tour.” I think they did a pretty good job! We were encouraged to bring things to throw up in to the stands like towels or hats. On the last day I thought about throwing my clubs up there.
If you were following along you probably noticed I had a pretty colorful scorecard the first day that ended up in an even 71. Not bad, not great. Tough to finish 2 over in the final three holes, but I was still on the right side of the cut line. However, I went out in the morning Saturday and it was less than spectacular. A couple of early bogeys and I just couldn’t get it turned around and find any momentum. It is always very hard when you feel all aspects of your game are good, but you just can’t score. It is frustrating to add another MC to the list, but I leave for the British Open on Saturday and am trying to focus all my energy on what I need to do to prepare for that.
Finally, I have had a lot of questions about my caddie and whether or not I have hired someone. First off, to clear things up on how the whole caddie/player thing works, I am completely responsible for hiring my own caddie. I can bring a friend from home, a parent, grab a new local caddie every week, or hire a professional full time caddie. The only requirement is that I must have a caddie for all days (including practice rounds) of an event. I can fire a caddie at any point during a tournament or season, and he or she can also quit at anytime they want, too. The LPGA tour has absolutely nothing to do with setting up players and caddies. Caddies and players are essentially all their own businesses; players looking to hire a caddie, and caddies looking for employment.
After Dallas, I decided that if I was to stay out here for the rest of the year I needed to do it right and hire a professional caddie. With that being said, I am putting an emphasis on “professional.” There is absolutely nothing more frustrating than when someone comes up to me and thinks that caddying is something that anyone can just pick up and do. Let me put it this way, some people are bankers, some people are hairstylists, and some people are tour caddies. It is a profession like anything else that requires a lot of time, knowledge, and experience. I do not care how good of a golfer you think you are or how much you think you know about the game, you probably don’t have the slightest idea of how or what it takes to be a caddie on tour. If you don’t believe me, take a look at a tour caddies yardage book and try to decipher it, then let me know what you think. Ok, my caddie rant is over, but I hope you have picked up on the point. With that being said, I have hired Worth Blackwelder and he has been on my bag since Kingsmill. He has been caddying on the LPGA for over 25 years, most notably for Julie Inkster and Christie Kerr. If I were to rate his experience on a scale of 1-10, he would get a 100. As a rookie there is probably nothing more valuable than a caddie that has been to a course a thousand times since I may only get to see the course once. I feel very lucky to have such a respected veteran caddie on the bag. Not only is he great on the course, but he also knows everyone out on tour and has been able to introduce me to a lot of good people. I am really looking forward to the rest of this year and I know we are going to have some great success together.
I think that is all for this week. I took a lot of photos this week so check those out below. As I said earlier, I leave Saturday for the British Open in England, which will be played in Southport at Royal Birkdale. This will obviously be my first major event and my first trip to Europe. I will be traveling solo on this trip, but will fly directly into Toledo, Ohio upon returning to play in the Marathon Classic and my father will be there for that one.
Happy 4th of July!
Me and the bride, Kelsy Hope! 🙂
A very fun night out at Tre Lounge in Sioux Falls (Thank you, Randy!)
College World Series on Father’s Day with my dad and some family from Omaha. Fun watching Tech play in their first every CWS!
Me and dad cheering on Tech…
Annual Sutton Bay trip with John Clausen, Rick Chapin, and Dave Moritz. I left three dollars ahead 😉
My new friend, Nile. Best pro-am caddie ever!
My high school golf coach and his wife came to watch. How awesome is that! Thanks, John and Robin. 🙂
My mom and I at Dierks Bentley, the real reason she drove 9 hours with me.
Great show, fun atmosphere! Thank you, Walmart and P&G, for such a cool event.
My pro-am group for the day. Great group of guys!