Article Courtesy of Duramed FUTURES Tour
Duramed FUTURES Tour alumna KRISTY MCPHERSON of South Carolina, played on the LPGA's developmental from 2003 to 2006, winning twice and posting 14 top-10 finishes in 3 ½ seasons. Never missing a 36-hole cut, she was the standard for consistency.
Now, McPherson, 28, is ranked 13th on the LPGA's 2009 money list with season earnings of nearly $533,000 and more than $1 million in career earnings. She has three top-10 finishes this year, including a tie for second at the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Champion and a tie for fifth at the McDonald's LPGA Championship, both majors. She also is poised to make the U.S. Team at this year's Solheim Cup competition.
McPherson recently bought her first home in Florida and has sponsorship deals with Callaway Golf, Oakley clothes and eyewear, and Kentwool, a high-end sock company out of Greenville, S.C.
At the recent U.S. Women's Open Championship, McPherson sat down with duramedfuturestour.com senior writer Lisa D. Mickey to discuss how her season is going and how she hopes it will culminate this year:
DFT: You have already posted three top-10 finishes this season with top-fives at two majors. This year is going pretty well for you.
MCPHERSON: So far, it's been a great year. People still ask me, "When are you going to win?" I think they forget that I'm only in my third year out here. They don't realize how hard it is.
DFT: Are you a stats watcher? What is the key to your strong performance in 2009?
MCPHERSON: No, not really. A big key for me was when I played well at our tournament in Arkansas last year [she tied for fourth, which was a career-best LPGA finish at that time]. By doing that, I knew I'd be back out here with my full LPGA card this year.
DFT: You won twice on the Duramed FUTURES Tour, so you already know how to win as a pro.
MCPHERSON: On the Duramed FUTURES Tour, you're playing to win. You're playing for your card and you are trying to win one of those top-10, and especially, top-five LPGA cards. You have to play to win. I learned how to win there. Obviously, I haven't won out here yet, but the Kraft Nabisco Championship on Sunday is a little more intense than winning on a Sunday in McAllen, Texas, or Morgantown, W.Va., where I won.
DFT: You had a pretty amazing record on the Duramed FUTURES Tour. In three and a half seasons and a total of 60 tournaments, you never missed a cut. How did you do that?
MCPHERSON: Just by minimizing my mistakes. I learned how to control my emotions and how to keep from turning a bogey into a double-bogey. That's why I made the cuts out there, but you're just not going to make every cut on the LPGA Tour.
DFT: You crossed the million-dollar mark in career LPGA earnings at the U.S. Women's Open Championship. That's a lot different than your life on the Duramed FUTURES Tour.
MCPHERSON: I don't care if I cross the million-dollar mark this year. Money is not going to make me happy. It really is all about what you are. Sure, it was great to buy a house and to have a little more money to take care of my family. I want to buy them a house someday. But I'm just blessed to play the game. Out here, you have hundreds of people lined up for your autograph in practice rounds. We are lucky to do what we do.
DFT: At the Duramed FUTURES Tour's tournament in Lafayette, La., this spring, you came and caddied for your buddy JENNY GLEASON. Why did you do that?
MCPHERSON: She's one of my best friends. I had a week off, so I wanted to go down there and see if I could help her. She was like, "No, you don't have to caddie," but I really like to see what it's like on the other side of the golf ball. I want all of my best friends playing on the LPGA Tour. It's tough to see your friends struggle and all of her best friends are on the LPGA.
DFT: Did you learn anything that week?
MCPHERSON: Well, Jenny still has one of the best short games I've ever seen in my life. I'd put her in the top five percent of any woman I know for her wedge play. ANGELA STANFORD is ranked No. 7 in the world, but if she had Jenny Gleason's short game, she'd be challenging LORENA OOA and everybody else right now.
DFT: This is your third year on the LPGA Tour. How do you view the progress you have made?
MCPHERSON: Your rookie year out here is like being a freshman in college. Coming from the Duramed FUTURES Tour, you have to learn how to play four-day events on the LPGA from the three-day events [played on the developmental tour]. It's a real learning process. My first year on the LPGA, I fell into the trap of watching the money list or just thinking about making cuts. My goal that first year was to make eight cuts and I made it on the number to get back out here. The second year, I finished tied for fourth and then I had six top-10s after that, so I made enough money to keep my LPGA card again. And this year, I've really learned that I play better in tougher conditions. I'm a good scrambler. Maybe it comes from having to grind.
DFT: Much has been written about your rheumatoid arthritis. How are you doing with it and has the condition affected you on the LPGA Tour?
MCPHERSON: People are always surprised to hear this, but getting sick was the best thing that ever happened to me. No way, would I have played golf. I probably would have gone to college and played team sports. I wanted to yell and scream and jump and run. I took up golf seriously because I was not able to run and slide like I wanted. It was truly a blessing in disguise. It changed my life. I still have pain, but mostly when it's cold and rainy. It's in my ankles, wrists, knees and sometimes my hips. I've learned how to deal with it. If I woke up and I felt perfectly fine, I wouldn't know what to do.
DFT: Do you still take meds for your arthritis?
MCPHERSON: Yes, I now take Mobic, an anti-inflammatory, maybe moving toward another med for a shot once every other week to better manage it. Every morning, I need about a half hour of stretching before I can get moving and I'm in the physical therapy trailer on tour every day.
DFT: How do you feel about athletes being role models or positive influences for young people?
MCPHERSON: The number of people who write me on my Web site is kind of surprising. Fans are amazing. They come up and say stuff to me all the time. There are a lot of kids around and it drives me crazy when some players throw fits out here. I really try hard not to make an idiot of myself and I don't take a single day for granted. Whether we like it or not, we are entertainers and there's a lot more to our jobs than just playing golf. We have to make sure that fans enjoy their experience and that we show sponsors we appreciate them. We have some responsibilities and one of them is to represent the LPGA Tour well.
DFT: Now that some players wear microphones during rounds for TV, I guess you have to be careful what you say.
MCPHERSON: Laugter I was miked during the first round of Corning and to be honest, I completely forgot about it. It was kind of like being on the Golf Channel's "Big Break" show. You say stupid stuff and people listen to what you say, but it's cool for fans to see the competition from inside the ropes.
DFT: Speaking of the "Big Break," people forget you were on that show in 2006 when you were still a member of the Duramed FUTURES Tour.
MCPHERSON: Laugter Yeah, people think I got out here because I won the "Big Break" or something. On that show, you basically get one chance to hit a shot and out here, you get 18 holes. But no, I did not win the "Big Break." What I remember about that experience was being eliminated early and having to stay there until the filming of the show was over. When I left in June or July to go film it, I was No. 4 on the Duramed FUTURES Tour's money list. While I was gone, I missed two tournaments and when I got back to the Tour after filming, I had dropped to No. 10. But it worked out. And people say something to me every day out here about that show.
DFT: This is a Solheim Cup year. How much do you want to be on the American team?
MCPHERSON: That is my No. 1 goal. I'm No. 7 right now in Solheim Cup points for the American team. It's a chance to represent my country. I think that's the best thing you can do. Plus, Beth Daniel was always my favorite player and with her as the U.S. Team's captain this year, I've put myself in position to make her team. That would literally be a dream come true to play for someone I have admired for such a long time. And it's something that would really make me feel like I belong out here. I want to be one of the best American players.
DFT: Other than Beth Daniel, who has been a positive influence on your golf career?
MCPHERSON: I would say that ANGELA STANFORD has helped me a ton. She's been out here for nine years and she's taught me a lot about wanting to win. She knows I really want to make The Solheim Cup team and she told me, "Would you just stop trying to figure out how to make the team and start trying to figure out how to play to make the team win? I had been playing to try to finish in the top 20 and that was the wrong way to think about it.
DFT: You were active in the Christian Fellowship group when you were on the Duramed FUTURES Tour. Is your faith something that is still important to you?
MCPHERSON: That's a whole part of getting rheumatoid arthritis. It taught me to give up control and to trust in something bigger than myself. Maybe things weren't going by my plan, but everything has a plan. Getting R.A. made me realize that even if things don't happen on your time, they're still going to happen if they're meant to happen.
DFT: Are you a plan-maker or a goal-setter?
MCPHERSON: I'm not really good at that, but I will say that finishing tied for second at the Kraft Nabisco Championship changed my career as far as having confidence on the golf course. That was the first time I held a lead after 71 holes in the first major championship of the year. Knowing that I can compete has made it a little bit easier and makes me want it more. And for my good friend Britttany Liniome to eagle the last hole at the Kraft to win, well, that was rude, wasn't it? Laugter
DFT: You know how it is at this time of year for players on the developmental tour to start stressing out as they try to earn one of the LPGA Tour cards for 2010. What would you tell them if you could?
MCPHERSON: There was a point after I missed my third LPGA Q-School when I was ready to throw in the towel and go get a job. Sometimes, it is really frustrating, but I would tell them to take advantage of this time to prepare themselves to be ready for the LPGA Tour. The competition on the Duramed FUTURES Tour is great and good players are there to become better players. It's a steppingstone. And it's another one of those faith things. I didn't plan to be out there on the developmental tour for 3 ½ years, but as it turned out, I needed it. I still have a lot of good friends out there and I'm watching the Tour's Real-Time Scoring every week to see what's going on. I've been there. I know how encouraging words can help. I know how intimidating it can be to come out here on the LPGA Tour. The last thing I would tell them is that it's important to have a good support group. You have to enjoy life. You have to keep it simple. You can't do it on your own for 30 weeks by yourself and all you're thinking about is golf. If you do that, you will drive yourself crazy and you won't last long. You really do have to learn how to leave the golf course at the golf course and to not kick yourself over a three-footer you missed last week.
Topics: Mcpherson, Kristy