The Youth Movement
During a practice round at the U.S. Women's Open two weeks ago, Michelle Wie was the veteran - by a long shot. Wie, 22, was paired with Lexi Thompson, 17, and two 14-year-old amateurs at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis.
The pairing begged the question for the best route to LPGA success. Wie recently graduated from Stanford after making her LPGA debut at age 12. Thompson won last fall to become the LPGA's youngest winner at age 16 and is one of the rising stars in the route directly from high school to the professional ranks.
"It was a very personal decision for me to go there (Stanford)" Wie said. "I learned a lot about myself. I think it was a great learning experience, in general. It was one of my biggest goals in life growing up to graduate from Stanford.
"Four years in anyone's professional career's life is not that long … I've kind of accomplished that goal and I've put that aside. Now I want to accomplish this."
Juli Inkster, in her 30th year on the LPGA, has seen the transformation of the game.
"It's a business now," said Inkster, 52, who attended San Jose State. "Most of these girls when they're 17, 18, they don't go to college. They go right from high school. Or even if they are home‑schooled, they go right to the Tour. AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) - they play almost every week. It's like a factory. They just bring them out."
Here's a look at this year's winners and if they attended college:
|Angela Stanford||TCU (Speech Communications, 2001)|
|Sun Young Yoo||Chung Ang University|
|Stacy Lewis||Arkansas (Finance and Accounting, 2008)|
|Pornanong Phatlum||Chaiyaphum Rajabhat University|
|Azahara Munoz||Arizona State (Psychology, 2009)|
|Na Yeon Choi||No|
Time for golf
Michelle Wie said at the U.S. Open that very few of her classmates at Stanford cared about her professional golf career … until they graduated and went into the corporate world, hoping to blend into the new atmosphere.
"My friend just went to the U.S. Open last week for the first time," Wie said of the men's tournament at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. "It was the first time they went to a golf course. The funniest comment I was about the "Quiet Please." She's like, ‘It's like the anti-cheerleader.' It was really funny, really cute. It's nice that I have friends that have no idea."
Brittany Lincicome has a well-publicized golf game, but the Floridian has also developed quite a proficiency for fishing. The week before the U.S. Women's Open, Lincicome caught a 400-pound Goliath grouper off the coast of St. Petersburg, Fla. It took two to reel the fish in during a 30-minute battle.
Evian Masters field
The Evian Masters caps its field at 111 players, based upon multiple criteria. The tournament is scheduled for July 26-29 in Evian-les-Bains, France.
The field includes:
|1.||Top 10 and ties from the 2011 Evian Masters.|
|2.||No. 1 on the 2011 money list from the LPGA, Ladies European Tour, Korean LPGA, Japan LPGA and Ladies Asian Golf Tour.|
|3.||Winners of the 2012 completed major championships (Kraft Nabisco, Wegmans LPGA and U.S. Women's Open) and the 2011 Ricoh Women's British Open.|
|4.||All active LPGA Hall of Fame members.|
|5.||All past Evian Masters champions.|
|6.||All LPGA winners from the 2011 Evian Masters through the 2012 U.S. Women's Open (tournament preceding this year's event)|
|7.||All Ladies European Tour winners from the 2011 Evian Masters through the tournament before this year's Evian Masters.|
|8.||Ten wild-card selections.|
|9.||If the field is not filled by Nos. 1-8, the remaining spots will be filled by players on the Rolex Women's Working Rankings published on July 16.|
The field will include four Chinese players - Wegmans LPGA champion Shanshan Feng, Lying Ye, Li Jiayun and Xiyu Lin. Lin, 16, is the first player to have played in the Evian Masters Juniors Cup (in 2009) to go on and play in the Evian Masters.
Americans Danielle Kang and Cheyenne Woods are also Evian wild-card selections.
Ochoa in France
Former No. 1 player Lorena Ochoa will play in France. But not next week. Ochoa will play in the French Open in October on the Ladies European Tour. The 30-year-old Mexican retired in 2010 and gave birth to a son in December 2011. She has always said she would play a few occasional events. She will also enter her own LPGA tournament, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, on Nov. 8-11 in her hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico. She missed the event last year when she was pregnant.
Topics: Stats and Stuff