LPGA.com counts down to the end of 2012 with the LPGA Tour's 12 top stories of the year. Join us as we look back at the year's most memorable milestones. Read about Stacy Lewis in Story No. 1.
2012 was the Year of Stacy Lewis
On a sunny afternoon in early June, Stacy Lewis was faced with an improbable question as she raised her second trophy of the 2012 season: What now?
Through just five months and 10 tournaments, the 27-year-old had checked off both of her key goals for the year; first, to win multiple LPGA events and, second, to take over as the top American on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
“When I found out that I passed Cristie (Kerr) at ShopRite (as the top American), I was shocked,” she said. “I never thought I’d have to take a step back and sort of reassess, just think ‘What do I do now?’ It really opened my eyes to chasing the Player of the Year and also to going after world No. 1. It opened my eyes that so much more was possible.”
Possible turned to probable in a matter of months, when Lewis found herself within reach of the Rolex Player of the Year trophy.
Following wins at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in May and the ShopRite in June, she added fall victories at the Navistar LPGA Classic and the Mizuno Classic in Japan, where she all-but-locked-up a trip to the podium at the season-ending Rolex Awards Reception. Following a tie for fourth at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in early November, the blond-haired girl from Texas was realizing a dream that seemed impossible just a decade earlier as she battled to overcome life in a back brace.
Impressively, Lewis’ unbelievable “back” story – she overcame scoliosis that forced her to wear a back brace for 18 hours per day for 7-1/2 years and have a rod and several screws inserted in her back – played second fiddle to her on-course accomplishments in 2012. When she accepted the Rolex Player of the Year trophy from Beth Daniel, one of Lewis’ mentors and the last American to win the award, Lewis ended an 18-year drought for Americans in the Player of the Year race, effectively carrying the flag for a group of players often thought to be overshadowed by the dominant contingent of Asian players.
But for all her victories, and even that shiny silver trophy, it was something else that stuck out to Lewis this year.
“I don’t know if I still believe it,” she said, when asked to reflect on her season nearly a month after it ended. “More than anything, I just look back at how consistent I was. It’s really not about the wins. I’m just as proud of getting 16 top-10’s and giving myself chances to get the wins.”
Consistent went from possible to probable when Stacy Lewis teed it up in 2012. And with a new year comes new goals, and it should surprise no one that a run at Rolex Rankings No. 1 will be at the top of the list.