Kerr hungry to end winless stretch
For elite players like Cristie Kerr, simply being good isn’t enough.
She’s won 14 times on the LPGA Tour – including two majors – has been the No. 1-ranked player in the world, played in six Solheim Cups and, in 2011, passed Juli Inkster as the top American money-winner in LPGA history with nearly $14 million in earnings. She has established herself as one of the top players on Tour and currently ranks fifth in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
But Cristie Kerr wants more.
By most players’ standards, Kerr’s 2011 season was a consummate success: 12 top-10s, including three runner-up finishes and three thirds, and a No. 2 finish on the season’s money list with $1,470,979 in the bank. But for Kerr, it was a season that was more about what could have been.
Now more than a year without a victory – her last coming 45 tournaments ago at the 2010 LPGA Championship Presented by Wegmans – Kerr is as focused and determined as ever.
“Top four and top six – I’m not happy with that this year,” said Kerr, who has two top-10s in nine events in 2012. “I’ve been pretty disappointed that I haven’t won in the last year and a quarter, and I’m going to just keep working hard. I’ve been close a lot in the last year, but I’ve just got to seal the deal. I just need to keep putting myself in position and find that little bit of magic I had in 2010 and the five years previous to that.
“I feel like it definitely will happen again, but it’s just a waiting game right now. I’ve just got to try and not get overly frustrated and, when I do get in that position, make sure I make that extra putt or don’t make that extra bogey during the week and clean some stuff up.”
Kerr can’t quite put a finger on what’s kept her from the winner’s circle recently, but knows the increasingly tough level of competition on Tour is definitely a factor.
“It’s ridiculous how much talent there is, and it gets harder every year to win,” said Kerr, who has re-committed herself to exercising and has been working extensively with a personal trainer.
Keeping her status as the top-ranked American on Tour will also be a challenge for the 34-year-old.
“I’ve always wanted to be the top American, but I’m not going to lie – it’s a lot of hard work day-in and day-out, and there are a lot of great American players,” Kerr said. “There are American players coming up now who are winning, and I’m not winning, so if I want to stay where I am, I’ve got to answer the call. That motivates me, and I’m up for the challenge.”
Now in her 16th year on Tour, Kerr believes she has a lot of good golf ahead and many more years of competing at the highest level. She has tons of motivation to make that a reality.
“I feel like I’ve only got half of my career done, so I’ve got a long way to go,” Kerr said. “I want to have a long, healthy career, and you’ve got to keep going. I’ve been successful, but you don’t want to rest on your laurels.”
Kerr has changed caddies and will have veteran Worth Blackwelder on the bag for her this week in New Jersey, a place the two won together in 2004. With him once again at her side, she hopes to fight her way back to the top of the leaderboard soon.
“I’ve got to forge ahead, and I’ve got to push through like I always have,” she said.