16-year veteran Wendy Doolan retires
Wendy Doolan always knew the Evian Masters was going to be the last stop in her LPGA career when considering retirement, but she didn’t know the 2012 event was going to be it.
Just days after returning from the site of her third career victory, Doolan was at peace when she reached the conclusion that this was the end of her chapter on the LPGA Tour.
“After I made it through the first two rounds I was looking at where my shots were and looking at what I had done and looking at the scores that the other girls posted, I realized I didn’t have it in me to shoot those low numbers that week,” Doolan said. “When I came back as I got healthy, I worked really hard to get my game back but I just wasn’t seeing the results for my work.
I realized what needed to happen in order to be at that level again and my passion for doing that work had changed. I always promised myself that if I didn’t feel like I could have an opportunity to win, I was going to pursue something else.”
Although she missed the cut in her final event, it was still a special week for Doolan as one of her former students, Artie Edelman, was her caddy. She was able to spend time with his family and soak in the ambiance of France one last time.
Doolan began the 2012 season hoping to make a comeback from a nearly two-year break hoping to reestablish a career that showed so much promise early on. She earned her status on the LPGA Tour in 1995 after competing in a seven-way playoff in the Final Qualifying Tournament. It took nearly six years to get her feet wet but posted her first victory in 2001 with two more following in 2003 and 2004. Her time on the course was limited in recent years with rib injuries and breast cancer treatment, but just as she seemed to be back to a healthy state, she wasn’t able to rediscover the magic in her game. It’s a bittersweet good-bye for the 43-year-old, but she felt it was time to begin a new adventure.
“There are so many things I am looking forward to doing,” Doolan says. “I’m looking forward to being at home. I’ve only been married for four years and I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with my husband. I’m looking forward to this new adventure and developing a new career and it’s exciting.
“I’m looking forward to saying ‘yes’ a lot, because now I don’t have to worry about getting on a plane week to week. And it’s really important to me that I get involved with my church. God has done a lot in my life and opened many doors already and I’m looking forward to exploring those opportunities.”
The Aussie says her passion for golf will never cease, even if she isn’t competing. Although she’s unsure of what’s in store for the future, she plans to channel her abilities into coaching younger golf generations.
“The LPGA organization is not something that I want to walk away from,” Doolan says. “I would love to be involved in whatever way I can and I look forward to whatever that may mean in the future away from tournament golf.
“I’m looking forward to new opportunities. There are many things I want to do. I would like the opportunity to be involved in a golf academy and help young players. I really enjoy working with young players. When I was injured a couple years ago I started a teaching business at Grasslands Country Club in Lakeland and I’m going to continue doing that. The LPGA teaching division is something that I would like to be a part of as well. I would like to get my credentials and be active in that in some way.”
For Doolan, 16 seasons on the LPGA Tour is a time in her life she will never forget and she is forever grateful to have played a part in the organization.
“The LPGA has afforded me the ability to see the world, live in America, and enjoy a country club lifestyle which I could have never dreamed of living in Australia,” Doolan said. “I’ve met so many people over the years who have affected my decisions, my personal decisions and career decisions. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be exposed to all that and I hope to continue to mentor the young players I had the opportunity to develop relationships with.
“Joining the LPGA Tour was just a dream come true. I started playing competitive golf when I was 15 and doing junior events and representing Australia, and ever since then I had dreamt about playing on the LPGA so it was a dream come true just to play.”