Hall of Famer Amy Alcott will not be competing in next month's Senior LPGA Championship presented by Old National Bank at French Lick Resort, but she could not be more thrilled that more major tournaments are now taking place to entice the best senior players in the women's game.
The very first Senior LPGA Championship was held at French Lick last year, when England's Trish Johnson emerged triumphant by three strokes, and another Englishwoman, Laura Davies, went on to win the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open conducted by the USGA at Chicago Golf Club in July by a commanding 10 shots.
The Senior LPGA Championship, played over 54 holes for a total purse of $600,000, is for players aged 45 and above while the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, a 72-hole championship, caters to those above 50. For the LPGA Tour legends of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, these events have been a very long time in the making but the fact that they are now a reality is worthy of celebration and good reason to become competitive once again.
"Obviously we have had to be very patient and the term out there right now is 'It's About Time'," Alcott told LPGA.com. "Now we are slowly gaining momentum and it's wonderful to have these events. Hopefully the U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be in its genesis and it will be great if we can get a few more sponsors and have it carry on, along with French Lick and other events for senior players.
"Golf doesn't stop at 50. I love to compete and just want to put the peg in the ground and go play against my friends that I have played with for so many years. I think it's great to light the fire for women over 50."
Alcott, who won 29 times on the LPGA Tour, including five major championships, took part in that first U.S. Senior Women’s Open where she was one of eight former U.S. Women's Open champions who made the cut.
"I'm glad I finished," she laughed. "I don't play a whole lot but I still love the game and go out socially and play, and do corporate outings and stuff. It was great to get the competitive juices going again at Chicago Golf Club and I loved hitting a par-five in two, the final hole. I did that three days in a row. That's probably my greatest memory of the week."
BECOMING COMPETITIVE AGAIN
Asked how much she had prepared for that week in Chicago, Alcott replied: "I worked fairly hard on my game to get ready for it. I don't play a tremendous amount. I go out and play with friends and gamble for a few bucks because I enjoy that but the chance to be competitive again definitely got my interest. And I really enjoyed working on my game a lot because I developed a new relationship with golf at the age of 62.
“You do get out of it, the competitive side of golf, because you don't have a reason to play. And now you've got a reason to play and so it develops a new camaraderie with the game. It's kept me a little closer to it."
Alcott, a member of both the LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame, loved the fact that Davies claimed the first U.S. Senior Women’s Open title in such commanding fashion while the 79-year-old JoAnne Carner managed to shoot her age in the opening round.
"It's was quite a storybook, wasn't it?" said the Missouri native whose five major championship wins include the 1979 du Maurier Classic and the 1980 U.S. Women's Open. "I must say there was a lot of emotion, a lot of emotion at Chicago Golf Club ... I thought the week just came off beautifully. I just loved being a part of it."
Expect more of the same from Oct. 15-17 at French Lick where five members of the World Golf Hall of Fame are in the starting field of 81 - Davies, Betsy King, Juli Inkster, Hollis Stacy and 'Big Mama' Carner - as well a total of 19 LPGA major champions.