Laurie Rinker’s return to the LPGA Tour is a family effort.
After walking away following the 2009 LPGA Championship, Rinker returns at this year’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship with her son Brent on the bag.
“We’re going to have fun together,” Rinker said via phone. “It’s going to be a fun experience.”
She’ll be getting additional family support with the help of her two brothers, Larry and Lee Rinker who both spent a stint on the PGA Tour. Lee competed just two weeks ago in the Senior PGA Championship where he finished T-40. Laurie says the siblings often trade tips and insights with each other. Having not played Westchester Country Club, the site of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, her brothers were able to share valuable insight into the course layout.
“It’s a very hilly track, you have to be on the right side of the greens,” Rinker said. “I’ve been playing some longer distances, I don’t typically play that far.”
The course is expected to play at 6,670 during the tournament with a par 73, but Rinker is up for the challenge; the allure of being part of history a big factor in her decision to play this year.
“I wanted to be part of the first KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and thought it would be a cool experience,” Rinker said. “It’s a great alliance for the Tour.”
Rinker earned her place in the field with a T-3 finish at the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional National Championship last August, her first start in the event. The two-time LPGA Tour winner has been teaching at Eagle Marsh Golf Club in Stuart, Florida, sharing her 27-years of experience on Tour with her students.
“I like it, it’s fun when you get a good junior player who wants to improve,” Rinker said, adding she particularly likes conducting clinics, which is how she transitioned from playing to teaching. But Rinker continues to compete on the Legends Tour, winning four times including the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial in April.
“I’m hitting the ball pretty well and can be competitive,” Rinker said about her chances at Westchester Country Club. But she isn’t setting any goals, focused instead on putting herself in a position to score.
“I’m going to take it one day at a time and give myself as many birdie putts as possible.”
It’s certainly possible, her family is there to help.