The LPGA has come to town. It's close by, tickets are cheap, and it's being held at a classic, PGA TOUR caliber course. So not only will I be attending my first LPGA action this weekend, I thought I'd swing by on practice Wednesday to enjoy some of the close-up access I'd heard so much about.
For me the trip begins in Grand Central Terminal, then on the Metro-North railroad to the Rye, NY station.
Crossing the Harlem River into the Bronx.
Free shuttles from the train station.
There is exactly one rider on this bus--me. So far, if there is a buzz around this tournament, I am not feeling it.
Westchester CC is a grand old club.
This being my first women's pro golf event, these two broads (identities unknown) were the first female pro golfers I've ever seen in action. I sat in the bleacher. They took forever to hit their shots. This is the first hole by the way, a 180y par 3.
Made my way to the practice green. There's Cheyenne Woods. That's right--Earl's granddaughter.
Business ladies in a putting clinic.
LPGA journeywoman Sandra Gal helping ladies, probably building connections and empowering too.
Legend of LPGA Juli Inkster.
LPGA loudmouth Christina Kim.
At last, I spot an elite player, Stacy Lewis. Respect.
LPGA journeywoman Belen Mozo from Spain.
Stacy still doin' work. This kid works hard, I can tell.
Roaming around now. This is #10. Wow, Westchester is a serious, demanding course. Looking forward to seeing the competition play out.
Lot of doglegs and elevation changes. Major championship type turf conditions--thick rough, fast greens.
Another dogleg shooting up to a really narrow, elevated, multi-tiered green. I think there's going to be some carnage this week.
Wait a minute.
Here is a WASPy American girl wearing the logo of a Korean sponsor. The take over is about complete.
This being my first time, I'm a little bit aghast at how long the players take on the greens. The next group has been standing in the fairway for a couple minutes while this one is checking out every spot on the green. I guess this is just how it's done.
Huge elevations to deal with.
Hello frog, what you knowing? I came to watch your hazard flowing.
Being the only one out here, it's getting lonesome. Think I'll head back towards the clubhouse and maybe I can spot an A-lister on the practice green.
These Japanese media guys were hard at work.
The giant of the LPGA, Anna Nordqvist from Sweden. In person she didn't look that big.
I got restless and went back to the first tee in time to see an A-lister all right--Lydia Ko walking to the green. I am starstruck seeing the world number one, the teenage prodigy from the other side of the planet. For me this is kind of like seeing a young Mozart at work. Shadowing her is the Emperor Palpatine of professional golf, David Leadbetter.
Lydia and her group doing homework around #1. She's so relaxed and outgoing. Gives off positive vibes. A credit to the human race.
These are highly challenging green complexes. Short game weaknesses will be exposed, I think.
I watched Lydia hit one last tee shot and went back to the clubhouse.
On the way back, I see none other than America's Sweetheart, Paula Creamer.
For an audience of one--me--she hit a couple of approaches into #2. Surprised to see nobody following her.
I made my way back to the practice green, and there was a small crowd, the only one I'd seen all day, and murmuring. I peek in between shoulders. Gasp. There she is. Her Highness. Miss Thang. The face of female golf as we know it. There's her dad, too.
LPGA bruiser Brittany Lincicome.
With all the grace of a baby elephant, China's Shanshan Feng butted right into Michelle's space. Kind of a power move. I like it.
Young South Korean Terminator Hyo Joo Kim.
The great Suzann Pettersen. Much more petite than she appears on the TV.
LPGA up-and-comer Jessica Korda faking her way through a TV spot.
LPGA journeywoman Hee Young Park. One thing I notice is the brands Volvik and Ping are very well represented on this tour. Whatever that means.
The range is a long walk away, but I need to check it out. On the way I was starstruck again. World Golf Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak. I feel like people will be talking about this woman, singing songs about her, in a hundred or two hundred years from now, so this is a cool sighting.
Unfortunately I didn't get to see one of my favorite players, but I took a wrong turn into the parking lot and saw her courtesy car at least.
On the range, Yani Tseng is working hard. I hope she can find some form this week.
Sakura Yokomine of Japan seems to be kind of big deal.
Milling around a premium golf course checking out famous golf pro's in action was pretty fun, but you can only have so much fun in one afternoon. I'll be back for one of the weekend rounds.