McDonald’s LPGA Championship 2005-Aberdeen MD

My player this week is Il Mi Chung

Monday: The pro-am was scheduled for today and tomorrow so all I could walk was nine holes. Long and tough with slick greens and deep rough. Just the way a major should be set up. I came out late to get the back nine done after we practiced but that was cut short due to a sever thunder storm. The funky pro-am format resulted in six hour rounds and the last few teams couldn’t finish. The pro plays her own ball and the amateurs could only play off her tee ball but not any other shots. They play a scramble the rest of the way with no help from the pro. The best ball of the team is recorded. As you may imagine, less accomplished players have a tough time if  the pro is having a bad day.

  • Two of the longest par fives we play are on this track. Number two at 555 yards and number eleven at a whopping 596! There is no step cut so if you miss the fairway you’re in the deep stuff. The greens are scalped and rolled every day.

Tuesday: First out of the box for the pro-am and it still took us 5:40 to play. It was worth it though, made my biggest tip ever.

Wednesday: Played the back nine with Leta Lindley and her husband Matt. One of the perks for a husband/caddie is that walking the course is optional. That was the case for this twosome so I lent a hand on targets off the tees for the blind holes. A bit of practice after lunch and we were done. With this heat (85°+) rest may be the best preparation.

  • This McDonald’s Championship has lost much of the flavor, literally, of past events. The absence the McDonald’s food trailer with it’s aroma of burgers and fries is starkly evident. The humongous Ronald McDonald inflatable that was precipitously perched atop the Dupont club house is also MIA. Though this monstrosity will not be missed, you knew right from the start whom was footing the bill. In fact, you have to look very closely for any signs of ‘The Golden Arches’. I heard the food trailer was nixed to optimize revenue for the current concessionaires. Sure will miss my annual Quarter with cheese and a large fry in the middle of a steamy afternoon!
  • A few other belt tightening decisions were made that’s not sitting well with the caddies. Our long time caddie masters, Sam Lloyd and Roy Smith, haven’t received the treatment of past years deserving of their contribution. Having to pay for their accommodations so far from home, scrounging for a box of donuts for the caddie area and having to bring in their own coffee pot are just a few annoyances associated with this year’s event. As a result, this event bodes farewell to our compadres. The basic organization seems lacking. A whole new group of volunteers surely contributes to disarray.
  • The course is one of the better lay-outs I’ve seen but the main practice putting green is a bit of a conundrum. It has no semblance to the undulating greens on the course but that a plot of turf prepared for lawn bowling. Put some rails on it and you would have one gigantic billiard table! Trying to get a feel for the topsy-turvy breaking putts encountered during your round is all but impossible.
  • A shortcut through from the third green to the next tee takes us through the trees over a low wooden walkway. Sherri Steinhauer found out the hard way that soft-spiked golf shoes and wet wood don’t mix. During yesterday’s pro-am she took a tumble on the ice-like surface but managed to finish the round. Sand was later scattered about to provide a bit of traction.
  • A contrast in decorum; Michelle Wie refused a request from a teenaged fan to sign a souvenir pellet stating “I don’t sign golf balls”. While Brittany Lincicome, after a late pro-am time, drove to Baltimore for a TV interview, came back after eleven, then arose early for a seven o’clock radio interview. Think Michelle may be getting some wayward advice?
  • The new catch phrase for the LPGA is “These Girls Rock”! I only wish it was true.
  • Jamie Hullet finds a new cadero on the bag after Wilksie switched over to Mi Hyun Kim when Kimmy’s looper was called up to ‘the show’. Jamie’s dad Larry, a avid reader of The Caddie Corner, will be toting his daughter’s bag for the week. Keep cool Larry and lay off the brewkies this week!

Larry and Jamie

  • Big Break III contestant Cindy Miller will be teeing it up this week. I found her on number one about to play with Pat Bradley.

Cindy

Pat

Thursday: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

A perfect morning for a round of golf and Il Mi took advantage. The greens were holding, dead calm till the last four holes and only a couple nasty lies in the rough to deal with. I mentioned it was my birthday today and Il Mi asked what would I like for a present? I responded “Two under par”. Almost got it. Finished at -1 concluding with a bird on eighteen. The bird doesn’t seem to remarkable except for the fact we had to hit a four iron, off a hook lie, to a left front pin, guarded with water on the left. She stuck it within seven feet and snuck in the putt on the low side.

  • The field staff came to their senses and moved up the 596 yard eleventh hole about 25 yards. Now we can hit three metal past the 17 yard wide neck in the fairway and have a reasonable shot to the green.
  • They really scalped a few of the greens and tomorrow’s pin on the third hole is in just such an area. It looks like mowed dirt right now so I can’t imagine what it’ll be like when we play it late tomorrow.
  • Lisa watch continues; Lisa Kiggens returns, after a few weeks off, on her quest for ‘rookie caddie of the year’. She’s made seven cuts in a row and the pressure is on her current bag, Michelle Estill, to keep the streak alive. Oops! Finished at +7. Need to bring it tomorrow.. 
  • How about this group? Annika, Natalie Gulbis and Gloria Park shot a combined 10 under par!
  • My computer seemed to be lost in ‘UPS Hell’ with time running out for a delivery this week. After further investigation, seems they sent it back to the Super 8 in Corning for the second time! An apology and promise of next day air delivery to my current address was offered to smooth things out.
  • Angela Jerman shot 88! What the heck has happened to her game?
  • Found three new Titleist still in the box on the practice green. The initials marked on the balls were BK. Ring a bell ‘Motorcycle Jim’? Jim works for Betsy King and she was on the second hole by the time they were noticed. Souvenirs for the green’s marshal.
  • Notice anything odd about this picture?

The car in the middle is mine! The a-hole behind me must think my car has wings. Luckily, the auto in front was a tournament vehicle and was able to be moved.

Figures the a-hole would have a vanity plate. Yeah, maxed out of brains!

Friday: Bunted it around and putted her butt off for a super round of 4 under par. Missed a 4 foot birdie putt on the last hole and it was a harbinger of things to come. Too much thinking and not enough playing.

  • Seems the concessionaires this week do not have the food handling standards McDonald’s strives for. The main concession tent near the clubhouse was threatened with closure from health inspectors if improvements weren’t made.

  • Parking is the main nightmare this week with caddies and even some players being turned away from the lot. This did not dissuade the most determined though, daring the police to arrest them and driving on was a maneuver that got them a spot.

Saturday: Our easygoing style that put us at -5 the last two days just wasn’t good enough for Il Mi today. As we headed down the first fairway she stressed that outside distractions were to be avoided and we should just pay attention to ourselves. That kind of thinking puts more emphasis on were you stand and tension replaces relaxed confidence. It showed with an abomination of errors that resulted in a round of 79 strokes! You dance with the one that brought ya.

  • Lisa’s streak has come to an end with Michelle Estill missing the cut at +7. Time to start another one.

  • Now I’m getting pissed; My computer arrived and is worse off then when I sent it in. Besides still running slowly, it seems to be sensing an over-heating situation, the fan runs continuously, and shuts itself off. I’ll be sending it back again next week. They think it may be the mother board. Really?

  • Wendy Ward’s caddie Carl ( The Machine), had an intestinal volcanic attack on the course yesterday, rivaling anything found South of the boarder, and couldn’t finish the round. The doctor guessed that too many Powerades may have been the culprit but waiting an hour to eat the sandwich that Wendy gave him with the advice of “Eat this now before it spoils” may be a close second.

  • Figuring his player, Wendy Doolan, missed the cut at +5 and wanting to get back home to Mississippi before the tropical storm hit, Tex headed for the Philly airport, returned his rental car and checked his bags awaiting word from his wife with assurance that he had the weekend off. Fifteen minutes before departure the call came that he made it on the number. The bags came off, the one-way ticket rescheduled at  a higher cost than the original round trip and a new rental car acquired at an exorbitant premium. OUCH! Play hard Wendy!

  • A fitting farewell for Sam and Roy and their association with the McDonald’s Championship these past seventeen years. Thanks for the memories guys.

Nancy Lopez Stops By to Pay Her Respects

Sunday: Back to relaxed mode and it paid off. Shot -1 and finished 25th. Off to Rochester

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