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First-Date Advice

Feb. 24, 2003
Feb. 24, 2003

Table of Contents
Feb. 24, 2003

First-Date Advice

Dear Annika,

This is an article from the Feb. 24, 2003 issue Original Layout

You were smart to ask me to prepare you for your first crack at
the men's tour, May 22 at the Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. As
somebody who's caddied badly on the PGA Tour (for Tom Lehman) and
the LPGA tour (Jill McGill), I know all the ways to screw up.

O.K., first of all...

RANGE TALK Be careful. It's not quite as cordial with the men. On
the LPGA tour, for instance, you hear a lot of conversations like
this:

Laura Diaz: God, those shorts are darling. Are they J. Jill?

Juli Inkster: No, they're Donna Karan. But you're sweet!

On the PGA Tour, you're more likely to hear a conversation like
this:

Tiger Woods: God, your clubs suck. Are they Titleist?

Phil Mickelson: Yes, they are. Oops! Did one of them just smash
your good knee?

PAIRINGS Pray you don't get stuck with Bernhard Langer, unless
you enjoy long walks among statuary, or Ernie Els, because the
way he's driving it, someone could build a Wal-Mart between your
ball and his. And if Tiger plays, run--unless you like choppers,
SWAT teams and National Enquirer photographers.

Here's what you do: See if you can get paired with one of the
five guys who this year can't keep up with your average drive of
265.6 yards: Mark Brooks, Gavin Coles, Brad Faxon, Paul Goydos or
Loren Roberts. (As you walk past one of their drives, casually
say, "Does your husband play?")

If you can't get with them, see if you can get paired with Ian
Woosnam. You won't outdrive him, but at 5'6", at least you're
taller than he is.

COURSES Your drives are straighter than Al Gore and should get
you to the corner of most of Colonial's gorgeous par-4 doglegs.
Yeah, you'll be hitting four-iron from there while most of the
men will be pulling seven-iron, but you hit 80 freaking percent
of your greens last year, so I'm not worried.

Problem is, the guys who set up the course are from the PGA Tour,
and they don't particularly want a woman to be able to beat their
boys and give birth, so they're going to put the pins in
prisons--behind bunkers, on the edges of ponds, under Haagen-Dazs
carts--places you can only get close to with a lot of spin, which
you won't have. Men are pigs.

Still, you can be a witch with the putter, so I figure you'll
shoot par over the first two days, which last year was good
enough to make the cut by four shots. That is, unless you fold
like a tortilla under the...

PRESSURE There will be piano crates of it on you out there. This
is the tensest moment for womankind since Condi Rice entered Dick
Cheney's office football pool. If you choke, you'll set women's
golf back to long skirts and bonnets. You'll hear it the rest of
your life: So what if you won at every LPGA tour stop this year?
You still couldn't whup Ty Tryon!

But think of all the pressure on the guys! Most of them are just
slightly right of Pat Robertson--in an SI poll of 75 PGA Tour
players, 68% of them said women should not be allowed to play on
the men's tour--so finishing behind a filly will be like wearing
a HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT button the rest of their lives.

The other day someone asked Mickelson where he thought you'd
finish in the Colonial, and he said, "Maybe 20th." And where
might he finish? "Hopefully 19th or better."

Guys are going to start dodging the Colonial like the draft. "I'd
love to play her," says Darren Clarke, "[pause] if I were playing
Colonial, [pause] which, fortunately, I'm not."

The men are already talking about what the penalty will be for
losing to you. Wear Jesper's pants for a month? Play a pink ball?
Go on the pill? Says Tour journeyman Brad Lardon, "We're talking
hygiene products in your locker."

CUSTOMS Colonial is going to treat you like a goddess. They don't
want Martha Burk on line 2, so you're going to get the courtesy
Cadillac, the best digs and privileges in the players-only dining
room. Plus, you'll have the women's locker room all to yourself.
All Oprah, all the time.

But please don't ask to wear shorts, even though it's allowed on
the LPGA tour. We know you like to play in them, but the men
never get to. You could force the issue, I suppose. CBS would let
you wear a HazMat suit if it would get you out there, but I'm
begging here. None of us want to see Craig Stadler's thighs.

SPIDERS On the LPGA tour the women gently nudge them out of their
putting line. The men just crush 'em. No matter what they say,
remember: They'd love to do the same to you.

B/W PHOTO: JEFFERY A. SALTER
For PGA players, finishing behind Sorenstam will be like wearing
a HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT button the rest of their lives.