PAULA CREAMER, 2010 WOMEN'S OPEN CHAMPION
I had the pleasure of attending the 2011 USGA Women's Open Media Day recently at the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort . Paula Creamer, last year's Champion, and other USGA dignitaries addressed media representatives. Here's what I learned.
Ms. Creamer achieved her goal last year to win a major women's professional tournament . She finished four under par beating Suzann Pettersen and No Yeon Choi at Pennsylvania's Oakmont Country club. This was quite an achievement, since only several months prior she underwent hand surgery. If you watched the tournament you may remember her bandaged hand.
She had another goal for the media day. Unfortunately, she did not achieve it. Her goal was to arrive at the Broadmoor via parachute. Due to the overcast and approaching storms she, nor the Thunderbirds, were able to get up in the air. The Thunderbirds did make their flyover the next day for the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation ceremony. Ms. Creamer has experienced nine Gs aboard a Thunderbird as their guest. She says winning The Open has "opened" many new doors .
The distinguished panel included Mike Davis, Women's Open committee chairman Martha Lang, and Russ Miller. They provided information about the USGA and the tournament, which will be held at the Broadmoor this year.
PAULA AND RUSS MILLER
Russ Miller, Broadmoor Director of Golf, reviewed the status of volunteers and ticket sales. Volunteers are at 99% of the 2800 goal and include people from all 50 states. A few positions are still available. Complete information can be found on www.2011uswomensopen.com or click the Women's Open link on the Senior Friendly Golf home page. Only four shifts over seven days is required to receive all the benefits of volunteering. In addition to my media responsibilities, I will be the area captain for holes 8, 9, 10, 11 and recommend volunteering for Marshall duties to have an up close and personal opportunity. No experience is required. You may remember the bear crossing the fairway at the 2008 Senior Open. This may happen again. When I played the course after the briefing, my foursome had to wait on two holes for deer to cross over. Don't miss this event. I have volunteered and covered many PGA and USGA tournaments and the USGA is well known for taking great care of its volunteers.
Russ Miller announced that ticket sales are expected to eclipse the record set at the last Women's Open held in Colorado at Cherry Hills. The cost of tickets for this year's event is as low as $20 a day and may be acquired on the Open web site or at King Soopers stores. Children 17 and under will be admitted free with a paid adult ticket and kids have the first row reserved at all grand stands. There will be a free Military Family Day on July 4th and military tickets for the remainder of the tournament are available at a 50% discount. Paula Creamer will conduct a free Junior golf clinic on Tuesday afternoon on July 5th.
MIKE DAVIS, USGA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Mike Davis was introduced as the new, and seventh, Executive Director of the United States Golf Association. He announced a joint effort with the Professional Golf Association (PGA) that will begin unfolding soon. This initiative will be of great interest to high handicap golfers, which include many senior golfers. The project is to encourage all golfers to play from tees that fit their ability level. July 5-17 will be the national launch date for the program. Remember the movie "Pay it Forward?" This will be golf's "Play it forward."
Mr. Davis also explained how the Broadmoor East Course will be groomed and set up for the ladies. The length of play will be 7047 yards. While this is one of the longest lengths for the tournament to date, the real challenge will be the greens and graduated rough. The greens will putt slower than the 2008 Senior Open held at the Broadmoor, but the challenge will come from the course's setting at the foot of Cheyenne Mountain in the Rockies.
Following the briefing, golfers in the media were treated to a round of golf on the East course. Due to the efforts of over 80 workers grooming the course recently, the course is already in excellent condition and come July 4th it will be in exquisite shape.
THE 18TH ON THE BROADMOOR EAST COURSE
My round of golf was played with three great guys. Two were from media in the Denver area and one was from Pueblo. Eric and I braved high winds and heavy rain on our final few holes, but we finished. While I hit 90% of the fairways, the short rough and testy greens got me. Don't ask what my score was. That's another story, and not a very pleasant one. I hope to improve at the weekly Valley Hi Senior Men's League in which I participate on Thursdays. Stay tuned.
MY PLAING PARTNERS, ERIC, JOE AND DAVID