Jun 19

LPGA Women’s US Open – Veterans Taking Charge

Nature’s Order is Restored After Round 1

Following the early part of the Women’s US Open’s first round this morning, I was shocked at all the new names attacking the top of the board. The only name that didn’t shock me, of course, was Stacy Lewis, who seems to have brought her game to just where she wants it, and just in time to make it count big-time.

But the rest of it? Even though a lot of people hadn’t teed off yet, I was watching the next wave of tour presences, and one in particular stood out for me – Dori Carter.

dori 1 Impressed as I was to see her putting on such a great charge, something still felt like she hadn’t waited her turn in line, and that for someone to come out of school so recently and look so sharp in an LPGA major was an anomaly. And then, I thought back. Dori Carter, whose general attitude toward being in this professional brings a sunniness to the whole affair, considering she bought a bicycle with her first winnings, and just seems to have the emotional balance thing down, has been sneaking around the top group for a few weeks now, thinking we wouldn’t notice.
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That makes me suspicious that whatever her result is for the US Open, she may be one of those new members of the best group in a little while, those people who simply have a little more game than the other pros. They’re always hanging around, waiting for that day when they erupt at just the right moment to become a tour winner. I have a feeling that Dori is going to do that, perhaps sooner than later – and as an Oregonian, I even forgive her mania for the Ole Miss Rebels. At least it’s not the Crimson Tide.

dori 3 Later in the day, however, Nature took things into her own hands, and restored order. All those new names at Even, minus 1, 2 and 3 started to fall away, some just a little, others a lot. I have to think that despite a late fade, Dori Carter may not be in the least bit done with this week.

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And who is it that took over? The tried and true veterans, of course, all of them young by my standards, but some a little more, others a little less. Paula Creamer has shown up, with a game that deserves major-level respect. Karrie Webb is suddenly there. If she starts hitting on all pistons, she could be scary. And there’s the new Michelle Wie, playing like the new Michelle Wie…again. Odds makers, the old days are over. She is the talent we thought she was in the beginning, she’s got her game and her head on perfectly straight, and she matters every single week. Interesting match-up, I think – Paula, Michell, Karrie, Stacy…or somebody entirely different – Lexi? Dori?

dori 4 And then, of course, it was time for this wonderful major tournament to show us the whole gamut of generations involved in this game at the top levels. Lucy Li was born in the twenty-first century, for crying out loud. Didn’t we just start that the other day? On one hand, she qualified to get here. Nobody made the shots for her, or filled out a special form – she played her way in, so there must be something to her. At the same time, she seems to have a good perspective on what she’s doing. She’s eleven, she’s having fun, without the big bad “must win” burden, and above all (watch out, ladies), she’s learning.

dori 2There you have it, the power of the word, “Open.” In an “Open” major, you get to see them all, the worldly-wise, the “eyes wide open, still young and ready to win this thing” type, the “just got out of college, but really good at this, so be careful” type, and the stars of the next generation.

And that’s the order of things, just as Nature intended. Majors aren’t just fun because they’re bigger. They’re fun because they’re “Open.”

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