Walmart NW Arkansas Follows Open-Pig Sooie!
For those of us who were immersed in last week’s US Women’s Open, this is going to be a different week altogether. Pity the poor venue that has to host the next LPGA event after a major, especially after that one. But Arkansas is stepping proudly up to do just that, and we may not suffer the post Open letdown that one might expect.
First of all, I have no scores whatsoever to report from the first round, because there hasn’t been one yet. Yes, this week’s different. They’re not starting until Friday/ What, they’re going to hold a final round on Monday? No, they are not.
The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, played at the Pinnacle Golf Club in Rogers, Arkansas is a 54 hole tournament, a three-rounder, which might be a blessing for those who put themselves through a meat grinder trying to win the big one last week.
What does that mean for the players and their scoring patterns? I would think that the advantage goes to fast starters. Jump out to an early lead, and you only have to hang on for two more days. That sounds glib – I know it isn’t easy, but you’re eighteen holes less likely to blow a lead if you can establish one first.
What else is different? Probably not Stacy Lewis, who blazed through the final round of the Open with eight birdies, and minus a couple of slips, would have run away with it. Don’t expect a letdown from her – first, she doesn’t do letdowns much, and second, she’s an Arkansas collegian, something I wasn’t immediately aware of. I think of her as a Texan, although she was born in Toledo, Ohio.
What that means is that as she works her way around the course on practice rounds, shouts of “Pig Sooie!” are ringing through the air. These are not Arkansas natives insulting one of their own. Pig Sooie is the chant of the Arkansas Razorbacks. It is the most popular cheer at the university, and some egghead says on Wikipedia that its origins make it a form of “degraded Latin.” Apparently, the naming system for pigs in that language is “suidae.” Oh brother, I’m all for interesting academic tidbits, but I could have gone the rest of the year without learning that. I hope the cheer’s etymology didn’t make it into a dissertation or thesis – how embarrassing.
Stacy understands the passion of the cheer, however, and will most certainly whoop it up if she can master the field in the three round show.
Mastering the field isn’t going to be much easier than it was last week, incidentally. Anybody who’s anybody is going to be there, from Shanshan to Yani, to Michelle and Paula. So, there’s no insecurity in Arkansas about following the Women’s US Open. The purse is a healthy two million, and everyone teeing off wants it. No one seems to feel any apathy toward the event, or any inclination to pass it by.
Last, but not least, after such a visual spectacular at the Pinehurst, do you think a genteel Southern state like Arkansas is going to let you watch their championship being played on an ugly course? They most certainly are not. The Pinnacle is elegant and tricky (I’ll have to check and see if the golf ball brand is named after it).
I wondered, regardless of the tournament this week, how Michelle Wie is going to stand up there and swing a golf club. She must be physically and mentally exhausted. Then, I remembered, she’s not my age, she’s her age, and probably half again as eager to win another one without waiting. Lizette Salas is presumably well after a bout of food poisoning that took her out of the action at Pinehurst. That’s happened to me twice – how I feel for her. A lot of eyes, however, are going to be on Stacy. She was a four time All-American for the Razorbacks in this state, and wants to let that hog call fly. Pig Sooie!