« Solheim Cup hangover has golf bloggers looking for their keysNo tickle fights at the Solheim Cup, but maybe some at the Newport Cup »

1 comment

Comment from: Richard Davis [Visitor]
Some of the commentators touched on it... The slam on the US team that lost in 2003 was the (nearly) complete absence of young talent. That problem appears to have been remedied with the current crop. Kim, Creamer, and Gulbis (sounds like a law firm) were terrific in Carmel.
And with another sports blue blood (Morgan Pressel) coming along, not to mention a young woman who is going to face a career choice between being a runway frashion model and a golf icon, the roll should continue.

But let's look a little at their games and see if the new crew are really players or if they are a novelty fashioned of high tech clubs and media hype.

Christina Kim has been out there for two years doing well and doing it with energy. She has already won a pro golf bag full of money and has shown a consistency that says she should be able to win lots of money for lots of years. It's a good thing she has lots of pepper in her personality, because her game is so steady that it can get a little uninteresting. OK... She led the tour in birdies in 2004 and is fifth in that category this year. But birdies come from doing things right from tee to green—not from desperate sand saves or spectacular chips from 50 yards out. Sunday at the Solheim she was playing out of the divots she had left the day before. It's just a remarkably smooth game -- no quirks, no flaws, no catches, no bad habits. Very sustainable. Is there a problem with her program? PUTTING! Christina was certainly one of the crew suffering from the YIP-fest on Friday. She left a lot of puts short and grossly mis-read some. The cure for that is...? Two months of practice in the off season and getting experience on some of the courses the tour hits. All in all, this girl is for real.

Ms. Gulbis? No questions about technique here. Guess who took over from Christina as the Princess of Birdies in 2005? Natalie chalked up over 250 of them with a 3.5 per game average. You can't be the birdie machine she was on the tour and not be able to drive, hit 'em close, and drop them in the hole. So how come the victories have been so hard to come by on tour? It's hard to tell, and only her sports psychologist knows for sure. (Her hair dresser and now the whole world knows she is a for real blonde.) Perhaps we got a glimpse of the new, improved 2006 Natalie on Sunday. There was a moment, when the Europeans were fighting back and her lead began to evaporate, that the jaw muscles tightened and we got to see the rarest of all sights on the 2005 tour -- a truly determined Ms. Gulbis... a competitor. For a couple of shots on a couple of holes there was a lioness out there rather than the domesticated California girl who seems to penetrate the leader board at will, but who couldn't close it. That's still the rap, but we can hope it's now a bum rap.

And who is right behind Natalie in birdies—tied for second with Christie Kerr? It’s none other than the Pink Panther herself – Paula Creamer. Yes she’s 19; yes she hasn’t learned to talk to the press; yes she still wears glitter. But she’s a player. Consider that she earned her way into the Solheim by accumulating as many points in one year as many of the others had earned in two years. Consider that in her first year as a pro she won two tourneys including a European major—the Evian—and a Japanese event. Wow. She’s already up to 4 Rolexes: One for her first win, another for the Evian, a third for the Solheim, and another one coming for Rookie of the Year. Just in case you were wondering... She wears while playing—the one she got in France, and it’s got a pink dial face. But the watches and even the megabuck she earned to date doesn’t tell us if she’s a player. Between the worst match she played this year – the Safeway in Portland—and the Solheim, I became a believer. There she was in Portland, 10 million Yen richer from the week before and completely exhausted having a wretched day. So what did she do? Out of contention, she worked on her game. Try this, check that, tell me what I’m doing wrong Jason (her caddy). Among all the new players, and rivaled only be Morgan Pressel, Paula is the athlete. Her game isn’t smooth like Christina’s or even natural like Natalie’s.... It’s honed. This woman is a fierce competitor who loves winning, who loves the crowd, and who loves the game. Problems with her game? Absolutely! She has problems that Christina and Natalie couldn’t imagine. If all of the top 100 women on the tour stood along the driving range and hit simultaneously, you could pick out Paula’s quirky finish. That finish keeps her straight and lets her put more right side power into the swing. And it may serve her well for many years. But it could also be the source of aches, pains, trips to the shrink, and slumps.

Slumps? Why should a woman with a short game like Paula’s worry about slumps? Did you see her cozy the ball up to the hold on 6 and 8 on Sunday? Why should an All American girl with a torso like a swimmer’s and the balance of a ballet dancer worry about a slump? Well... In addition to Christina and Natalie, there’s Morgan, and Michele, and about a half dozen others in the pipeline. Hey.... This could be exciting.
09/13/05 @ 00:48

Comments are closed for this post.