Where have I been? The world spins, the oil still leaks, the Phillies play (just don't ask me the scores) and my postman continues to bring bills. Every so often I lose track of things.
This week was LPGA tournament week around here. The girls were playing the Shop Rite tournament in Galloway, and I was there for a couple of days walking with Paula Creamer. Sadly, I could not go back today. Partly because of time commitments and partly because it was in the mid-90s with high humidity. I reach my warmth levels quickly. Fortunately though, I do own a television.
The men are playing the U.S. Open in Pebble Beach (a far sight better than South Jersey) and once the LPGA tournament ended I switched over to the men. When you see two tournaments side-by-side like that, the differences in the two games hit you pretty quickly. The girls dress in bright colors with various accoutrement and colorful shoes and things like pink golf balls. The men - not so much.
It's still the standard slacks and polo shirt for them. Lots of drab colors and they look more like they're going to a business meeting than playing a game. And the baseball cap. Always the baseball cap. There's something odd about seeing a nicely dressed man in a baseball cap. The women - not so much. I can't imagine the PGA one day allowing men to dress in shorts. I think they would deem it disrespectful to the game. The same game the women play, by the way, and their governing body has no issues with golf's stoic tradition. It probably isn't much different than the way men and women are treated in society, so it isn't that radical.
We assign different standards to the genders, and rejoice when they are met, forgetting that we assigned the standards to begin with. Phrases like "runs well for a girl" or differentiating women athletes from men and assigning priorities to their accomplishments. It's a deeply rooted thought process, and I haven't the skills to determine its cause.
Sometimes I don't know what I'm talking about.
Paula Creamer played the first tournament of her 2010 season after coming back from a complicated thumb surgery. She wore a wrap around the thumb the entire time and engaged in stretching exercises between shots to keep it flexible. Admittedly, she played in pain. Golf is a difficult enough game without having to endure pain in the process. But that's what you do when something means so much that you would do it under great physical duress rather than sit and complain about not being able to play. Add that in to stories like this and she instantly becomes an easy person to like.
She didn't win today. She entered the last round a shot behind the leader and could only manage to shoot par for the day to finish tied for fifth. She saw me in the reception line after Friday's first round and asked "are you coming back tomorrow?" Of course I was. It's so easy to root for someone who cares so much about being the best, and it's a condition absent from a lot of pro athletes in other, more popular sports. Sports that make people crazy enough to blow a horn for the entire game, paint their face in team colors, gamble, purchase expensive souvenirs and clothing and expensive event tickets.
My Shop Rite card got me into the tournament for free. I didn't even have to pay to watch Paula play golf, and since I routinely pay $100 (all expenses) a night to watch big time baseball, you'd see why I think watching Paula is the biggest bargain in sports.
Maybe I was wrong. Maybe Paula did win today?