Ladies’ game: Top 5 moments of 2012January, 2013
We salute five different, but very gutsy, storylines of the past year
1: CURTIS CUP WIN AT NAIRN
Nobody really, in truth, gave Great Britain and Ireland’s girls much of a chance. The selection process omitted Lauren Taylor and, for a time, Charley Hull. A first win since 1996 looked even further away after the Americans won all three of the opening foursomes.
The visitors were then up in all three of the afternoon’s matches. But then it all changed and, going into the singles, they were just a point in arrears. Captain Tegwen Matthews led with her fast and feisty players and it paid off, the first three singles going the hosts’ way and Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow will go down in the history books as the player to hole the winning putt.
The last time that happened was when Scotland’s Alison Rose closed out her singles in Killarney 16 years previously. Of all the transatlantic clashes the Curtis Cup has been the most one-sided, this win now meant all four trophies resided in Europe.
2: MEL REID’S WIN IN PRAGUE
Just weeks after losing her mum, Joy, in a head-on car collision on the eve of a tournament in Germany Mel Reid faced a sixfoot putt to win the Prague Masters.
She knocked it in and, having been in a cocoon all week, the tears understandably flowed. In August at the Ladies Irish Open an overwhelmed Reid was unable to carry on at Killeen Castle, scene of the 2011 Solheim Cup, and walked in halfway through her first round.
She went back home to her dad, with whom she has now moved back in. A traumatic year ended with a tilt at the LPGA Q School but unfortunately it was not a dream climax and Europe beckons again in 2013 for Reid.
At 15 years, four months and two days, Lydia Ko became the youngest player in LPGA history to win an event when she triumphed in Canada 3: IK KIM’S ‘SANDERS MOMENT’
This was the shortest putt missed to win a Major – ever. The name on the Kraft Nabisco trophy is that of Sun Young Yoo but it should have been IK Kim’s. The final round was a day of swings and roundabouts as five players held the lead at different times. The Korean then somehow missed from a foot on the 72nd green – forget Scott Hoch or Doug Sanders, this was less than half the distance. But she didn’t disappear in floods of understandable tears; Kim chatted and laughed with the host broadcaster for over five minutes. When her Major time does come along you can safely assume nobody will enjoy it more.
4: TEEN LYDIA KO’S THE OPPOSITION
At 15 years, four months and two days, Lydia Ko became the youngest player in LPGA history to win an event when she triumphed in Canada. The previous mark was set by Lexi Thompson last September at the Navistar LPGA Classic. Thompson was 16 years and seven months.
Two weeks previously the New Zealand teenager had secured the US Amateur and there were no signs of nerves on the LPGA Tour as she blew away, the high-quality field by three shots. “That was one of the most impressive rounds I’ve watched,” tweeted playing partner Stacy Lewis. As an amateur Ko was unable to collect the $300,000 winner’s cheque, which she said she would have spent on a dog and given to the poor.
5: CHRISTINA’S CANDID BLOG
You know depression is a factor in golf as it is in the real world but you very rarely hear or read about it – which makes Christina Kim’s 3,000- word blog on the subject all the more remarkable, and courageous.
In it she reveals how, in the spring of 2011, she began to consider suicide and, while playing in an LET event in Spain, thought about jumping into the sea to end her life.
Thankfully, after a flurry of phone calls from her boyfriend, she didn’t, adding with typical humour that the fact that she had the car keys was another factor.
Later in 2011 she went on anti-depressants for almost six months and in July of this year came the blog. And then Q School, where she secured limited playing rights for the 2013 season in America