By Vince Robitaille
GolfWRX Staff Writer
The understatement of the season could have been that the Kingsmill Championship’s fate was sealed on the 18th hole.
Sadly for Paula Creamer, of the nine highly redundant holes that started on the 72nd hole and stopped once they trooped onto the 16th tee, only the former mattered; i.e. the one that she three-putted on No. 17, thus missing out on the opportunity to close out the tournament in regulation. To compound the issue, as soon as the Pink Panther and her foe, Jiyai Shin, finally switched settings, a second putting blunder by the American handed the South Korean her eight LPGA victory.
To be quite frank, after seeing the demise on Creamer’s face as her par attempt on the 16th green lipped out, I don’t quite know where to start. Jiyai Shin’s record-shattering opening round, Danielle Kang’s breakthrough professional performance or even Creamer’s two rounds atop the leaderboard simply fail in comparison. Everything was there on that 81st hole – one should point out that the sudden-death playoff represented the longest in LPGA history – a stress-level magnified by the overnight halt that enabled both players to go over every potential scenario instead of sleeping, a dreadful silence glooming as both players teed up and a heart-splitting ending.
What I could say, however, is that such an occurrence won’t manifest itself again as quick complaints by both players and medias, regarding the continuous replay of the 18th hole, should force Tour officials to examine their playoff structure wih quite the diligent eye. Of course, managing crowd movement and satisfaction will still weigh heavily in the decision, but with the high frequency of necessary extra holes in recent memory, an effective way to determinate the proper victor shall override this concern.
Predictions for the Ricoh Women’s British Open
What does the Kingsmill turmoil mean heading into next week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open? In Shin’s case, the South Korean’s first triumph since her heyday two seasons ago will more than make up for the lost day of preparation; a mix of momentum, experience and confidence ultimately overshadowing the plausible issue. Expecting as much out of Creamer, however, could prove disappointing as the Pink Panther, despite what you could take away from her perfect post-round pitch. She really seemed like she got the wind knocked out of her, and for good reason.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for Catriona Matthew next week, the 2009 Women’s Golfer of the Year who is always dangerous on links courses (she finished 5th last weekend in Virginia). Also, watch out for my long-standing pick, when the ladies march onto Royal Liverpool.