HARRISON, N.Y. – Stacy Lewis is walking a tight wire at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
She just might be headed to the most thrilling, satisfying week of her professional life. Or, possibly another disappointing spill as a player.
Lewis is invested in the Women’s PGA more deeply than any other player here. She had a hand in helping shape the LPGA Championship’s metamorphosis into the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. With a major endorsement deal with KPMG, she didn’t just help introduce the company as the event’s title sponsor. She has been pumping her own ideas into the championship’s planning.
While there’s pride seeing it all come together this week, there’s also a daunting challenge. There’s juggling her quasi host role with her role as a player. She’s doing so while struggling with her swing. She missed the cut at the Manulife LPGA Classic last week, ending her run of 46 consecutive cuts made. She tied for 51st in her start the week before that at the ShopRite Classic. She was T-25 the week before that at Kingsmill. It’s hardly a slump, but it is an uncharacteristic run for player who is used to being on the leaderboard just about every week.
How is she handling all the responsibility?
“It’s a bit of a crazy week for me so I haven't quite got to enjoy [the golf course] the way I've wanted to because it's been so busy,” Lewis said. “It is what it is. It's a good and a bad thing, I guess.”
Lewis is on the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit advisory council. She was a guest panelist during a summit session at Westchester Country Club on Wednesday afternoon. After that, she marched over to the practice range to join Michelle Wie for the PGA’s Player Showcase, a pitch-putt-bunker shot contest open to the public. She was a featured guest at KPMG’s Beach Party reception Tuesday night and in the pro-am Tuesday afternoon.
Lewis is doing all of this knowing how important this week is to her as a player. If she wins her third major, she can get back the Rolex No. 1 world ranking, depending on what current No. 1 Lydia Ko and No. 2 Inbee Park do.
How is she balancing it all? Lewis says she’s using the experience of being integrally involved in the North Texas Shootout, the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship and the Marathon Classic in Toledo, Ohio. All three of those events claim her. She grew up in Texas, graduated from the University of Arkansas and was born in Toledo.
“I've learned from each of those events over the past couple years,” Lewis said. “I make sure I allow my time for practice. I said no to a few things this morning because of how busy my afternoon is and made sure I set aside my time for practice because that's most important. And when I'm inside the ropes, I'm not answering questions or doing anything else. You are where you are, just being where you are is the biggest thing. I've done it before. I was all over the place at ShopRite last year [as defending champion] and still won a tournament. It definitely can be done. It's just being where you are in that moment.”