Putting is the fountain of youth in professional golf.
That’s the sentiment I got talking to Juli Inkster before the season opened. She turns 50 on June 24 and she said after last year’s Solheim Cup that she was going to begin easing toward retirement this season, cut her schedule down and play more for fun and camaraderie than the money list.
But after a long session with putting wizard Dave Stockton in January, she was energized watching putts disappear. She said a balky putter took the fun out of last season. She committed to both of this year’s season-opening events in Asia.
And look at her now.
With a 2-under-par 70 Friday at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore, Inkster is just one shot off the lead halfway through the event. If she keeps this up, she could eclipse Beth Daniel as the oldest winner of an LPGA event. Daniel was 46 when she won Canadian Women’s Open in 2003.
After Friday's round, reporters in Singapore asked Inkster what keeps her going.
“I don't know, stupidity,” Inkster cracked. “I really like what I do. I love to play golf. I guess, because I started so late, I didn't start until I was 15, golf never really seemed like a business, never really seemed like my livelihood. It just seems like something I did.”
Inkster was also asked why getting the tough tee time draw didn’t bother her.
“I don't think I give a crap as much,” she said. “I don't take it home with me like I used to. I don't live and die with every shot. This is probably my last year. I'm trying to enjoy it and not get frustrated and not . . . I'm just trying to enjoy the moment . . . It's not life or death for me.”
Probably her last year? If Inkster wins, we’ll be talking about the possibility of her making a record ninth Solheim Cup appearance next year.