Lewis: New life, new priorities

By Randall MellMarch 30, 2016, 11:48 pm

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Stacy Lewis wiped away tears leaving the media center Wednesday at the ANA Inspiration.

There’s so much coming over the next six months in women’s golf, especially for Lewis, so long the earnest face of the American game. There are so many life-changing crossroads ahead this summer, both on and off the course for Lewis, one of the toughest competitors in the game. The tears were revealing in how much the game’s emotional landscape is already changing as this steely-faced competitor works out her path to September.

This week’s ANA Inspiration marks the start of an intense stretch the likes of which the LPGA has never witnessed. There are seven major events crammed into the next six months. There are five major championships, plus the Olympics and the UL International Crown.

A player could change her life, the way she’s remembered, getting hot in this run.

Lewis’ life promises to change in monumental ways no matter what scores she posts.

Lewis, 31, is getting married in early August, just before the Olympics and the Evian Championship, the year’s final major.

She’ll be planning a wedding amid this intense six-month run.

That’s revealing in how Lewis’ life and priorities are changing in ways she couldn’t have imagined just a year ago. She sold her house in South Florida earlier this year and bought a home back in Houston, where she will make her future with Gerrod Chadwell, her fiancé. He’s the coach for the University of Houston women’s golf team.

ANA Inspiration: Articles, photos and videos

“The biggest thing is I've got somebody in my life that's more important than any golf tournament I'll ever play in, or any tournament I'll ever win, and I honestly never thought I would be up here saying that,” Lewis said. “I never thought I'd be in that position. So it's a little bit strange to me, and that's one thing I'm trying to figure out right now.”

And that’s where Lewis is at today, trying to figure out how her new life will work, how she needs to change her schedule, how she needs to juggle priorities.

It’s daunting stuff for this hard-nosed competitor and former Rolex world No. 1.

“I've got a new addition to my life that has kind of changed my perspective on golf and everything, really,” Lewis said. “So there's going to be some adjustment time, and I'm still trying to figure it out. It's going to take a little time.”

There is head-spinning change to sort out for this 11-time LPGA winner and two-time major championship winner.

Gazing one way, Lewis looks ahead, eager to build her new life with Chadwell. Gazing another, she looks back, trying to make sense of how she can be so committed and yet rack up nine second-place finishes since she last won two years ago.

As Lewis finds contentment in her personal life, she still wrestles trying to find it in her professional life. She wants peace inside the ropes, too.

“It's 100 percent affected my game,” Lewis said. “It's gotten to the point where I've just had a lot going on and instead of just thinking about playing golf, I'm thinking about all these other things I have going on and I’m not 100 percent focused on what I’m doing. Whether that's doing an interview or signing autographs or playing golf, I'm always thinking about the next thing, instead of being 100 percent where I need to be. That's what I've been trying to work on the last couple weeks, and that's what's going to be the goal this week.”

Lewis knows the rap on her, that she looks tortured too much when she’s playing. She joked about how her switch to a “Happy Putter” two weeks ago was received.

“I’ve gotten a lot of grief for that,” Lewis said.

Lewis loves the game, the way it challenges her, and so these perceptions disappoint.

“Don’t always judge a book by its cover,” Lewis said. “I wear my emotions on my sleeve. You can tell what I'm feeling probably 99 percent of the time, and that's something that's hard for me. Maybe I don't look that happy out there, but maybe I'm actually enjoying it. And maybe there's something else going on in that person's life that is affecting what they're doing on the golf course.”

Lewis’ news conference Wednesday was full of revelations.

Just 16 months ago, Lewis was the Rolex world No. 1. Today, she’s No. 4, no longer the top American with Lexi Thompson at No. 3.

Lewis said she may have to re-evaluate how much trying to be No. 1 still matters to her.

“It's not necessarily the goal – being No. 1 – like it used to be, because I know what it takes and what goes into that,” Lewis said. “You have to play a lot of tournaments. You have to travel a lot. You have to play around the world. It's a lot of sacrifice to be No. 1 in the world. And that's what I learned being in that position. Right now, that's not necessarily a goal of mine, because I have goals off the golf course that are more important, sometimes.

“Right now, I want to win majors and contend in majors, and that's my focus.”

But, again, Lewis is still working this all out.

“Can you be No. 1 in the world and not play 30 events a year?” Lewis asked. “Probably. I want to see if I can do that, or not.”

Lewis says she looks back at the big picture of her career, seeing how she emerged from spinal surgery and a back brace coming out of high school, and she is overwhelmed. Doctors weren’t sure if she would ever play again before they fixed a rod and five screws into her backbone as a remedy for scoliosis, and yet she went on to become the first American in 20 years to sweep the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy and the money title. And yet too often, Lewis says, her focus is on what isn’t working in her game.

And that’s another thing Lewis is working on changing.

“I think it's just because of the expectations I've already set,” Lewis said. “It's because of the things I've accomplished, that you set these high expectations for yourself, and, sometimes, you need to put them in perspective. That’s what I'm trying to do.

“I'm trying to enjoy it out there a little bit more. I'm trying to find the things that make me happy out there. That's really what I'm trying to do, because, honestly, the golf is there.”

This is part of the challenge Lewis seeks in finding the kind of peace inside the ropes that she’s finding outside.

“I have other things in life, which is a good thing for me,” Lewis said. “It's a great thing, because golf has been my life for five or six years. I love it that I have something else to go home to and to be excited about. It's just it's an exciting time in my life, and it's caused some adjustments on the golf course.”

It has caused Lewis to rethink how this new life of hers should work.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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