Granada Happy to have Mom by her Side

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2007 Fields OpenKAPOLEI, Hawaii -- Julieta Granada needed her mother to caddie because she couldn't pay for a real one on the Futures Tour. Now, Granada can't afford to lose her.
 
'She gives me something that maybe some of the other caddies won't be able to because she knows me so well -- as a daughter, as a friend, as a golfer,' Granada said Wednesday, a day before the start of play in the Fields Open.
 
While a few LPGA Tour players occasionally have their fathers on the bag, the Granadas are the only regular mother-daughter combo. And they're a formidable team.
 
The 20-year-old Granada is one of the hottest players on tour, finishing second last week at the season-opening SBS Open, a stroke behind Paula Creamer. Last month, Granada helped give Paraguay its first Women's World Cup title in South Africa.
 
She also won her first LPGA Tour title at the season-ending ADT Championship, her seventh top-10 finish of the year. She earned $1.6 million -- $1 million in the ADT -- in 2006 to finish fourth on the money list and set a rookie record.
 
'After my ADT win, it seems like my game stepped to another level, and I'm just enjoying the ride,' Granada said.
 
Most caddies are usually young men that look fit enough to carry two golf bags around the Big Island. Rosa Granada is a petite, 48-year-old woman, who is visibly worn out by the end of a round. Before carrying clubs, she used to tote around pencils and L-shaped rulers as an architect.
 
'People admire her,' Julieta said. 'It's a tough job and it's hard for her. The bag sometimes gets heavy. People think I kind of make her do it and it's not that way. She really wants to do it. She really enjoys it.'
 
While the rest of the mothers are forced to stay behind the ropes, Rosa is right in the mix, giving yardage, helping pick clubs and providing emotional guidance.
 
She's also the only one who can call Julieta, 'Princess.'
 
'I really appreciate her being there with me,' Julieta said.
 
Creamer, who won the SBS for her third LPGA title and the first since her 2005 rookie season, said she couldn't imagine having her mother as a caddie.
 
'Oh my goodness, my mom can't carry the bag for 10 yards let alone 18 holes,' she said. 'My mom has never played a hole of golf in her life. ... My dad caddied for me a couple of times as a professional and I think that it's just a feeling of comfort out on the golf course. We don't really need to have dad caddie for me right now.'
 
Julieta said she tries to keep her bag light, packing only six balls and no umbrella or rain gear. She'll change to a lighter bag before changing caddies.
 
'Winning just makes you believe in what you're doing even more,' she said. 'You know, with my mom on my bag, it worked last year, so why change it?'
 
Rosa said she's satisfied with just seeing her daughter succeed. But the money isn't bad either.
 
'She pays me very good. I don't need that much money,' she said.
 
Julieta said she's not inclined to give her mother a raise or bonus, despite her recent success and the LPGA-record $1 million check from the ADT victory.
 
'She doesn't get more, are you kidding me? No bonus. We were doing our tax thing last week and she got plenty of money, trust me. I pay her good enough,' she said.
 
Rosa said she can't explain it, but knew her daughter would be great ever since Julieta was very young. Rosa, who once was a 10-handicapper, introduced the sport to her only child but never pushed her to play golf.
 
Rosa said the key is their strong relationship.
 
'Normally, at that age, the relation with your mother is like, not the best,' she said. 'The challenge is to have good relations.'
 
Besides explaining to people who her caddie is, Julieta said people always ask her about which country's flag is on her bag.
 
'I say Paraguay and they look at me funny and I have to describe on the map where it is and who is our neighbor and all the details,' she said. 'I've heard everything from, 'Is that in Africa? India?''
 
Even though it can be grueling, Rosa doesn't plan on retiring from caddying any time soon.
 
'I enjoy being with her,' she said. '(I'll continue) as long as I'm healthy and she doesn't fire me.'
 
Last year, South Korea's Meena Lee won the inaugural Fields Open for her second tour title, holding off Michelle Wie in regulation and beating rookie Seon Hwa Lee on the third hole of a playoff.
 
Wie, who failed to make the cut in the PGA TOUR's Sony Open, is sidelined with a left wrist injury and is not playing in the event.
 
Granada said she would've liked to play against Wie.
 
'I want to compete against the best and she always has a great game,' she said. 'It would've been fun.'
 
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