Whaley was 16 when she qualified for the 1986 U.S. Women's Open at NCR Country Club in Ohio. While most women played their practice rounds early, Whaley signed up for a slot at 3 p.m. to stay out of the way.
If only it had been that easy.
'JoAnne Carner walked up on the tee and told me that she was playing with me, and I thought I would die,' Whaley said.
Carner was her hero. Whaley had a poster of 'Big Momma' on her bedroom wall, along with a scorecard that Carner had signed.
'I said, 'No, no, please, Miss Carner, you go first,'' Whaley recalled. 'She said, 'No, I signed up with you. Let's go, put the tee in the ground and hit it.' I hit it airborne, pop-flied it about 100 yards down the middle of the fairway. She said, 'Way to go. You hit it.'
'It was probably one of the best days of my life,' Whaley said. 'She treated me unbelievably and was a very classy lady.'
Now it's up to the guys on the PGA TOUR to do the same. Whaley qualified for the Greater Hartford Open by winning a PGA of America sectional from a forward set of tees.
While Annika Srenstam was invited to play in the Bank of America Colonial two months earlier, Whaley is the first woman to qualify for a PGA TOUR event since Babe Zaharias in 1945.
Bill Clinton finally found a golf course to join.
Golf World, citing an unidentified source, said the former president has joined Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
Clinton moved to Westchester County after leaving office, but he's had a tough time joining a golf club in his new neighborhood because of long waiting lists, hard feelings over his politics or the hassles of having a former president in their midst.
Trump National, owned by real-estate tycoon Donald Trump, has drawn comparisons to Winged Foot. Its signature hole is a 102-foot waterfall behind the 13th green that pumps 5,000 gallons a minute.
PLAY GOLF AMERICA
More than 4,200 golf professionals are ready to give free 10-minute golf lessons this month in the annual 'Play Golf America' initiative sponsored by the PGA of America and Golf Digest magazine.
Last year, PGA of America teaching pros gave 74,923 lessons at 3,773 golf facilities across the country.
'The month of May has become a tradition for PGA professionals to dedicate their time to providing free lessons to help reach new golfers and improve the skills of those amateur golfers already playing the game,' PGA president M.G. Orender said.
The roster of teaching pros involved in the program, and where to get the free lessons, can be found at www.pga.com, www.golfdigest.com, www.golfforwomen.com and www.TheGolfChannel.com.
In his first tournament since winning The Masters, Mike Weir is grouped with runner-up Len Mattiace.
Phil Mickelson, Tom Lehman and Fred Funk are among the Americans who will play in the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond the week before the British Open. It will be the first appearance by Mickelson at Loch Lomond since 2000.
Vicki Fergon, 47, won on the Futures Tour last week and became the first woman to win on all three women's tours in the United States -- the Futures Tour, the LPGA Tour and the Women's Senior Golf Tour.
Don't count Davis Love III among those at the Bank of America Colonial. Although it's one of his favorite stops, Love is skipping the tournament this year because his daughter has a horse show.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Peter Jacobsen, Curtis Strange and Jay Haas are the only players at the Wachovia Championship who also played in the 1979 Kemper Open, the last time the PGA TOUR stopped in Charlotte.
'If you're Greg Norman , that's a full schedule for the year.' -- Davis Love III, on playing 13 times before the U.S. Open.