U.S. Women’s Open: Day 4

Christie Kerr

My U.S. Women’s Open experience was supposed to end on a comfy, light note. Notice the italics.

On a day when my wife was given corporate passes to one of the air conditioned chalets along the 18th hole, I ended up leaving the Open with my first-ever golf injury. Go figure.

It happened when we decided to use our fancy passes to go up into the corporate grandstands Sunday, about an hour before Christie Kerr would come along and win her first-ever major. We were eating ice cream and laughing at the people who didn’t have shade (but not in the snobby way, just more of the “isn’t-this-cool-we’re-among-rich-folks” way). But karma got the best of me, and when we got up to leave, I slipped a little on the steps. I didn’t fall … I barely even lost balance. And it wasn’t a big deal then.

But when I got home, my knee was beginning to swell up and today (Monday morning), I can’t walk up or down steps or bend my knee without pain.

Even if this turns out to be a torn ACL (which I doubt, but hey, I’ve never had a knee injury before), my Open experience was a memorable one.

Whereas I spent my first three days here running around for photos and blog material, Sunday was my day to be a fan.

But after experiencing what it’s like to be herded around like cattle while following Kerr, Lorena Ochoa and Morgan Pressel for a few holes, I prefer going as media for now on.

My wife Jennifer and I caught up with the leading trio half-way through their round, back when Kerr and Ochoa were tied. We had a great view of their approach shots and putts on Hole 8, and we were fortunate to catch Amanda Blumenherst on the front nine as we made our way to corporate air-conditioned heaven.

While I’ll remember Sunday as the day I hurt my knee doing nothing, everybody else will remember Sunday in Southern Pines as a the day Ochoa let another major slip through her hands.

It was tough watching the woman who couldn’t have been nicer, the woman who had about 75 percent of the fans at the Open cheering for her Sunday, the woman who looked like she really wanted to win this thing … choke it all away on Hole 17. Ochoa was one shot behind Kerr heading into that Par 5, and she responded to the pressure by driving her tee shot into the bunker. Her bunker shot, using a fairway wood, went about 50 feet … unfortunately, the hole was a good 200-plus yards away.

Ochoa wound up bogeying the hole, and Kerr parred … meaning the two-shot lead heading into 18 was pretty much unsurmountable, save a meltdown. But unlike Wie earlier this week, Pressel earlier Sunday and Ochoa on 17, Kerr had no such meltdown, and she won it all.

Sure, I think the fans in Southern Pines this week would have preferred to witness the No. 1-ranked player (Ochoa) win her first major, but it was still rewarding watching Kerr win it. Plus, Kerr does have some name recognition … our sports editor said he would have hated to see JiYai Shin, a relative no-name around here, even though she’s got talent, win it all. Shin led for a short time this weekend … but ultimately gave in toward the end.

And so ends my blog of the U.S. Women’s Open. It was a weekend that made me want to hit the links myself and be a better golfer, but ultimately, it was a weekend that will probably keep me from getting on a course for a week or two (depending on how bad the knee is).

Here’s hoping it’s just a small sprain. At least I’ll have an excuse to withdraw if I ever shoot like Michelle Wie … sorry, had to get in one last jab.

Photos today from the Associated Press

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