Total Consciousness — 18 March 2017 by Candace Oehler
Bank of Hope Founders Cup highlights

SCOTTSDALE — Early notes, quotes, pics and video

LYDIA KO | Pre-tournament

It’s definitely nice to see some good results the last couple weeks in Asia.  To see those kind of good results with all the changes that have happened, gives me some confidence going forward.

But I have my old habits, things that I’ve done since I was five. Those things still creep in.

Feel is so important, it’s really important to imagine the shot.  Imagination is something I’m trying to learn more to do.  It’s worked out good the times I’ve done it, so I’m trying to do it more.

The PXG clubs are pretty similar to the clubs I had before.  It’s been really great; the team there is doing everything to make it as easy as possible for me.  I feel comfortable with it. My driver is going a little longer than before, which is not a bad thing.  I like the ball flight and the results I’ve seen.

This tournament is great because it celebrates the founders who started the LPGA, and the generations coming up with Girls Golf.  Lots of generations of players come together here.  Everytime I come here I love seeing Marilyn (Smith, LPGA Pioneer) out here in her cart.  It makes us all thankful,  and it’s great to be able to talk to someone like her.

Being #1 for 74 weeks (only Lorena Ochoa and Yani Tseng been #1 longer):   There are expectations that you should play well and be in contention all the time.  I would love that, being more consistent week in and week out.  My team helps me stay in the moment, and look right in front, not what’s coming up or past.  Other athletes have stressed to me that it’s important to embrace the moment. I’m going to learn from the ups and the downs.

Changing the Face of the Game Campaign |


  • Girls under the age of 18 represent the fastest growing sector in the US golf population since 2010.
  • More than 60,000 girls were engaged last year by the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf initiative, an increase of 1,000% since the Founders Cup was launched in 2011.
  • Over the last 20 years, growth of girls’ golf in the US has outpaced that of the boys. In 1995, girls made up only 17% of all junior golfers, total they total one third.
  • Twenty years ago, only 1 out of 17 junior golfers was non-Caucasian; today that number is nearly 1 out of 3.

The LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program began in Phoenix in 1989.   The players in that event chose to play for no purse and, instead, pass the funds forward to support Girls Golf.  So it was appropriate that the new Changing the Face of the Game campaign was launched prior to the Founders Cup.

To mark the new campaign’s launch, Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez, LPGA player Sandra Gal, and junior golfer Kyla Wilde all spoke of the impact of girl-friendly golf programs.  Lopez is especially dedicated to growing the game here at home.

“Americans want to see Americans to win.” She said.  “When I played in Korea with Se Ri Pak, they didn’t want to see Nancy Lopez win.  We need to keep investing in our young American players, we need that.  I told Lexi (Thompson), ‘you have to start playing better,’ and she said, ‘you know, they never mess up.’  I would like to see more American players win.  We can help grow the US players golf by helping grow junior golf.”

Watch Nancy Lopez share some putting tips with Lexi Thompson:

Watch Michelle Wie make an unlikely birdie from down low on 8 here:






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About Author

Candace Oehler’s deep dive into sports media began several decades ago when she won a trip from Seattle to Mariners spring training in Arizona. Noting that non-English-speaking Latino ball players received little, if any, media coverage, she fluently/en español became a pioneer in Spanish sports media, and eventually became known affectionately throughout the Latino MLB community as “La Veterana.” Candace has written for team publications and; hosted her own radio show on several Spanish-language stations; served as producer/reporter/engineer for the Mariners’ inaugural season of Spanish radio broadcasts; and has been a reporter for MLB Network Radio the past 10 years. She was invited to Venezuela by future Hall-of-Fame shortstop Omar Vizquel to cover rebuilding efforts and accomplishments of his charitable foundation following the devastating 1999 mudslides; worked in Puerto Rico for former Major Leaguers Joey Cora and Carlos Baerga managing fundraising events; and was the only female in the raucous locker room when the hometown favorite Licey Tigers won the 2004 Caribbean World Series in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Candace was introduced to the game of golf in 1992 by members of Seattle’s historic Fir State Golf Club, who had approached her to manage their (then) little fundraising tournament hosted by a shy, gangly 15-year old Tiger Woods. Candace co-managed the annual event for nearly 20 years, working with hosts that included Ken Griffey, Sr., Birdie Griffey, Mike Cameron, Nate McMillan, Warren Moon, and Dale Ellis. She became secretary of the club and the Fir State Junior Golf Foundation, and got totally, completely hooked on golf, learning to play on a set of Redbirds given to her by the club (apparently they considered her mother’s Patty Bergs a bit antiquated). She has since traded up to another set of Redbirds and a much more user-friendly golf environment in Arizona. And, once a prolonged stint on the DL is over, she can’t wait to get back on the course and continue lowering her current 21-handicap to ….?

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