LPGA Tour Asian Swing

Hmm. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something very intriguing to me about this time of the year on the LPGA Tour.

If you’re not paying very close attention, you might be sort of aware of some international women’s golf tournaments, but you might not know that they are LPGA Tour events with the creme de la creme playing in them. I suspect because of the prohibitive cost of player travel, they are not full-field events. They begin this week and it’s a four-week run:

  • Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (72 Players)
  • LPGA KEB – HanaBank Championship, Sky 72 Golf Club, Ocean Course, Incheon, South Korea (78 Players)
  • Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship, Sunrise Golf and Country Club, Yang Mei, Taoyuan, Taiwan (79 Players)
  • Mizuno Classic, Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club, Shima-shi, Mie, Japan (44 Players)

I knew these were coming, but it didn’t become real for me until the ladies started tweeting at the beginning of their trips. Sandra Gal was the first one I noticed. She was in an LAX lounge and opened up an opportunity for questions from her “tweeps.” Brittany Lincicome tweeted her way all the way to the airport and around the world, including the fact that she dropped $60.60 on magazines and snacks after her first leg. And as her plane launched for Singapore, she expressed her gratitude that she was sitting next to someone she knew, Stacy Lewis. And finally Paula Creamer got a later start because she had to stop in New Jersey for a “Battle of the Sexes,” charity. She played nine holes with Gary McCord — he won — and David Feherty was the mc.

The point being that for these events, you don’t just hop on a three hour flight to a domestic city. This requires patience and stamina. (Somehow, Creamer forgot her passport and had to go back to the house to get it. Lincicome lost her boarding status falling all the way to Group 7 on United and was concerned that by the time she got to her seat, there would be no room in the overhead for her vital carry-on bag and she’d be forced to check it. There was, but stuff like that drains emotional energy until you learn to just go with it…the same as, uh, on the golf course. Who would have thought that golf would provide such a useful training opportunity?)

So once they get over there, they tend to turn sort of quiet. One of them tweeted that it took her 28 hours. It’s exhausting and when you finally get there, you’re in the wrong time zone. You want to go to bed, but things are twelve hours out of synch with your body clock.

One of the things that the body regulates around is food. So if you can eat meals at the time it would be served in the time zone where you’re going, by the time you get there it’s easier to slip into that time zone’s feeding times. The other thing the body regulates around, of course, is night and day. So, same thing, if you can arrive fresh enough to make it to the first evening before you go to bed, you get into the new time zone faster.

But once they do, they’ll be in that time zone for four weeks and it will quickly make little difference to their mental acuity on the golf course.

The Sime Darby starts this Thursday. The defending champion is Korea’s gentle soul, Na Yeon Choi, who also happens to be this year’s U.S. Women’s Open champion. She’ll be joined by 49 of the top 50 players on the Money List.

Because of the time zone differences, the Golf Channel will have the tape-delayed broadcast at 9:30 – 11:30 PM ET all four nights. If you can’t stand the suspense and must cheat by looking at the leaderboard on lpga.com, the time difference is 12 hours from the East Coast.

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