Before we all get sucked into the inexorable, inescapable swirl of this week’s Ryder Cup matches, there’s one last development in the world of golf that needs to be attended to.
Stacy Lewis has slowly morphed from the young girl who had scoliosis of the spine into one of the finest professional golfers in the world.
With her win Sunday at the Navistar LPGA Classic on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Capitol Hill, Senator Course, in Prattville, Alabama, she has notched her third victory of the year. She held off a charging, defending champion, Lexi Thompson, to win by two shots.
The biggest thing that came out of her victory is that she nudged Na Yeon Choi out of the second spot on the Rolex World Rankings and closes the gap a little more between her and World No. 1, Yani Tseng. With Tseng starting out the year strong, but fading badly since then, Lewis becoming the top player is no longer the fanciful thinking it once might have been.
The second biggest thing is that Lewis has now built a commanding lead in the Rolex Player of the Year award. She has a 56-point lead over second place, Jiyai Shin. To put that in perspective, Shin leads third-place, Tseng, by eight points and the gaps from there down are all even smaller single digits.
Her winner’s check of $195,000 puts her just $71,000 behind leader Inbee Park on the Money List. But the money she’s made hasn’t seemed to make a dent in who she is. When you first start out on Tour, you stay in as inexpensive but decent hotel as you can. As your success begins to build, so too do life’s creature comforts get a little better too. But not Stacy. She still stays in the Sleep Inn:
Well, for here I’ve always stayed at the Sleep Inn. I don’t know why, I’ve just always stayed there. When I checked in this week, the lady knew me when I walked in the door, so it was kind of fun, kind of makes you feel like you’re coming home a little bit. I don’t know, it’s just me. The last couple weeks I stayed with a friend and we shared a hotel room and it’s just who I am. I’m not going to change because I got a paycheck or anything like that.
Lewis is now the top American player and you have to go all the way back to World No. 13 to get to the next one, Paula Creamer. Christie Kerr is at 14, Angela Stanford at 16, Brittany Lincicome at 19, and Lexi Thompson is at 22 to round out the Americans in the Top 25.
And in the face of all of that and with the Ryder Cup bandwagon booming all through the week, I just thought it was important to slip in a little notice of greatness elsewhere.
Stacy Lewis is quite a player.