Solheim Cup player who missed the LPGA card suddenly at a crossroads
There was a tweet in the wake of LPGA Q-Series that shed light on the ultra-thin lines of this beautifully infuriating game. The tweet came from Kristy McPherson, 40, who missed a full card with one lousy stroke in the 144-hole marathon.
McPherson wrote: “I am sad. Disappointed. A little crazy. Heartbroken, but not broken. Optimistic. Congratulations to the girls who made it to Q-Series! Pray for the girls below this line because I know the disappointment and grief they feel. After 8 laps, I hit it 571 times. It was one too many.
McPherson is the salt of the earth they come from. A popular player among her peers because she’s the kind of person who sets the mood for a place.
Now she’s at a crossroads.
“The absolute worst-case scenario is suddenly missing,” she said almost a month later. “You prefer to miss at 10 or 8 pm or simply never show up. “
McPherson can imagine every hit she landed in those eight rounds and said, “There’s a million you want to get back.” A bounce, a lip instead of sticking out, and it’s a whole different conversation.
Just over a decade ago, this fast-talking South Carolina graduate was riding the LPGA. A member of the winning team in the 2009 Solheim Cup and finalist to his good friend Brittany Lincicome in what is now known as the Chevron Championship, McPherson finished 16th and 27th on the prize list in 2009 and 2010.
As a child, she was diagnosed with Still’s disease, a form of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and spent most of the sixth year in bed. With his beloved team sports out of the equation, McPherson devoted himself to golf. She won seven times as a Gamecock and twice on the Symetra Tour before advancing to the LPGA in 2007.
McPherson has played with pain for most of his life. In fact, at 40, she is feeling much better than she has been for a long time after having surgery on her right hip two years ago. The fact that she now plays painlessly makes the decision to no longer play full time all the more agonizing.
“I’ve had arthritis my whole life,” she says. “There were days when I felt 60 years old. But I feel better now than 10 years ago.”
Maybe she should have had hip surgery a long time ago, she wonders. Again, she’s not the type to live with regrets.
How difficult is McPherson? Consider that at the 2008 Longs Drugs Challenge, she had a flare that made her face swell so hard that her right eye was closed. On the way to the first tee, McPherson told her younger sibling that if she sniffed, it was over.
Instead, she shot 71 while playing one-eyed and eventually finished tied for fifth.
A close friend, Angela Stanford, said when they traveled together she sometimes had to open water bottles for McPherson because arthritis was so bad in her hands.
His father David calls him “tough as a pine knot”.
Which, again, makes the question of what comes next so difficult to answer.
“I go back and forth,” McPherson said. “Am I good enough to play again?” Occasionally. But sometimes not.
McPherson has decided she won’t be returning to the Symetra Tour, where it’s easy to bleed money. Last year she finished 15th at the LPGA event at Kingsmill just before the reshuffle and managed to make it to 10 more events. Looking back, was this rework a blessing or a curse, she wonders. Because now here she is, a year later, having a similar conversation with herself.
“Change is scary for everyone,” Stanford said, “but especially when you’ve only had one thing in your life, and then it gets really scary.”
McPherson set up a phone call with her friend Courtney Trimble, co-founder of Women For Hire, which launched in November and aims to help women find jobs in the golf industry.
As it stands, McPherson would likely appear in five or six LPGA events and should play well enough to move forward in the reshuffle.
So many players have this same conversation with themselves every year. Most are going quietly, while keeping in touch with the game through pro-ams and qualifying.
There are people in this world, Stanford said, who have the ability to dig deeper than most. And McPherson is one of them.
“They might have always struggled,” Stanford said. “It has always been an uphill battle.
That’s why, if there are enough cravings, Stanford would always tell his friend to keep going. The talent is still there.
“I don’t have the answers,” said an emotional McPherson.
But they will come.