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Wish You Were Here
Alan Shipnuck
March 16, 1998
The LPGA tour's recent 14,486-mile road trip proved once again that girls just want to nave fun
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March 16, 1998

Wish You Were Here

The LPGA tour's recent 14,486-mile road trip proved once again that girls just want to nave fun

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Berlitz couldn't handle a blitz like this. Let's Go never has. Lonely Planet"? Not if you hang out with the women of the LPGA during the coolest road trip in golf, three weeks of blood, sweat and beers marked by high drama on the course and low humor off it. The party started on Feb. 13 at the Los Angeles Women's Championship, moved on to Oahu for the Cup Noodles Hawaiian Ladies Open and concluded Down Under at the Australian Ladies Masters. Here, then, is the definitive travel guide.

For FedEx purposes, sweaty socks do not count as hazardous materials.

Jan Stephenson, the Australian superstar emeritus who was one of 58 golfers to play in all three tournaments, has a simple game plan for packing for long trips. "Wear your clothes until you're tired of them, ship 'em home, then buy all new stuff," she says. Stephenson doesn't mess around—she has personal accounts with Federal Express and UPS. "Doing laundry is a dirty job," says Stephenson.

Girls just want to have fun, Part I.

Without a doubt the liveliest clique on the LPGA tour is the one known as the Brits—a sprawling group that includes, but is not limited to, Laura Davies, Helen Dobson, Lisa Hackney and Trish Johnson of England, their Commonwealth comrades Mardi and Karen Lunn, who hail from Australia, and the colorful caddies who follow them around. They have practiced their merry brand of debauchery all over the globe. At a tournament in Germany a few years ago they had an epic icecream fight in Mardi Lunn's hotel room. At the Italian Open they've been known to drag their bedding onto the beach and sleep under the stars. In Australia in '94 the Brits parried so hard that "we saw three sunrises in a row," says Hackney, gloating. Fave pranks include stashing bricks in each other's golf bags, stitching closed the legs of each other's shorts and applying shoe polish to the nose supports of sunglasses.

Away from the course the only time these players put down their lager is to roll their own cigarettes and cigars, although they do partake in all kinds of outdoor activities. In L.A. they were limited to kicking a soccer ball around the hotel parking lot, but, said Davies, "this isn't really our kind of place. Hawaii's more to our liking."

In El Lay you are what you drive.

After nipping Hiromi Kobayashi with a 15-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole, Dale Eggeling credited her steely resolve to a one-day course she had taken earlier in the week at Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School, where she had made two runs behind the wheel of a supercomp dragster. "After being that nervous behind the wheel of a 725-horsepower car, that putt didn't seem so bad," she said. Unfortunately, Eggeling was stuck with the drabbest of rental cars in Hawaii, and after starting the final round in third, she ran out of gas down the stretch and skidded to a tie for 10th, five strokes behind winner Wendy Ward.

Getting high with Cockpit.

Many of Joan Pitcock's colleagues have taken to flip-flopping the syllables in her last name, creating the perfect nickname. Cockpit, an 11-year tour veteran from Fresno, is the latest pro golfer to take a fancy to flying. She began working toward her pilot's license last fall and figured Hawaii would be a suitably exotic spot to log some flight hours. The day before the tournament Pitcock was standing on the tarmac of Honolulu International Airport examining a Cessna 172. "Is that oil?" she asked, pointing to something gooey on the propellers.

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