Golfer on Tiptoes
"Ballet makes me a better golfer," says Kris Tschetter, who sees nothing frilly about the strength and flexibility she gets from sessions at the Center for Ballet Arts near her Fairfax, Va., home. Tschetter, who has earned more than $1.6 million in 10 years on the LPGA tour, admits that golf was career option No. 2. As a teen she danced in The Nutcracker and other shows at South Dakota's School of Ballet. But at 15 she missed the cut at an audition for the elite School of American Ballet. "Life is harsh," she says. "I switched to golf."
She won the 1992 Northgate Computer Classic and was runner-up at the '97 Dinah Shore. But after a fatiguing final-round 77 at last spring's Longs Drugs Challenge, she decided to ballet up to the barre for the first time in 15 years. "I lost fat and gained muscle," says Tschetter, who at 33 is the grande dame of her class. "When I was a teenager, I'd see the grown women in my classes hang back, acting shy, while I was out front ready to go. Now I'm the shy one." A back injury kept her out of action last week, but she expects a quick recovery. "I've learned that if you can dance for people without losing your focus, you can probably do anything anywhere anytime," she says.
Talk of the Townies
An Augusta State of Mind
Young Golfers will do anything to play at Augusta, won't they? "No. They won't even return my calls. You'd think we were a leper colony," says coach Jim Kelson of Augusta State, a Division I college in the hometown of the Masters. Augusta State, a commuter school, has never landed a star player from Georgia, let alone the rest of the U.S. Last year, when four of the nation's top 25 prospects were from Augusta high schools, not one of the local aces even considered staying home. Kelson's solution: He recruits overseas, where the school's name has clout.
"Watching the Masters on TV, I thought the whole town would be heaven," says Chris Roake, who left Buckinghamshire, England, to play at ASU. "Turns out it's a lot of concrete and fast-food joints."
This year's Jaguars, with three local players plus three from England and one each from Florida, Ireland and Ecuador, have made No respect! their battle cry. Last week they were ranked 13th in the country. "We're used to getting the cold shoulder. Now we're hot, and we're loving it," Roake says.