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Old School
MICHAEL BAMBERGER
June 10, 2008
The Curtis Cup was played at the Old Course for the first time, but the vibe, and the result, remained the same
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June 10, 2008

Old School

The Curtis Cup was played at the Old Course for the first time, but the vibe, and the result, remained the same

THIS IS ABOUT as elegant as golf gets: 16 lady amateurs, eight from the U.S. and eight from Great Britain and Ireland, gathering on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, for three days of competition for the Curtis Cup. The course was at a civilized length, 6,638 yards. The weather was cold and rainy and clear and blowy and everything in between. The teams stayed at the Old Course Hotel, right beside the 17th hole. There was one dinner for both teams at a St. Andrews restaurant, another at the home of Angela and Michael Bonallack, the former secretary of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. The spirit was "that of friendly rivalry," said the American captain, the stately Carol Semple Thompson. "It was definitely friendly, but it's definitely a rivalry." Oh, the U.S. team won 13--7.

The U.S. hasn't lost a Curtis Cup since 1996, and its overall record is 26-6-3. Maybe Paul Azinger, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, should consider making Thompson, who also captained the '06 winners, an assistant. (The formats of the two events are nearly identical.) This year marked the first time the matches were played at the Old Course. The U.S. team, which consisted of two high schoolers, five college students and, as Thompson wryly noted, one adult (Meghan Bolger, who turned 30 last Friday), "made a very quick transition to links golf," the captain said. "They were putting from 20, 30 yards off the green, chipping with five-irons, playing the ball on the ground." Twenty-three-year-old Stacy Lewis of The Woodlands, Texas, went 5--0 for the U.S.

The teams changed their shoes in the regal clubhouse of the R&A. Last year, when the Women's British Open was held at the Old Course for the first time, there were notes in the golfing press about women using the imposing and manly R&A clubhouse for the first time. Thompson said she knew firsthand that those notes were inaccurate. She played in the 1975 British Women's Amateur and used the clubhouse then.

Last week the players from both teams marched right through its heavy dark doors, not only to change shoes but also to eat sandwiches and take tea and plot strategies. Nobody made any war analogies. All there was was a winning team, a losing team—and good golf. Very civilized.

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