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
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
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.