Picture this: a six-and-a-half and a four-year-old are at the end of their respective ropes as a dad and his parents are trudging from the Sports Zone back toward the clubhouse in the late afternoon yesterday at the LPGA Championship. A rookie on the driving range who's just shot a 40 on the back 9 at Locust Hill to drop from -2 to +1 for the tournament sees that the younger sister is about to implode (and the dad isn't doing so well carrying her, either), rushes to her caddie, grabs two golf balls, signs them with her Sharpie, and swoops down the hill to the walkway to give them to the pair of girls and talk with them for a couple of minutes. That's Mariajo Uribe for you.
Picture this: a Hall-of-Famer is trudging through the parking lot looking for her courtesy car with her caddy's help, after shooting her 2nd-straight frustrating 72 when she hears a 4-year-old yell her name. She probably doesn't want to do anything more than get back to her hotel, take a shower, and grab some dinner, but she chats with the suddenly tongue-tied girl and her older sister for as long as humanly possible (which turns out to be about 10 seconds longer than I would have tried). That's Karrie Webb for you. (Little could she have known that she's one of the older sister's favorite players!)
I could tell similar stories about Heather Daly-Donofrio of the LPGA communications office (who got her kid fix when she ran into us by the 9th green) and John Goldstein of Golf Channel (who invited the girls into the Golf Channel tv booth but was probably as relieved as I was to find they would rather play in the Sports Zone instead). Or the dad of one of the Korean players I didn't recognize (she was dressed almost all in orange), who gave the girls a banana in the parking lot right after we said goodbye to Webb.
Even at a major, everyone we've met goes out of their way to be nice, from the servers off the 10th tee to the folks in the Wegmans tent. If you've never been to an LPGA event, and if you have kids, I can't recommend it strongly enough. You bump into players and caddies almost everywhere you turn, there's plenty to entertain them besides the golf (which I saw almost none of yesterday, to my initial frustration), and there's always the chance of special moments like these. I'm sure my girls will remember Uribe's act of kindness for a long time. They still talk about the time Morgan Pressel gave onechan a signed ball a couple of years ago at the putting green! Now imoto has one of her own--and that matters a lot to her.