Friday, 3 February 2012

Kim Hall, Under Cover

kim hall

Great article on the Golf Digest website in which LPGA golfer Kim Hall goes undercover to find out how male golfers treat women golfers on the course. Won't surprise anyone to learn that most guys she encountered didn't want to play with her at first, only becoming comfortable with her once she demonstrated she wasn't going to slow anyone down. Also won't surprise anyone to read about how, when Hall was all dolled up and looking glamourous, none of the guys cared how she played or even if she was slow. Read the article here; it really is good stuff

Scenes from the PGA Merchandise Show

The annual PGA Merchandise Show took place in late January in Orlando, Fla. Each year, companies bring in some of the golfers who endorse their products, or they might hire a pro golfer to make an appearance. Yesterday, we posted a photo of Pernilla Lindberg that Lindberg had posted on Twitter, from an appearance at the show. Below are more such photos: Pics posted by the golfers themselves on Twitter, taken either during an appearance at the show or a show-related funtion or party.

Victoria Elizabeth and Elena Robles:

victoria elizabeth and elena robles

Rachel "Chill" Connor:

rachel connor

Paula Creamer:

Paula Creamer

Nicole Hage and Anna Rawson:

Nicole Hage and Anna Rawson

Mallory Blackwelder and Sara Brown:

Mallory Blackwelder and Sara Brown

Kelly Jacques:

Kelly Jacques

Pernilla Lindberg
pernilla lindberg

The above image is one that Pernilla Lindberg posted on Twitter (@pernillagolf) from the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. In the photo, she is appearing at the booth of Cross Golf USA, the American licensee of the Swedish apparel company Cross Sportswear.

Pernilla is from Sweden, and came to the USA for an All-American collegiate career at Oklahoma State University. She won the 2008 Amateur World Championship, and turned pro late in 2009.

Her rookie season on both the LPGA and LET was 2010. In 2011, she split time between the tours, starting 12 times on the LPGA. But her greatest success was in LET events in 2011, when Lindberg finished inside the Top 7 in five tournaments. That included her best pro finish to date, a runner-up at the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open.

Say Bonjour to Bonjoc's 'Seema Sparkle' Line

seema sparkle pink purseSeema Sadekar has sparkled her entire life. Now she's ready to help the rest of us sparkle with the "Seema Sparkle" line of shimmering ballmarkers from Bonjoc.

Bonjoc Ball Markers have been around for a while; they use Swarovski elements to create sparkly ballmarkers for golfers who want something a bit more fun than the typical, boring ballmarker. seema sparkle red shoe

Seema has long had an interest in fashion, which has resulted in self-designed (and often sparkly!) golf outfits. So it was a natural fit for Seema's sparkling personality to team up with Bonjoc's sparkly ballmarkers.

"Golf represents a fit and fabulous lifestyle," Seema says. "It's important to use accessories to encompass who you are on the course."

And the result is the "Seema Sparkle" line of Bonjoc ballmarkers, designed by Seema herself. seema sparkle cone

The three designs pictured here are named (from top) Pink Clutch, Red Stiletto and Sparkly Scoops. Other Seema Sparkle ballmarkers carry such names as Kiss Me, Totally Tutu, Check Please and Marry Me. You can see the full collection, which at launch includes 11 designs, on the Bonjoc website here.

Note that Bonjoc is a wholesaler, not a retailer, and so does not sell directly to the public. However, the Bonjoc website includes a list of online retailers offering Bonjoc ballmarkers.

seema sadekar

Maiya Tanaka

Maiya Tanaka

Maiya Tanaka has been on a reality show before; she was one of the golfers on Big Break Sandals Resorts a couple years ago. But now, she's on a much bigger show: The Amazing Race.

Teaming with her sister Misa, Maiya is one of the cast members on the 20th season of Amazing Race, which begins airing on CBS on Feb. 19.

From the show's website on

What scares you most about traveling? Getting a weird disease and the food.
What excites you most about traveling? Learning about new cultures and the way others live. Expanding my perspective on the world.
Biggest challenge you and your teammate will face on The Race together: We communicate very differently. Sometimes I don’t understand her stubborn ways. She gets mad but then gets over it where as I kind of hold a grudge.
Pet peeve about your teammate: She is stubborn and likes things to be her way – or the highwa

Lara Baldesarra

Lara Baldesarra

On the day I'm writing this, Lara Baldesarra is probably pretty much unknown to golf fans. But that will change just a few days later - on Jan. 26, to be exact - when Baldesarra joins the Golf Channel to hostGrey Goose 19th Hole. The announcement hasn't been made yet by Golf Channel, but Grey Goose included the news in a recent press release, and Lara confirmed it on her Facebook and Twitter pages.

And Lara added, "So exciting to change gears and move to my other passion in life - golf!"

Her other passion? She phrased it that way because Baldesarra has spent the previous few years broadcasting soccer. She spent a year as one of the hosts of the Fox Soccer Report on the Fox Soccer network.

Baldesarra is Canadian and studied at universities in Canada, Mexico and France along the way to her degree in Broadcast Journalism. She then joined the Canadian sports network TSN prior to her time at Fox Soccer. On Grey Goose 19th Hole, Baldesarra will host new episodes on Thursdays and Fridays on Golf Channel.

Jodi Ewart

jodi ewart

Congratulations to Jodi Ewart, the winner of the LET's 2012 Q-School tournament. Jodi finished at 11-under par over the five rounds at La Manga Club in Spain, winning by two strokes over amateur Anais Maggetti.

"It feels good," Ewart said afterward. "I mean, fourth on the LPGA and now winning the LET: it’s a pretty good off-season if you ask me. It feels good and I’m really looking forward to this year."

The mention of "fourth on the LPGA" is a reference to Ewart's fourth-place finish earlier in the LPGA Q-School finals. So Ewart now has status on both tours for 2012.

Sandra Gal

sandra gal

Is Sandra Gal the sexiest golfer in the game? That's what the readers of Golf Digest have declared. The tall Teuton was voted was voted Golf Digest's Hottest Golfer in a just-concluded online competition.

Paula Creamer Is a Badass

Here's the photographic proof:

paula creamer badass

(Thanks to Paula for posting this pic on Twitter.)

Happy New Year from the Sadekar Sisters

Happy New Year to all from Golf Babes and the Sadekar sisters - Seema (standing) and Nisha. Expect 2012 to be a great year for the lovely and talented Sadekars, and make it a big year for yourself, too.

Sandra Gal

sandra gal

And it's Sandra Gal with the win. But wait, you say, a win in what? There are no tournaments going on right now. True. What Gal won was a vote on the website for 2011 Shot of the Year. Gal's winning shot was a wedge approach on the final hole of the Kia Classic, when Gal was trying to hold off Jiyai Shin and after Shin had already put her own approach close. Gal nearly holed it, and hung on for her first LPGA victory.

Hee Young Park

hee young park

Hee Young Park has been a solid player on the LPGA Tour since joining in 2008, and she's come close to victory in the past. But LPGA Win No. 1 eluded her. Until now. Park won the season-ending CME Group Titleholders and the hefty half-a-million-dollar first prize paycheck that came with it.

Park entered the Titleholders 32nd on the money list; now she'll finish the year inside the Top 15. She should also get a nice boost in the world rankings, in which she was 58th entering the tournament.

Hee Kyung Seo

Hee Kyung Seo

Hee Kyung Seo was sparkling as she arrived at the LPGA Rolex Awards Reception. Seo was an award recipient during the night, too, receiving the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award.

Sharmila Nicollet

sharmila nicollet

Sharmila Nicollet is a winner again on India's Hero Women’s Professional Tour. Nicollet won for the second straight time, this week at the Chandigarh stop, the seventh tournament of the Hero season.

An article on calls Nicollet "the lanky long-hitter from Bangalore." Which is awesome. I hereby move that from now on, Nicollet always be referred to as "the lanky long hitter from Bangalore."

As we've noted before on Golf Babes, Nicollet is beginning to gain wider notice outside of Indian golf, making multiple appearances in Europe and showing up more frequently on the Ladies European Tour. The photo above was taken during the 2011 Evian Masters.

Mari Suursalu

Mari Suursalu golfer from Estonia

The Ladies European Tour recently spotlighted Mari Suursalu, who the LET notes is the first - and so far only - female professional golfer from Estonia.

Suursalu has yet to appear in any LET event, but does play in tournaments on the LET's developmental tour, the LET Access Series. For the last three year, Suursalu's primary golf home has been the Nordea Tour.

The article, posted on the LETAS website, notes:

There are more than a million visitors to Estonia every year and it is only a four hour drive from one side of the country to the other. Winters are cold, but the welcome is said to be warm.

There are only 2000 golfers and eight golf courses in Estonia, so Mari is a rare talent. She says that the LETAS is the ideal tour for her to compete against other international players.

"I've won many Estonian titles but the competition there cannot really compare," she says.

Frances Bondad

frances bondad

It's win No. 1 for Frances Bondad on the Ladies European Tour. Bondad claimed victory at the 2011 Sanya Ladies Open in China,birdying the final hole to secure the win.

Bondad is a 23-year-old from Australia who is in her fourth season on the LET. She's come close before, tying as runner-up at the 2010 Open de Espana Femenino. In 2008, she finished just inside the Top 100 on the money list. But in 2009 Bondad moved up to 39th and in 2010 finished 26th. It's the eighth Top 10 finish of her career to date.

Paula Creamer 2012 Calendar

paula creamer calendar 2012

It's that time of year again: Time for the Golf Digest Japan Paula Creamer calendar. Paula is very popular in Japan (OK, she's very popular everywhere), and she has spoken often about her own love for Japan. Every year since 2007, Creamer and Golf Digest Japan have gotten together to create a wall calendar, which, alas, is always available for purchase in Japan only. (But keep an eye on eBay if you want one, copies occasionally show up there.)

If you are in Japan and want a 2012 Creamer calendar, or if you are outside of Japan and want to see a few more sample images, see this page on the GDJ website. You must be able to read Japanese if you want info, however (the only English words on the page are "Please note no oversease shipping allowed.")

paula creamer golf digest japan calendar 2012

Ginger Howard

golfer ginger howardGinger Howard is the winner of the LPGA Q-School second-stage qualifier, completed on Sept. 30 in Florida. And with four great rounds: 69, 70, 68, 65. That totals to a 16-under par score of 272.

Ginger is only 17 years old. The petition that Alexis Thompson filed to gain LPGA membership for 2012 is the one that has gotten all the attention, but Howard needed to petition for the chance to take part in Q-School. And the LPGA is looking smart for saying yes. Should she earn her LPGA Tour card, Ginger would be about a month shy of turning 18 when the 2012 LPGA season begins. That's that same path that Morgan Pressel took the LPGA.

As a junior golfer, Howard was runner-up at the 2010 Junior PGA Championship and was a member of the USA's Junior Ryder Cup team. After a string of strong showings in top amateur tournaments in the first half of 2011, Ginger turned pro in June. Between then and the start of Q-School, she won five times on the Suncoast Tour in Florida.

Azahara Munoz

azahara munoz

Azahara Munoz is the classy Spaniard who made her Solheim Cup debut for Team Europe in 2011. And it was a successful debut: She played four matches, going 2-1-1, earning 2.5 points for her side. She also wound up in the anchor match after the Kerr-Stupples match was conceded due to Kerr's injury. With the Solheim Cup very tight throughout the final day of singles matches, that was a tough position for a young player. But Aza handled it expertly. And while Europe clinched the cup after Caroline Hedwall, playing one match in front of Munoz, fought back to earn a half-point, Europe would have won even without Hedwall's comeback. Because Munoz won her own match, the anchor, 1-up over Angela Stanford.

Julie Maisongrosse

Julie Maisongrosse

Julie Maisongrosse now has the first win of her professional career. The young Frenchwoman (she was born in Colombia but grew up in France and plays for the France) recorded that victory at the LET Access Series' Dinard Ladies Open, played in Saint Briac Sur Mer, France. Maisongrosse earned with three low rounds - 67, 65, 65.

She's in her second season with LET status, having finished fourth at 2009 Q-school. As a rookie in 2010, Maisongrosse finished 79th on the LET money list.

She was the French amateur champion in 2005.

Big Break Ireland: Nicole Smith

nicole smith big break ireland

And we've come to the end of ours series on the women of Big Break Ireland. We wrap up with Nicole Smith.

First, Smith's degree from the University of Tennessee is in Perspectives in Human Relations & Culture. I have no idea what that means. Which helps explain why I hold no degrees of my own.

Nicole has spent the past two years - 2010 and 2011 - playing full-time on the Futures Tour, and she's built a pretty good record. In 2010 her best finish was fifth and she finished 40th on money list. In 2011, her best finish was second and she finished 32nd on the money list.

Smith's career has been delayed a bit by injuries suffered in high school in college. But she also managed, in her amateur days, to win the prestigious Kathy Whitworth Invitational and record Top 15 finishes 16 times in college.

Big Break Ireland: Kelly Jacques

kelly jacques big break ireland

Kelly Jacques has the least professional experience among the women on Big Break Ireland - since turning pro in 2008 she's played in only seven LPGA Futures Tour events. That's because after college she temporarily gave up competitive golf. What brought her back? According to her bio on the Golf Channel website, after time spent working at, well, work (as in jobs), she started thinking of golf again.

So in 2011, Jacques got into five Futures Tour tournaments and the results were promising if inconclusive: three cuts made.

As am amateur, Kelly was the Colorado state high school champion twice, and was twice named the Colorado Golfer of the Year. She was a two-time all-conference selection in college, recording 10 Top 10 finishes during her time at the University of Oklahoma.

Big Break Ireland: Annie Brophy

annie brophy big break ireland

Annie Brophy is another of the cast members in the Golf Channel's Big Break Ireland. Do you believe in the luck of the Irish? Annie has it going for her double. Not only is the series taped in Ireland, but Annie played her collegiate golf for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Brophy had eight Top 10 finishes in college golf and two victories, including the 2008 Big East Conference Championship. She was runner-up at the same tournament in 2010. She turned pro after graduating in 2010.

Annie played on the LPGA Futures Tour in 2011, getting into 13 tournaments. Her best finish was a tie fo 22nd at the Island Resort Championship in June.

Big Break Ireland: Nina Rodriguez

nina rodriguez big break ireland

Nina Rodriguez is one of the six women cast members of Big Break Ireland, which premiered on the Golf Channel on Sept. 20, 2011. She might be the one who was least-known prior to the show, but is almost certainly the one least experienced in golf.

That's because Nina was a gym rat, not a range rat, as a kid. Growing up, basketball was Nina's game. She didn't turn her attention full-time to golf until she was 19. She hadn't even begun playing golf until her junior year of high school.

Once she realized her talent, she played golf for Mt. San Antonio Junior College in California and then moved on to San Jose State University.

"It was a huge adjustment switching from basketball to golf," Rodriguez told the Golf Channel. "Basketball is such an active and contact sport, where in golf, patience is key. I wasn't used to that."

Rodriguez turned pro after college and played first on the Cactus Tour, then had full status on the Futures Tour in 2011. Her best finish of this season was a tie for 19th place at the Santorini Riviera Nayarit Classic in April.

Big Break Ireland: Whitney Wright

whitney wright big break ireland

"My experience on the Big Break was amazing, to say the least," Whitney Wright, one of the contestants we'll be watching on Big Break Ireland after its Sept. 20 debut, told Golf Babes. "I met so many wonderful friends and people from all parts of the world and will cherish that the most out of everything."

Whitney recently moved to Raleigh, N.C., and if you're in the area head out to Raleigh Country Club or TPC Wakefield. You might find Whitney at either course.

Wright is aiming for a sort of dual-citizenship in 2012: She hopes to earn playing status on both the LPGA and LET. She's playing the LPGA Q-School second-stage qualifier soon, and will play the LET Q-School in January. Whitney made it to the final stage of LPGA Q-School last year.

"My golf career to date has been very strange and different," Whitney said, explaining that after college at Florida State she moved to Norway and played 18 months on the SAS Masters Tour.

After returning to the U.S., Wright entered LPGA Q-School and did well enough to earn Futures Tour status for 2011. Unfortunately, as is often the case because of limited financial opportunities in women's golf below the LPGA level, she could only afford to play a few tournaments this year.

"I've been saving up my money for Q-School," Whitney said, "so this is once again my shot. I have to make something happen!"

Finding sponsors is always an issue for young women golfers, and hopefully the Big Break will open some doors for all of its cast members. But the experience was its own reward, Wright said, not least of which for the new friendships forged.

"I'm sure they will be friends for a lifetime," Whitney said.

Big Break Ireland: Mallory Blackwelder

mallory blackwelder big break ireland

On Tuesday, Sept. 20, Big Break Ireland premieres on the Golf Channel. The cast includes six men and six women, and at Golf Babes we don't care about the dudes. So over the next couple days we'll be posting about the six women in the cast.

And we start with Mallory Blackwelder, because she is the best-known of the six heading into the show (we've written about her before).

Mallory is coming off a season in which she started 12 times on the Futures Tour and posted three Top 10 finishes - including a best showing of second place at the South Shore Championship in early July. She finished 27th on the Futures Tour money list.

A year earlier, in 2010, Blackwelder held non-exempt status on the LPGA Tour and fully exempt status on the Ladies European Tour. She got into 11 LET tournaments, made seven cuts and had four Top 30 finishes.

She turned pro in 2009 after playing collegiately at the University of Kentucky.

Mallory comes from a golf family. Her mother is longtime LPGA member Myra Blackwelder, and her father is longtime LPGA caddie Worth Blackwelder.

Alexis Thompson

alexis thompson

Alexis Thompson knows how to make an entrance. She first entered my consciousness when she managed to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open at the age of 12. Now, still only 16 years old, she's a winner on the LPGA Tour. Thompson won the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic, and did so comfortably.

The photo above was taken during the 2010 Evian Masters, where Thompson finished second shortly after turning pro.

That's a nice start to a career you've got going, Lexi!

Melissa Reid

melissa reid

That last LET event before the 2011 Solheim Cup and Solheim Cup team member Melissa Reid gets the win. Reid's win was in the Open de Espana Femenino (Women's Spanish Open), and she earned it with a final-round 70 and a total of 8-under 280. That was one stroke better than three golfers in second place.

This is Reid's second LET victory of 2011, and her seventh Top 5 finish. Reid has been fantastic on the LET since turning pro. In her rookie season of 2008, she was 12th on the Order of Merit; moved up to seventh in 2009; then finished third in 2010. And she now stands second in 2011.

Jade Schaeffer

jade schaeffer

Jade Schaeffer is a winner again, this time on the Ladies European Tour at the Raiffeisenbank Prague Masters. Schaeffer, from France, held off her countrywoman Julie Greciet to win by two strokes.

It's Schaeffer's second win on the LET, the first coming at the 2009 Ladies German Open. She also has a couple victories on the LET Access Series between her two LET wins.

Hee Kyung Seo Should Never Be Called ... That ... Again

Hee Kyung Seo

Many, many of the stories - most of them, in fact - about Hee Kyung Seo make mention of her nickname. And why not? That nickname is "Supermodel of the Fairways." But it turns out Seo hates that nickname. In a Q&A with, Seo said this:

Honestly, I am not totally comfortable being referred to as the "Supermodel of the Fairway." When I won for the first time in Korea, I didn’t have any nicknames. I think I got the nickname because I am pretty tall for an Asian woman. Here, on the LPGA Tour, I see many tall model looking players and I feel some pressure to live up to my nickname.

Any golfer who doesn't like her nickname - or anyone who doesn't like a nickname - should no longer be called by that name. Common courtesy. So while Seo certainly is as pretty as a supermodel, the mention of that nickname up above is the last time we'll use it here on Golf Babes.

Now we just need to come up a nickname Seo actually likes ...

Paula Creamer Now a Golf Digest Playing Editor

paula creamer

Golf Digest announced today that Paula Creamer is the magazine's newest "playing editor." That means we'll be seeing Creamer in each issue providing instructional tips. There haven't been too many LPGA players over the years who filled this role for the magazine (although Annika Sorenstam is also currently a "playing editor"). Alas, Paula is unlikely to demonstrate her tips while wearing the above attire.

Sydnee Michaels

sydnee michaels
(Photo via

When you break through for your first professional win, you might as well dominate. That's what Sydnee Michaels did at the LPGA Futures Tour Vidalia Championship, winning by eight strokes.

Michaels entered the week in the Top 10 on the Futures Tour in birdies, scoring average, putting average, and GIR putting.

More importantly, the win moved her from 13th to fifth on the money list. And since there's only one tournament left in the 2011 Futures Tour schedule, Sydnee has put herself in position to earn her 2012 LPGA Tour card.

Brittany Lincicome

brittany lincicome

And Brittany Lincicome is your 2011 Canadian Women's Open winner. She did it by shooting 70 in the trying final-round conditions (Montreal got strong winds and some rain courtesy of squalls sent by Hurricane Irene) to win by one stroke over Stacy Lewis and defending champion Michelle Wie.

2011 has been a great year for Brittany, her most consistent season to date. The win in Canada is her second of the year (and fifth of her career). She also has second- and third-place finishes, along with a slew of Top 20s.

Henrietta Zuel

henrietta zuel
(Photo by Poodle Golf via Flickr)

Henrietta Zuel is a winner again on the LET Access Series (the LET's own Futures Tour). Henni won the LETAS Ladies Open in England, beating Ashleigh Simon in a playoff. The win is Zuel's second of 2011 on the LETAS; she also won in March at the Terre Blanche Ladies Open in France.

The victory moves Henrietta to the top of the LETAS order of merit with three of six tournaments complete. The golfer who tops that list at the end of the year gets her tour card for the LET in 2012.

Ryann O'Toole

ryann o toole
(Courtesy Ryann O'Toole/used with permission)

Ryann O'Toole was Team USA Captain Rosie Jones' other captain's pick for the 2011 Solheim Cup (Vicky Hurst was the first). And that seemed to surprise a lot of observers.

That surprise is understandable; after all, how many golfers in the previous history of the Solheim Cup were chosen for one of the teams after just seven LPGA starts? None.

But I love the pick, and think it entirely justified. I feel bad for those golfers passed over, but think of it this way: Those other candidates had two years to make their cases, and didn't get it done. Sure, Ryann has only seven LPGA starts in her rookie season, but she didmake her case to Rosie Jones.

Ryann's selection came on the same day as her best finish to date in an LPGA tournament, a tie for fifth at the Safeway Classic. Her previous Top 10 this year was at the U.S. Women's Open.

O'Toole is a tough, spirited, intense competitor who should thrive in the Solheim Cup cauldron.

Vicky Hurst

vicky hurst

Vicky Hurst is a member of the 2011 USA Solheim Cup team after receiving a captain's pick following the Safeway Classic. Hurst tied for fifth in that Safeway Classic, which was her second-best LPGA finish to date (she was runner-up at the 2010 Hana Bank Championship).

Hurst was the 2007 AJGA Player of the Year as a junior, and turned pro in 2008. She dominated the Futures Tour that year, winning five times, to earn her LPGA card for 2009. She's been a solid performer since, still at the tender age of 21.

Hurst finished 11th in the US Solheim Cup points standings, one spot out of an automatic selection. So it was no surprise when Captain Rosie Jones asked Hurst to join the team.

Danielle Kang

golfer danielle kang

Hmmm, seems like it was this same time last year that we were writing about Danielle Kang ... well, there's good reason for that: She won the same tournament two years in a row.

Kang won the 2011 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship one year after winning the 2010 version. In 2011, Kang, who is 18, beat the 17-year-old Moriya Jutanugarn 6-and-5 in the championship match.

Kang plans to turn pro now that the Women's Am is behind her.

Brooke Pancake

brooke pancake

Her name is Brooke Pancake, and yes, that surname leads to some great nicknames. Golfweek writer Beth Ann Baldry tweeted that Pancake's teammates at the University of Alabama call her "Cakes," "IHOP," and "Waffles." And that of those three, Brooke prefers "Cakes."

You can call her "Hot Cakes" after her great performance at the 2011 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship. Pancake reached the semifinals before bowing out to defending champ Danielle Kang, 1-down.

Pancake won the Tar Heel Invitational during the 2010-11 NCAA women's golf season for Alabama, where she also maintains a 4.13 grade point average. (I'm proud to note that my own GPA was at least 50-percent of that!) She's an All-American on the course, and an NGCA Scholar Athlete off it.

Prior to college, Pancake dominated high school golf in Tennessee, winning the state championship four straight times. According to the USGA, she's already a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

Suzanne Haney

suzanne haney

If you've watched The Haney Project on the Golf Channel, you know that Suzanne Haney is the wife of golf instructor Hank Haney. And if you follow Suzanne on Twitter, you know that Suzanne is an avid golfer herself - and that she and Hank are posting golf tips on YouTube. Hank narrates while Suzanne demonstrates. For example:

Suzanne is a model and aspiring actor. The bio for her on her agency's website notes that she has a degree in Media Arts and a minor in business from the University of Arizona. Suzanne was introduced to Hank by Charles Barkley. The bio also notes:

"Suzanne's interests have always been in film and television. ... Suzanne is also appearing in director Peter Berg's filmBattleship, sharing scenes with stars Brooklyn Decker and Alexander Skaarsgard. Suzanne is also an experienced model in both print and runway."

Battleship is currently scheduled for release in May 2012.

Caroline Masson

caroline masson

Caroline Masson was tied for third place following the first round of the 2011 Women's British Open. Who is she? She's pretty well-known in Europe, but not yet known to a lot of American golf fans.

Masson is a 22-year-old German who was the No. 1-ranked amateur golfer in Europe for a time. As an amateur, she won seven German national championships along with the 2008 Spanish Ladies Open Amateur. She played on two Junior Solheim Cup teams and played for the continental side in the 2009 Vagliano Trophy.

Caroline also played golf at Oklahoma State University for two seasons, leaving in 2009. She entered the LET Q-School later that year, and won it.

Her rookie year as a pro was 2010, when Masson posted four Top 10 finishes on the LET with a best showing of third at the Women's French Open. So far in 2011, Caroline has finished in the Top 11 in each of her last five starts on the LET going into the WBO. Prior to that streak, she had a runner-up finish at the Lalla Meryem Cup and helped Germany to a runner-up finish at the European Nations Cup. So while she's still looking for that first pro victory, Caroline is a player who appears due to win soon.

Ai Miyazato

ai miyazato

Ai Miyazato is your champion at the 2011 Evian Masters. As you've already heard, the Evian is slated to be elevated to major championship status in 2013. There are plenty of pros and cons to that, well-argued in plenty of other blogs. But one thing that distinguishes (or should) majors from "regular" tournaments is the quality of their winners. And if you look at the list of Evian Masters winners, you see great golfers up and down that list. Miyazato only adds to that legacy.

The victory is Miyazato's second in the Evian and her seventh career win on the LPGA Tour.

Kelly Tidy

kelly tidy
(Photo by Poodle Golf / Flickr)

The final qualifying for the 2011 Women's British Open takes place on Monday (July 24), and one of those playing is Kelly Tidy.

Tidy, from England, was in the field at last year's WBO on the strength of her victory at the 2010 British Ladies Amateur Championship. And Kelly almost went back-to-back in the British Am, getting knocked out this year on the 20th hole in the semifinals. "It wasn't a shameful defence," Kelly said, with admirable modesty.

It's been an active 2011 so far for Kelly, who is 19 years old. She spent several months in Orlando, taking advantage of the good weather and playing with, among others, Christina Kim, Sophie Gustafson and fellow Englishwoman Karen Stupples.

After heading back home, Kelly has played for Great Britain & Ireland teams in the Astor Cup and the Vagliano Trophy. The Astor Cup is played every four years amongst GB&I, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, and GB&I won this year. "It was a really great week," Kelly said, "I had so much fun."

The Vagliano Trophy is like the Curtis Cup except that rather than GB&I vs. the USA, it's GB&I vs. Continental Europe. This year, the continentals took the trophy.

And Kelly remains busy after the WBO qualifier. "I have a couple more events soon enough," she told me. "The English Strokeplay Championships in two weeks time, and the British Strokeplay Championships." Kelly will be among the favorites at both.

And after that? Pro golf beckons. Kelly isn't sure just yet of an exact timetable for turning pro, but is considering entering Ladies European Tour Q-School later this year. And whenever she turns pro, she's looking forward to it.

"Providing nothing changes, it's most likely I'll have a go (at Q-School) this year," Kelly said. "I'm excited to turn professional as its what I've always wanted to do!"

Kelly is an exciting young player, one we'll be hearing a lot from (and seeing more on Golf Babes) in the future.

Ran Hong

golfer ran hongAfter three rounds of the 2011 Evian Masters, Ran Hong stands tied for second with Stacy Lewis, Angela Stanford and Miki Saiki, two strokes behind Ai Miyazato. Who is she?

Ran Hong is a KLPGA member whose Evian appearance is her fifth time playing an LPGA event. She played the Hana Bank Kolon Championship in 2008, 2009 (finishing fourth) and 2010, and also played Evian last year. tells us that she was born in 1986 and turned pro in 2004. She won twice on the KPGA in 2008 and once last year, and has posted several seasons in the Top 10 on the KLPGA money list.

Benedicte Toumpsin

Benedicte Toumpsin
(Photo by Tristan Jones/LET)

This photo was part of a feature on LET rookie Benedicte Toumpsinposted on the Ladies European Tour website recently.

Toumpsin is a native of Belgium who played her collegiate golf at the University of South Carolina. She earned LET rookie status by finishing 18th in Q-School late in 2010.

While at South Carolina, Toumpsin won the NCAA East Regional. Among her other achievements as an amateur, the LET notes: "She has a glittering amateur career, including victories at the Belgian National Championship in 2010 and 2007, the 2005 Belgium Masters and also represented Europe at The 2005 PING Junior Solheim Cup, as well as finishing fourth at the 2007 KLM Ladies Open in the Netherlands whilst still an amateur."

Brittany Johnston

brittany johnston

Brittany Johnston claimed her first career win on the Futures Tour at the ING New England Golf Classic on Sunday, July 17. She did it by firing a 65 in the final round, beating Alison Walshe by one stroke and Kathleen Ekey - Johnston's former high school teammate - by two strokes.

In a "Quick 18" Q&A on the Futures Tour website there is this exchange:

14. If you could impact women's golf, what would you want your legacy to be?
I would teach young girls to believe in themselves and follow their dreams - you never know where the game of golf can take you.

golfer brittany johnstonNow we know golf can take Johnston to the winner's circle.

Johnston is originally from Ohio. She played college golf at Northwestern, posting 15 Top 10 finishes in NCAA play. She graduated from Northwestern in 2008 with a degreen in political science.

That's the same year Johnston turned pro, and 2011 is her first full season on the Futures Tour. Her first win comes just a couple weeks after she played in the U.S. Women's Open, which she got into through qualifying.

Katy Harris Is Writing Quite a Story

katy harris golfer

Lots of golfers make comebacks. But few attempt those comebacks after going years with almost no golf.

Katy Harris - then known as Katy Wilkinson - was a top junior golfer in the mid- to late 1990s: 2-time Indiana high school state champ, 1997 Indiana Women's Open champ. Then she was a top college golfer at LSU: 20 Top 10 finishes, 11 Top 5 finishes, All-American honors in 2001.

She was poised to turn pro and launch a career in golf. But an injury - and then life - sent her down another path.

At the tail end of her senior season at LSU, during the 2001 SEC Championship tournament, Harris tried to play a ball out of the mud in a water hazard. The mud didn't give; her hand did.

"The impact loosened a joint in my right hand," she said. "It didn't feel too bad at the time. Just a little sore. I was able to shoot a course record - and tournament record at the time - (of) 7-under 65 the next day and finished second at the tournament. (But) the more golf I played, the more my hand hurt. Eventually, I felt pain at impact of every shot."

Even after graduation, and after Katy and her husband moved to Houston, the pain persisted. Surgery was recommended.

"An attempt was made to fuse the joint solid using some bone from my wrist," Katy said. "Pins were involved, it wasn't much fun. Unfortunately, it took two surgeries."

Sharmila Nicollet

Sharmila Nicollet

A tweet from Golfweek's Beth Ann Baldry brings news that Sharmila Nicollet is among five sponsor invitees to the 2011 Evian Masters. This will be, by far, the biggest tournament yet for the young Indian golfer. Nicollet appeared in the LET's Finnair Masters several weeks back and missed the cut. In 2010, Nicollet finished 23rd in the LET co-sponsored Hero Honda Women's Open.

Most of Nicollet's experience to date has come on the Ladies Asian Golf Tour and on the women's tour in India, the WGAI Tour. In 2010, Nicollet was the leading money winner on the WGAI.

The 5-foot-10 Nicollet turned 20 years old in March.

Hee Kyung Seo

hee kyung seo

As I write this, it's early in final round of the 2011 US Women's Open and Hee Kyung Seo is in second place, behind her countrywoman So Yeon Ryu.

Hee Kyung Seo, I am required by law to point out, is known as the "Supermodel of the Fairways" on the KLPGA because of her bold on-course fashion choices. Her off-course fashion choices aren't too shabby either, wouldn't you say?

Seo is an 11-time winner on the KLPGA, a 1-time winner thus far on the LPGA. She's in her first year of playing primarily in the US.

So Yeon Ryu

so yeon ryu

As the third round of the 2011 US Women's Open approached its close, Golfweek's Beth Ann Baldry tweeted this:

Karrie Webb's instructor, Ian Triggs, told me to keep an eye on So Yeon Ryu. I see why now.

So Yeon Ryu, as I write this, is in the clubhouse at 1-under, tied for the lead with a couple other players at 1-under still on the course in their third rounds. So at worst Ryu will be very close to the lead, if not sharing it, as the final round starts.

Who is she? The indispensable Seoul Sisters (which is also where the above photo comes from) tells me that Ryo's rookie season on the KLPGA was 2008, that she won four times on the KLPGA in 2009 and once in 2010, finishing second on the money list in 2009.

So Yeon Ryu entered the week ranked No. 40 in the women's world rankings. Ryo, who finished 25th in the 2010 U.S. Women's Open, got into the 2011 Open by virtue of a Top 5 finish on the 2010 KLPGA money list.

Mika Miyazato

mika miyazato lpga golfer

Mika Miyazato is your second-round leader at the US Women's Open. Every year at the Open there are early surprises. Mika Miyazato is notone of those surprises. She's certainly not as well-known to most golf fans as the other Miyazato (no relation between Ai and Mika), but Mika is a very, very talented golfer who is going to be an LPGA winner.

Will the 2011 US Women's Open be one of those wins? We'll know in two more rounds.

Ryann O'Toole

ryann o toole golfer

Ryann O'Toole is getting a lot of searches on Golf Babes today because she's looking good in the first two rounds of the 2011 U.S. Women's Open.

O'Toole is a rookie on the LPGA Tour in 2011, and has been very solid in four starts so far. She's also been great in a couple starts on the Futures Tour this year.

Here's a tournament you probably didn't know O'Toole had won: the 2011 Australian Short Course Championship. It was played on a 4,000-yard par-60 layout.

Something curious about Ryann's career development: She wasn't an automatic starter on her UCLA golf team. She's clearly a very talented player, so you'd think she would have been great at the collegiate level. If you're not familiar with college golf, schools take five players to tournaments, and the low four scores count. O'Toole was passed over by her coach in quite a few events. Oops!

But Ryann can take solace in the fact that the same thing happened to Fuzzy Zoeller when he was at the NCAA powerhouse University of Houston back in the early to mid-1970s. And Zoeller was only on his way to a Hall of Fame career in the pro ranks until back injuries derailed him (not before he won a couple majors).

Big Break Ireland Cast Members

The Golf Channel has announced the next season of The Big Break begins on Sept. 20 and is called Big Break Ireland. The cast includes six men and six women. We're going to ignore the men, because this ain't Golf Dudes. We'll be writing more about the six female contestants in the future, so here we'll just introduce each by quoting what the Golf Channel said about them in its official announcement.

mallory blackwelder big break
Mallory Blackwelder
Golf Channel: "24, Versailles, Ky. – The daughter of 13-year LPGA veteran Myra Blackwelder and professional caddie Worth Blackwelder. After traveling worldwide with the Ladies European Tour in 2010, Mallory is competing full-time on the Futures Tour in 2011."

annie brophy big breakAnnie Brophy (left)
Golf Channel: "24, Spokane, Wash. – A rookie on the LPGA Futures Tour and Notre Dame alum, Brophy is looking to capture the Luck of the Irish."

kelly jacques big breakKelly Jacques(right)
Golf Channel: "25, Thornton, Colo. – Jacques made her return to competitive golf in 2011 after taking time away from the game following graduation at the University of Oklahoma. Currently competing on a limited schedule on the Futures Tour, Jacques has a new, fresh outlook on the game."

nina rodriguez big break
Nina Rodriguez
Golf Channel: "27, San Jose, Calif. – Currently competing on the LPGA Futures Tour, Rodriguez is a late bloomer to the game, deciding to focus solely on golf at age 19."

nicole smith big breakNicole Smith
Golf Channel: "24, Riverside, Calif. – Currently living out of her car, Smith is competing full-time on the Futures Tour. The alumfrom the University of Tennessee is looking to follow in the footsteps of 'Big Break Sandals' competitor Ryann O'Toole, her close friend and travel companion."

whitney wright big break
Whitney Wright
Golf Channel: "26, Greenville, S.C. – Girlfriend of 'Big Break Indian Wells' competitor Robbie Biershenk, Wright is competing on the Futures Tour and supplements her income by competing in charitable competitions on the golf course."

Marta Silva Zamora

marta silva zamora
Marta Silva Zamora is the No. 1 NCAA golfer in the 2011-12 preseason rankings fromGolfweek writer Beth Ann Baldry.

Silva, from Spain, is coming off a season for the University of Georgia in which she finished outside the Top 10 just once, and earned Player of the Year nods from bothGolfweek and the National Golf Coaches Association. Silva is a senior for the 2011-12 season.

The Top 5 in Baldry's rankings are:

1. Marta Silva Zamora, Georgia
2. Sophia Popov, Southern Cal
3. Stephanie Meadow, Alabama
4. Lisa McCloskey, Southern Cal
5. Erica Popson, Tennessee

Silva also won the 2010 Spanish Amateur Championship and was runner-up at the 2010 European Ladies Amateur.

Brittany Lincicome

brittany lincicome

This photo of Brittany Lincicome was posted by her Solheim Cup teammate Vicky Hurst on Twitter. Vicky wrote that Brittany was "looking like a goddess." We concur!
Tiffany Joh's Blog

If you want to get to know Tiffany Joh a little bit better - and you should, she's hilarious - then check out her new blog Tiffany is a multiple All-America selection at UCLA, a member of the 2008 U.S. Curtis Cup team, a two-time champion at the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship, who has just embarked on her professional career. She's now playing the Futures Tour.

Some of you may remember Tiffany's posts at Waggle Room. Her new blog includes musings, musical interludes and video clips. Sometimes, as in the clip above, all three in one.

Blair O'Neal

blair o neal pictures

Blair O'Neal came this close to winning "Big Break Prince Edward Island" and the $100,000 first prize. But, alas, she lost in the championship match to Derek Gillespie.

But it was a fantastic showing for Blair. Let's face it, many people who have seen Blair on various sports blogs or modeling in the pages of a magazine the past couple years probably had no idea that could actually play the game. As her modeling career took off over those years, she pulled back from competitive golf.

But she's getting back into competition these days. Not just through her "Big Break" appearance, but also playing in USGA qualifiers and on the Cactus Tour.

Diana Luna

diana luna pictures

Diana Luna is the winner of the 2009 AIB Ladies Irish Open, played at Portmarnock, on the Ladies European Tour. Luna, from Italy, finished four strokes clear of the runners-up, which includes Sophie Gustafson.

Luna finished second earlier this year at the ABN AMRO Ladies Open, and the Irish Open win is her second on the LET. She also won the Tenerife Ladies Open in 2004, which was the year of her best showing on the money list (13th).

Jennifer Song

jennifer song pictures
(Photo by John Mummert/USGA)

Jennifer Song is the 2009 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links champion. Song defeated Kimberly Kim in the championship match, 7 and 6. Song was the runner-up in the '08 Women's Publinx.

Song was born in Michigan but grew up in Korea and has dual citizenship. That allowed her to be a member of the Korean National Team while also serving as an alternate on the 2008 American Curtis Cup squad. (Which begs the question - will she play for the East or West team in a future Lexus Cup?)

Song recently completed her freshman season on the Southern Cal women's golf team, and it was a good one: She was named national Freshman of the Year by the National Golf Coaches Association. Song led the USC team in scoring average, was named first-team All-American, and finished the season ranked No. 1 in the Golfweekcollegiate rankings.

Cheyenne Woods

cheyenne woods pictures

Cheyenne Woods just completed her first-ever appearance in an LPGA Tour tournament, the 2009 Wegmans LPGA. And she had a pretty solid showing, shooting 75-74 to finish 5-over. Now that this adventure is over, Woods will return to getting ready for the 2009-10 collegiate season at Wake Forest, where she will be a sophomore. You can view more pics of Cheyenne

Sandra Gal

sandra gal pictures

This is written at the conclusion of play on Day 1 of the 2009 Wegmans LPGA. And second-year LPGA player Sandra Gal is at the top of the leaderboard after a scorching 64. Sandra is having a solid year so far in '09 with one Top 5 finish and two other Top 20 finishes thus far.

Marousa Polias and Como!Come!

marousa polias pictures

Golf Babes readers are well-acquainted with our friend Marousa Polias (see previous posts about Marousa). Marousa is an Aussie golfer who plays on the Australian Ladies Golf Tour and the Ladies European Tour.

But most folks out there probably have no idea who, or what, Como!Come! means. Unless you are familiar with Japanese golf products. But that will be changing soon, because Como!Come! - a Japanese brand of, in Marousa's words, "cute, cute golf accessories" - has launched an English-language version of its Web site to make its products available worldwide.

And Como!Come! is now sponsoring Marousa, too. But you probably could have guessed that from the photo! Como!Come! makes, among other things, golf bags, headcovers, shirts, sweaters, and something they call "baby tails" (you'll have to explore the Web site to figure that one out).

We're always happy when young female professionals pick up a new sponsor, especially in this economy, so good for Marousa. Check out the Como!Come! English-language site here.

Sakura Yokomine

Sakura Yokomine pictures

It was an off week on the LPGA, but that doesn't mean there wasn't some movement in the women's world rankings. They do play golf in other parts of the globe, too, you know. In Japan, for example, where Sakura Yokomine won her third JLPGA title of the year at the Nichirei PGM Ladies. That victory moved Yokomine up to No. 17 in the world rankings.

Whitney Wade

whitney wade pictures

Whitney Wade was this past weekend's champion on the Duramed Futures Tour, closing with a 66 to finish with a one-stroke win at the Duramed Championship. The win came on Father's Day, and with Whitney's dad as her caddie.

It's the first Futures Tour win for Whitney, who turned pro in 2007 after a college career at the University of Georgia. But Whitney first made headlines in the golf world at age 13 by winning the Kentucky State Amateur Championship in 1999, something she did the following two years, as well.

She was a member of the 2005 U.S. Junior Solheim Cup team, a four-time All-SEC selection in college, and won the 2007 Kentucky State Open and 2008 Ohio Women's Open.

And last season was Whitney's first on the Futures Tour. She made a pretty good debut, too, making the cut in all but one of her 15 events and posting a couple Top 10s. And now she's a winner on the Futures, and that victory vaulted Whitney into the Top 10 on the money list.

It wasn't Whitney's first win of 2009, however; a few weeks ago she won the Colorado Women's Open.

Anna Nordqvist

anna nordqvist pictures

Anna Nordqvist always makes an impression. She's a 6-foot blonde, after all, and from Sweden, no less.

Now she has something in common with her idol, Annika Sorenstam, beyond just her country of origin and hair color. Now Anna is a major champion. Some might say she came out of nowhere to win the 2009 McDonalds LPGA Championship, but she really came out of a superb junior program in Sweden and college program at Arizona State. Avid followers of women's golf have known for some time about Anna's potential to be the next great Swede.

She's not the next great Swede just yet, of course. She has to back up this victory with others. But she certainly has now made an impression on the golf world.

Azahara Munoz

azahara munoz picturesAzahara Munoz recently completed her senior season at Arizona State University, and later this summer will turn pro. But in-between, on Saturday, she won the British Ladies Amateur Championship.

Munoz, from Spain, defeated her countrywoman and Arizona State teammate Carlota Ciganda in the final. But it's not Munoz's first big win. She was the 2008 NCAA individual champion. She also finished second in the U.S. Women's Amateur in 2008, and earlier this year played in the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship and made the cut. Munoz plans to turn pro following the U.S. Women's Open in a few weeks.

Mina Harigae

mina harigae pictures

Mina Harigae was the winner of last week's Duramed Futures Tour event, the Ladies Titan Tire Challenge. The victory pushed Mina to the top of the money list, and she also leads the tour in scoring average through the early part of the season.

Harigae, a California native, had a stellar junior and amateur career, earning a post on the U.S. Junior Solheim Cup team in 2005 and 2007; winning the California Women's Amateur Championship four times (the first time at age 13); winning the 2007 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship; and being a member of the 2008 U.S. Curtis Cup squad.

She played college golf at Duke for one season, then left school to turn pro earlier this year. And now, as a rookie, Harigae is (statistically) the best player on the Futures Tour through the early part of the season.

Look for Mina on the LPGA Tour in 2010.

In-Kyung Kim

in-kyung kim pictures

Win No. 2 for In-Kyung Kim on the LPGA Tour at the State Farm Classic. And win No. 2 was overdue for IK - already in 2009 she had finished third at the J Golf, second at Michelob, fifth at Sybase. She seems to get into contention quite a bit these days, and more wins are sure to follow.

Se Ri Pak

se ri pak pictures

Se Ri Pak shared the first-round lead at the State Farm Classic, and as I write this brief note shares the second-round lead. I don't care where she finishes, although I hope she wins. It's just really nice to see Se Ri on the leaderboard again.

Funny Tweet By Michelle Wie

michelle wie pictures

Michelle Wie is on Twitter. Lots of LPGA golfers are on Twitter. And today Michelle had a particularly funny tweet. A little background: The LPGA is in Springfield, Ill., this week for the State Farm Classic. That's the tournament where, in 2008, Michelle was a stroke off the lead after three rounds, only to be disqualified for leaving the scorer's area without signing her scorecard. There's a good look at Wie's return and the circumstances here (via Devil Ball).

So Wie is back this week at the site of last year's controversial event. Is she apprehensive? Anxious? Perhaps still harboring bitterness? Her "tweet" today is pretty sweet. Michelle wrote:

so i was thinking...whoever is here this week in springfield should make posters that say "SIGN YOUR SCORECARD!" and wave em to me after 18

Yeah, I think she's doing just fine.

Kirsty Taylor

kirsty taylor pictures

Kirsty Taylor is the subject of a feature on the LET Web site about her weight-loss efforts, and her cancer prevention and awareness efforts. She'll be working on three of those things simultaneously on June 21 when she takes part in the Cancer Research UK's Race for Life 5k run. Kirsty's father succumbed to cancer six years ago, and June 21 is Father's Day in Britain.

There are actually two Kirsty Taylors on the LET; this one is Kirsty S. Taylor, the younger of the two, and the 2002 LET Rookie of the Year.

Last season was Kirsty's best since that 2002 rookie year. In 2008, Kirsty finished 39th on the money list, with a best showing of fourth place at the ABN AMRO Ladies Open. She had nine other Top 30 finishes for the season.

Jade Schaeffer

jade schaeffer pictures

Jade Schaeffer is a French golfer, born on Reunion Island but now living in Paris, who is the younger sister of LET golfer Fanny Schaeffer. Jade, age 23, is herself an LET member, having won the 2006 Q-School tournament.

And her first official victory on the Ladies European Tour came today at the Ladies German Open. Jade shot a 67 in the final round, coming from six strokes behind third-round leader Paula Marti to tie Marti and force a playoff. Which Schaeffer then won with a birdie on the first playoff hole.

In Defense of Play Golf Designs

Do me a favor. Before reading further, take a look at the photos of Play Golf Designs professionals we've posted here over the last couple years by clicking this link. It will open in a new window so you won't be taken away from this post. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Back? OK, good. Now, what did you see? You saw glamour shots, right? You did not see anything risque, anything revealing (in a physical sense), anything exploitative, anything in poor taste, anything - for lack of a better word - skanky.

Right? Right. Glamour shots. Simple glamour shots.

What's the point of this intro? Recently, a writer for penned an attack on Play Golf Designs that was headlined, "Lady Golfers for Rent: Escort Service for Duffers?"

In fairness to that writer, Sean Gregory, he almost certainly had nothing to do with that insulting and very stupid headline. He did, however, make a reference to escort services himself within the body of the article.

The article is a screed against the notion that female athletes (and the leagues they belong to) might use their looks to gain attention and new fans. Not exactly an original subject; that debate has been going on for decades.

Let me just state before continuing that I am aware of the irony in a site called Golf Babes offering a defense against charges of exploitation of female athletes. But my positive content and the steady stream of always positive feedback I get from women touring professional golfers leaves my conscience clear.

I'm also aware of the irony of a writer composing a none-too-original piece criticizing the marketing of female athletes deciding he'll "sex it up" with a gratuitous and insulting comparison of some of those athletes to "escorts." Well played, Mr. Gregory. Out of one side of his mouth he gets to tell the world of his moral rectitude and respect for women; out of the other side he gets to call some of those women whores. Jackass.

If Mr. Gregory really wants to show off his credentials as a defender of women against exploitation in the sports world, perhaps he should write something about Time's sister publication Sports Illustrated. Word on the street is that once a year SI - owned by Time, Inc. - publishes an issue full of nothing but scantily clad, barely clad, sometimes semi-nude women ... for no discernible reason other than corporate greed. And they use these images to the hilt with major yearround play on the magazine's Web site, plus lots of video, DVDs and even TV specials.

Hey, it's not like male athletes aren't out there selling a look. Sports marketing is all about selling a look. How many fashion spreads in GQhave athletes done over the years? How many football and basketball players have posed for posters?

There's a big difference, though, between male athletes and women athletes when it comes to marketing, and that is the huge deficit that exists between the money and attention available to each.

There's just not much money (relatively speaking) available in women's athletics in the United States. The entire purse of a Duramed Futures Tour tournament is often smaller than the winner's share onlyat a Nationwide Tour event.

If Mr. Gregory can click his heels, crinkle his nose, blink his eyes, snap his fingers and make these disparities disappear, well, what's he waiting for? If his delicate sensibilities are offended by a female athlete posing for a simple glamour shot (or posing in a bikini for his corporate cohort's annual flesh-fest), maybe he should start campaigning for more sponsorship opportunities for those athletes rather than attacking their entrepreneurialism.

Mr. Gregory looks at a few glamour shots on the Play Golf Designs Web site and imagines escort services. Who's doing the stereotyping? Who is betraying an inability to recognize women for something other than their looks?

The touring professionals who work with Play Golf Designs are independent contractors. They are businesswomen responsible for their own financial success or failure. They don't have an annual salary or paid healthcare and vacation time like employees of Time. They don't have the big-dollar opportunities available in men's golf; in fact, many of them play on developmental tours where the check for finishing 15th might not even cover the hotel bill for the week.

And Mr. Gregory attacks them over a few glamour shots. He must walk through life cringing at the site of skirts above the knee, averting his eyes if - gasp! - a little cleavage enters his field of vision.

Grow up.

I've had the good fortune to be acquainted with Play Golf Designs founder Nisha Sadekar, and several other of the Play Golf Designs golfers, for several years. All the women who work for Play Golf Designs are professional in every sense of the word. They are fierce competitors. The are all intelligent (Yale and Stanford are among the schools present on their resumes) and extremely hard workers.

"I personally have hosted several PGD golf outings, and I can assure you that Nisha Sadekar runs her events with class and only the utmost professionalism," says Kim Kouwabunpat, one of the PGD professionals. "We are professional athletes who compete at the highest level and all of us take our professional image very seriously. If you were to profile the 22 athletes on the PGD roster you would find that they consist of former top collegiate golfers from leading Division I universities such as Stanford, Duke, UCLA, and the University of Texas; former NCAA champions, current LPGA touring professionals, and top developmental tour players. I highly doubt that any one of these professional golfers, whom are very highly respected amongst their peers and colleagues, would ever join or even be associated with an organization that could be construed as an 'escort service'."

Nisha herself is a whipsmart businesswoman who has built from scratch a very successful company in a short amount of time.

And yes, her company is marketed in a fun, flirty way. There are many such companies out there, companies that match up professional golfers with corporate outings - Mr. Gregory may not be aware of it, but every player in golf, up to and including Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer, hires himself or herself out for corporate events. These management companies also match their clients with club events, with clinics, with other "appearance fee" opportunities. It's one way the bigshots in the game pad their bank accounts; it's one way the up-and-comers try to make ends meet. (Mr. Gregory manages to throw "bachelor parties" into his article, while failing to mention all the charity events that PGD professionals attend. Again, who has the dirty mind here?)

Play Golf Design's "hook," so to speak, is that its roster of professionals is comprised entirely of women. And if all of those women happen to be smart, funny, and attractive? In what industry, in what line of work, would that not be played up in the company marketing plan?

"Why isn't it OK to dress fashionably and be proud of our femininity without being criticized?" asks Kouwabunpat. "A polished, well-rounded look is marketable and a marketable image is good business."

If you read the article you're given the impression that something dirty is going on at the Play Golf Designs Web site. But anyone who then clicks over to the PGD Web site will be left wondering, "What in the world was that guy talking about?"

Glamour shots. The horror.

Johanna Westerberg

johanna westerberg picturesJohanna Westerberg is a veteran of seven seasons on the Ladies European Tour, and today in the first round of the Ladies German Open she posted her career low, a 65.

Westerberg's career best finish on the LET are runners-up at the 2007 Finnair Masters and 2008 Turkish Ladies Open. She finished 22nd on the money list in '07, and was 36th in earning in 2008.

Johanna is getting a little help from her fiancee in Germany this week. That would be fellow Swede Joachim Johansson, who is caddying for her. Joachim Johansson ... does that name sound familiar? If you're a tennis fan, it surely does.

Johansson - whose nickname is "Pim Pim" - is a professional tennis player. And a pretty good one. He was a player on the rise in 2004 and 2005, reaching the semifinals at the 2004 U.S. Open, before shoulder injuries derailed his career. He's undergone a couple surgeries since then and played sporadically. But before the injuries, he peaked at No. 9 in the WTA world singles rankings.

Pim Pim (hey, when a guy is nicknamed Pim Pim, I say use the nickname) also holds the WTA tour record for most aces in one match - 51. That happened in the 2005 Australian Open against Andre Agassi. Pretty remarkable given that Agassi, along with Jimmy Connors, is generally regarded one of the two best service returners in tennis history.

According to the LET, Johanna and Pim Pim plan to get hitched next year.

johanna westerberg pictures

Ash & Ash on Golfweek TV

ashley davis and ashleigh korzack

"Ash & Ash" are Ashley Davis (left) and Ashleigh Korzack, whom you probably remember from the Golf Channel series Highway 18. The lifelong friends are back on "television" with a new show on Golfweek TV called The Look. Ashleigh described the show to me as "a weekly fashion and lifestyle show," and in the sneak peak clip you can see Ash & Ash talking to Geoff Ogilvy and Padraig Harrington, among others.

Ash & Ash are also writing a blog on the Golfweek Web site. "We don't plan on just covering the PGA and LPGA," Ashleigh said, "we want to get out there to the Futures Tour, Hooters Tour, Nationwide, Champions, AJGA, USGA, etc. ... We want to be everywhere checking to see what is happening and what's hot in the fashion world of golf!"

Ashleigh also said the duo hopes to expand their coverage into other lifestyle areas such as travel, cars, luxury goods and even real estate.

Ji Young Oh

ji young oh pictures

We've already featured two other winners from this weekend -Marianne Skarpnord on the LET and Elisa Serramia on the Futures - but, of course, the bigger winner from the weekend was the winner on the LPGA Tour: Ji Young Oh.

Ji Young was the winner at the Sybase Classic, outdueling playing partner Suzann Pettersen over the final round and ultimately pulling away for a 4-stroke victory.

It's the second career LPGA win for Ji Young, who is in her third season. The first was the 2008 LPGA State Farm Classic, and Oh finished 26th on the money list last year. This victory moves her up to eighth on this year's money list.

Elisa Serramia

elisa serramia pictures

Elisa Serramia was the winner over the weekend of the Duramed Futures Tour's Mercedez-Benz of Kansas City Championship. It's her first win on the Futures Tour in what is her rookie season.

But she's not a rookie tour player - before coming to the Futures Tour, Elisa spent several seasons playing the Ladies European Tour.

The native of Spain turned pro in 2004 after winning the British Ladies Amateur Championship in 2003. In 2005, Elisa earned Rookie of the Year honors on the LET with a 47th-place finish on the money list. She improved to 32nd in 2006, posting multiple Top 10s including a career-to-date best on the LET of third at the 2006 Ladies Italian Open.

Happy Holidays from Golf Babes - and to celebrate, we offer this holiday card from the lovely Sadekar sisters. That's Nisha on the left, Seema on the right. And Juicy and Bentley send their holidays wishes, as well.