Celebrity Golfer: Stacy Lewis

Posted in Celebrity Golfer, Golf Writers Column by on October 23rd, 2012

I first met Stacy Lewis this past January at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. Stacy had just learned that Meg Mallon would be the captain of the U.S. Solheim Cup team at Colorado GC in 2013. Stacy, who had been on the losing side at Killeen Castle, Ireland, was pleased. “Meg will be a great leader, and she is just what the team needs.”

Despite the Solheim Cup loss, Stacy, after three years of steady improvement since turning pro in 2008, had a breakout year in 2011. She made her first win a major – the Kraft Nabisco Championship – coming from two strokes down on the back nine to defeat Yani Tseng, World’s #1. Stacy quickly moved into the LPGA’s elite and onto golf magazine covers. Her outstanding play also enticed sponsors, and she now has business relationships with Antigua, IQ Plus Golf Bars, KPMG, Marathon Petroleum, Mizuno, Power Balance, Pure Silk Shave Cream, Titleist/FootJoy, and Vedalo HD eyewear.

With 2011 as her watershed year on Tour, I asked her,“What is your goal for 2012?” She looked at me directly and said clearly, “I would like to become the topranked American player in the world.”

In winning her third tournament of the year on September 23, the Navistar LPGA Classic, to go along with the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic and the ShopRite LPGA Classic, Stacy, now 27, is currently the topranked American player in the world! Paula Creamer (13) and Cristie Kerr (14) are her closest American counterparts, followed by Angela Stanford (16), Brittany Lincicome (19), Lexi Thompson (22), and Brittany Lang (27).

Equally important, she is now ranked second in the Women’s World Golf Rankings behind Tseng. Most important, perhaps, with six events remaining on Tour, she is the points leader for the Rolex Player of the Year honor and should become the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to win it.

Stacy, who grew up outside of Houston and played at The Woodlands, was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 11. She was strapped into a back brace for 18 hours a day for seven years, only taking it off when she played high school golf. In 2003 of her senior year, however, she underwent a very difficult back operation that inserted a rod and five metal screws into her spine. The surgery was a success, but she could not twist or bend for six months and was redshirted her freshman year at the University of Arkansas, from where she graduated in 2008 with a double major in finance and accounting.

When she could play golf for the Razorbacks, she was nothing short of sensational, winning 12 college tournaments, the 2007 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship, and numerous SEC and All- America accolades. In 2008, she was a member of the victorious U.S. Curtis Cup team and became the first player ever to compile a 5-0 record. For more information about Stacy, go to her website: www.StacysBack.com.

NEGM: How do you spend your “free” time while on Tour?
SL: I do not have a lot of free time, but when I do, I like to see the sights of the towns where we play or just relax. I do work out regularly and watch SEC football when I can.

NEGM: What institutions/charities do you support?
SL: I support two worth-while causes: the Scoliosis Research Society and Golf Fore Africa. In 2010 during the off-season, I traveled with [LPGA Hall of Famer] Betsy King to Rwanda to help African children orphaned by AIDS, and I met the little girl I had been sponsoring.

NEGM: What are your favorite stops on Tour?
SL: There are many that I like, but the Kraft in Palm Springs and the Arkansas event are two special ones.

NEGM: Has the 2012 season met your own expectations?
SL: Yes, the three victories have surpassed my expectations, but I still have a lot more to accomplish this year if I can.

NEGM: Where do you feel you need improvement? In your swing, short game, mental side?
SL: I need to continually improve managing my emotions down the stretch of tournaments.

NEGM: What are your goals for 2013?
SL: Truthfully, I have not gotten that far yet. I still have work to do this year. But I know I would like to get to the winner’s circle when I have that chance to win, especially in the majors.

NEGM: You must be anticipating your second Solheim Cup next year? Will the US be ready to win?
SL: Yes, I am excited for the Solheim in Colorado, and we have been looking forward to the event since Ireland. I hope we are ready.

NEGM: Who would be in your Dream Foursome of today? Of any time period?
SL: My dream foursome would be my dad and my two college coaches, Shauna Estes-Taylor and Kelley Hester.

NEGM: What advice do you have for young girls who would like to become competitive golfers?
SL: Go to college, work hard, and have fun.

The rest will take care of itself.

Leigh MacKay is a freelance golf writer and a frequent contributor to New England Golf Monthly and Fairways of Life Magazine. Leigh is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, the International Network of Golf.

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Leigh MacKay

Leigh MacKay

Leigh MacKay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. Leigh lives in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where he enjoys the balmy winters and his membership at The Evergreen Club. He summers in Plymouth, Mass, where he enjoys the exquisite seafood and his membership at Southers Marsh GC. After 36 years of teaching English and coaching varsity golf, mostly at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia, writing about golf is the perfect second career.
Leigh MacKay

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