Peggy Kirk was an aspiring young golfer at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., in the early 1940s. She looked up to the talents of established players like Estelle Lawson Page, Glenna Collett and Maureen Orcutt and followed the amateur golf news in the local papers.
One spring a notice about the Women’s North and South Amateur caught her eye.
“I loved golf and I’d heard that Pinehurst was the golf capital of the world,” she says. “I said, ‘Gosh, I need to go play in that tournament.’”
“I loved golf and I’d heard that Pinehurst was the golf capital of the world.” -Peggy Kirk Bell
So she packed a bag and grabbed her golf clubs and set off northward in her ’41 Packard convertible. Miss Kirk arrived in Pinehurst without mishap, found the country club and presented herself at the tournament desk in the clubhouse.
How great is Ko’s laugh? Even better, how great is her ability to laugh at herself and not feel embarrassed over not knowing what to call the wire grass? (For the record, Hunter Mahan didn’t know what to call it, either.) If you’re not immediately a fan of Ko after these 15 seconds, you may never be.
But she is still 17, and in the clip above, she’s sure enough of herself to show it. She’s looking for autographs, just like any other kid. (Her access, though, will be much, MUCH better than most autograph hounds.)
What’s great to see and hear is how Ko can navigate from elite major championship contender to a regular teenager in the matter of a single sentence or thought.
For example, a few seconds before this clip, she spoke about the back-to-back U.S. Opens at Pinehurst, and the chance she’ll get to watch the men play first and scout a little. “I’ll be able to see, ‘Oh, maybe I shouldn’t end up there or I should go there.” Veteran savvy, there.
But a few seconds before that, she tells us, “I’ve actually never watched a men’s (pro) tour event before…and actually be on the other side of the ropes.”
Honest, forthcoming, sincere, confident and yet humble.
Barely 40 days before the U.S. Women’s Open, Ko spent three days and three rounds of golf on Pinehurst No. 2 to prepare for her third Open appearance – and first as a significant favorite. She chats about No. 2′s famed turtleback greens, and the prospect of attending a men’s professional tournament for the first time – the weekend of the U.S. Open Championship, one week before the Women’s Open.
“Hopefully I’ll get some autographs,” she says, earnestly.
As you can see in the Instagram video above,Phil Mickelson,Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson tried something a little different on the famed 17th hole during their practice round at The Players PLAYERS Championship.
The video unfortunately doesn’t show the end result – Lefty Righty and Johnson are said to have missed the green.