TRINITY, TEXAS | LPGA star-in-waiting and
Spirit alumnus Lexi Thompson was on hand
early in the week. U.S. team assistant captain
Whispering Pines Golf Club, opened in
2000, is a spectacular layout, lined by towering
east Texas pines and inhabited by a wide array
of wildlife. It was built by Chet Williams of the
Nicklaus design group, and it stretches back
to 7,400 yards. In talking to founder Corby
Robertson, you get the idea that he had more
than a little input into the design; the origi-
nal routing was his. He will tell you that the
course was built specifically to host The Spirit.
It is forgiving off the tee, but has very chal-
lenging green complexes. A solid short game
is necessary to score well.
The Spirit encourages participating federations to send their best players, preferably their
national champion and next best player. But ultimately it is a federation decision, and so China
sent two 12-year-olds, a 13-year-old and an
18-year-old. Not surprisingly, the youngsters
were overmatched by the golf course. Although
they improved each day, they finished last, 67
shots behind Norway.
Robertson hired a consultant during the
formulative period of the tournament to explore
television options. He was told that an amateur
event in November has little TV potential. So
Robertson decided to stream tournament coverage live online, and the result was a surprisingly crisp and clear webcast experience.
After Wednesday’s first round, Canadian
Garrett Rank spent the next several hours in
the Huntsville Memorial Hospital. With a fever
that spiked to 102 degrees, Rank was treated
for a stomach virus and dehydration. He complained of intense pains in his thighs, hips and
stomach. Doctors ran multiple tests, gave him
IV fluids and ordered bed rest. Rank, a 24-year-
old senior at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, was released late Wednesday evening and
finally returned to Camp Olympia at Whispering
Pines Golf Club just before midnight. l
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