USA Curtis Cup captain Noreen Mohler was asked during the post-Match press conference on Sunday if she wanted to guide the Americans again in two years at Nairn.
She never hesitated with her answer. “Yes, absolutely,” said Mohler.
Mohler had just as much fun as the players for the past 14 months since being selected captain in 2009. The USGA still has yet to name a Curtis Cup captain for the 2012 Match.
Mohler has now played on a winning USA side (1978) and captained a winning side.
She was also honored to captain a team in her native state of Massachusetts, where she enjoyed most of her amateur success. She called Essex County Club a “museum,” which having been here for the past five days, it is. This is a true Donald Ross that might be one of the more underrated golf courses in the entire country.
Every hole has character and it’s a wonderful match-play golf course. It’s the ideal site for the intimacy that is the Curtis Cup.
The Closing Ceremony of the Curtis Cup Match is a study of diplomacy, but also a great tribute to the years of friendship between the women amateur golfers of the United States and those of Great Britain and Ireland. The good will in this ceremony, which showed up again and again throughout the week, could serve as an example for relations among nations. In one word, this Match has grace. The Essex County Club was the perfect site. The course was both beautiful and challenging. The members and staff were more than efficient, they were perfect and it was refreshing to be welcomed each day with a smile and a greeting. Tonight the big tent is set up for the Celebration Dinner. Summer pastel flowers, candles. There will be convivial toasts. The USGA Women’s Committee will offer a toast to Her Majesty, the Queen. The Ladies Golf Union will toast the President of the United States. There are some who believe that we live with lower standards of society than we once knew. Such doubters should attend a Curtis Cup match.
The USA claimed its seventh consecutive Curtis Cup Match on Sunday at Essex County Club, securing the final two points it needed early with singles wins by 15-year-old Alexis Thompson and 18-year-old Jennifer Johnson.
The USA came into the final eight singles matches with an 8½-3½ lead over Great Britain and Ireland. So the team needed only 1½ points to retain the Cup and two points to win it outright.
Thompson, who went 4-0-1, defeated Scotland’s Sally Watson, 6 and 5, for the first USA point and Johnson completed a 3-0-1 week with a 5-and-4 win over Rachel Jennings that clinched the Match.
“It’s cool because in all of the team events like [Junior] Ryder Cup, [Junior] Solheim [Cup], I’ve never done that,” said Johnson of getting the clinching point. “My match has always ended after we had already won it. It’s kind of cool it.”
Riding back to the hotel Saturday night in the shuttle, a big bus holding about 60 people. Nearly all of the passengers were British and Irish, just a scattering of Americans. It was a noisy, jovial crowd and within minutes they burst into song. Singing, laughing, waving the GB&I flags. The women first, singing lustily, then the men joined in. It’s a Long Way to Tipperrary, Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag, Sweet Molly Malone, and of course When Irish Eyes are Smiling. A host of Irish supporters, here because of the beloved GB&I captain, Mary McKenna, who is Irish to the bone, and three Irish players. The passengers bellow out the songs, even She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain. I feel as if I’m on a World War II troop ship as we hurtle happily through the night.
Enthusiastic crowd around the first tee. Many British and Irish flags, big flags, billowing in the breeze. The players look young, strong, a bit tense and cold. The mist has receded and the fairways roll out, emerald and smooth, over the elevations. There’s a problem, no official clock, and there’s a scramble to find it just two minutes before the first match. Found. All is well. The first players are announced, Jennifer Song of the USA and Danielle McVeigh of Ireland. McVeigh has the honor. “Play away, please,” that great, timeless phrase that says it all. McVeigh bashes a towering drive down the fairway. The GB&I supporters give a lusty cheer. Song in her bright little red cap takes a few extra waggles, then hits a good one down the middle. A round of applause and off they go, sailing down the fairway in the most colorful match in all of amateur golf. Every two years these great friends and allies tee it up. They won’t be back here for four years. It’s time to soak it up and enjoy the glory of golf. The game is on.
Even with what seems like an insurmountable lead, the USA players aren’t prepared to celebrate just yet. The Americans need just 1½ points to retain the Curtis Cup and two to win it outright in the eight Sunday singles matches. The odds are certainly stacked against a Great Britain and Ireland comeback and it’s likely that Ben Crenshaw couldn’t come up with a speech to overcome a five-point deficit.
If you remember, Crenshaw guided the U.S. Ryder Cup to a stirring come-from-behind win not far from here at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass, 11 years ago.
“We’re going to have no mercy with them,” said Jennifer Song, who owns a 2-1-1 record in the Match. “We just have to play our game.”
Added Stephanie Kono: “I think singles is kind of my strong suit. We’ve all played a lot of match play. [On Sunday] we just have to play each match like it’s the only one we are thinking about.”
USA Captain Noreen Mohler is having the time of her life guiding her young and talented Curtis Cup team this week at Essex County Club. Even with players who could be her grandchildren, the squad is keeping Mohler young.
She’s even enjoying their music. The other day in the team van, Mohler was heard singing the lyrics to OMG’s “Ocean.”
“I was shocked when I heard that,” said Stephanie Kono. “I think she is getting used to us.”
Lovely course, pretty sites, even at the end of a rainy afternoon. The supporters and spectators stream up the hill to the clubhouse in their pork-pie hats and baseball caps and visors. The USA players hoist their Stars ‘n Stripes umbrellas, the GB&I fans wear huge Union Jack banners like capes in the rain. The emerald fairways of this wonderful old course stream off into the mist. It’s the end of a difficult day for GB&I. The team lost all six of today’s points and the close contest of yesterday afternoon has become a wider spread. Eight singles tomorrow. Anything can happen. Rhonda Glenn
One of the less ominous driving holes at Essex County Club is at the par-5 third, which has a generous fairway that narrows as it gets closer to the green. But if might have been the toughest drive that Holly Clyburn of Great Britain & Ireland ever faced.
That's because her opening drive in Saturday afternoon's second foursomes match was cold-topped off the left side of the teeing ground. The ball was struck so poorly that it checked up short of shrubs and bushes just 70 yards out. Partner Hanny Barwood's second wasn't much better as she barely advanced the ball short of the fairway. Eventually the 19-year-old Englishwomen conceded the hole to USA without hitting a putt.
The GB&I duo came back to win the second hole when Jennifer Song and Stephanie Kono made their own sloppy bogey from the fairway. That brought the group to the third hole and the mini-drama of what Clyburn might produce with her tee shot. But she hit a good one, long and straight. So pleased was Barwood that she playfully tweaked Clyburn's bicep after the blow.
The “I” wasn’t always there. In the early days of the Curtis Cup Match, it was simply the United States of America versus Great Britain. That was before Irish stalwart Philomena Garvey was named to the British team. Garvey played in six of seven Curtis Cup matches from 1948 through 1960. In 1958, she finally refused to wear the Union Jack when the Ladies Golf Union didn’t alter the Curtis Cup emblem to include the Irish flag. So Garvey wouldn’t play. In 1960, the Irish flag was included in the LGU emblem. Garvey played. Philomena Garvey, one of Ireland’s greatest players, died in 2009 at the age of 83. She would have been proud to see the Irish flag raised at this year’s opening ceremony when the band played “The Soldier’s Song,” Ireland’s national anthem.
The shuttles from the hotel to Essex County are fun. A very friendly woman is our organizer at the hotel. She rounds up us, makes sure no one is left behind. This morning she passed out copies of the Boston Globe story on the results. Big busses, full of the English, Irish and Scot supporters who are staying at my hotel. It’s a half-hour trip and they chat happily, even happier this morning because of GB&I’s one-point lead. My seat mate this morning was Irish. “We have more Irish come over this year,” she said, “because Mary McKenna (the GB&I captain) is Irish and we have three Irish players on the team” The Irish fans will have a lot to cheer for this morning. Twins Leona and Lisa Macguire are paired together in this morning’s four-ball match against the USA’s Jennifer Song and Cydney Clanton.
A delightful encounter with stalwart GB&I supporter Maureen Garrett at a table in the clubhouse included this exchange with the 1960 GB&I captain: “I’m having a bit of trouble getting around. Hip. So I can’t follow the matches. I can’t walk and I can’t stand. So here I am, sitting for Britain,” she chuckled. “Rather like a hen guarding her eggs.”
We’re about to commence the second day of the 2010 Curtis Cup Match. We have some interesting pairings for the Saturday morning four-ball matches.
For the USA, the “Kiddie Korps” of Alexis Thompson, 15, and Jessica Korda, 17, are once again a team. They earned a half-point on Friday in foursomes, but were broken up for four-balls. They face the formidable team of Danielle McVeigh and Pamela Pretswell. McVeigh, at 22, is the elder stateswoman of the Match and owns a 1-0-1 record.
Great Britain and Ireland Captain Mary McKenna paired up the 15-year-old Irish twins, Leona and Lisa Maguire. They face Jennifer Song and Cydney Clanton.
The third four-ball match has a Hawaiian theme with Stephanie Kono and Kimberly Kim paired against Sally Watson and Rachel Jennings.
GB&I takes a one-point lead into Day 2, but six points are up for grabs today.
I just hope the golf and drama is matched from Friday’s two sessions.
And hopefully we’ll get equally nice weather. So far things look good.
Looks like this Curtis Cup Match – as ESPN football analyst Lee Corso likes to say – is going to be closer than the “experts” think. Great Britain and Ireland has come to Essex County Club to play and holds a first-day lead for the first time since 1996. Incidentally, that’s the last time GB&I won.
The USA’s six-Match win streak could be in jeopardy. But let’s remember, this is a three-day event. There is a lot of golf left, including the eight singles matches on Sunday.
If anything, the golf has proven to be outstanding. Four of the six matches played today came to the 18th hole. That’s what I call exciting. A few putts dropping here or there and the USA could be the team with the one-point lead. That’s how close this competition is.
I was impressed by the GB&I team’s spirit and fight. After all, only Stanford University freshman Sally Watson has competed on a regular basis in the States. We tend to be a little bias because we have seen the American girls play and know how good their games are.
But as we all know, good golf is played everywhere on the planet now.
I, for one, can’t wait to see what Saturday brings.
A week of buildup to the start of the Curtis Cup can be overwhelming for the participants when the time finally arrives to hit some golf shots.
Just ask Jennifer Johnson.
The U.S. Amateur runner-up was charged with hitting the first drive for America Friday in the opening foursomes match.
"There were definitely some nerves there," Johnson said.
Apparently, even more than she wanted to admit. Her partner, U.S. Women's Am champion Jennifer Song, spilled on the truth.
"Actually, I had planned to tee up her ball on the first tee because she was feeling so shaky," Song said with a laugh. "But she ended up doing just fine. And she hit it good, too."
The 2010 USA and GB&I Curtis Cup teams filed by on their way to a rules meeting, wearing their new uniforms for Thursday evening’s Flag Raising Ceremony. They’ve been given several sets of golf clothes, as well as rain suits, umbrellas, golf bags and head-covers. The teams have worn matching uniforms for years but they’re actually relatively new in the 78-year history of the Curtis Cup. The late Polly Riley, a member of six USA teams beginning in 1948, recalled that players once had to supply their own white blazers. Peggy Kirk Bell, a member of the 1950 USA team, said by that year the USGA supplied the white blazer. The USA uniforms began at the 1960 Match at Lindrick G.C. “Great Britain had uniforms so we decided we needed a uniform,” Judy Bell said. Bell and her teammate Barbara McIntire were partners in a clothing business with a supplier in Boston. They practiced that week wearing Bermuda shorts, which caused a stir in the press. For the matches, they called their supplier to send in flannel Bermuda shorts for the team. Half would wear red, half would wear navy blue and they bought Shetland sweaters in the golf shop. Each player paid for her own uniform. The day the shorts were to arrive the weather became cold and windy. When the players unwrapped their uniforms, the supplier had mistakenly sent red and navy blue slacks. It worked out beautifully.
All six players hit fine tee shots this morning in their first Curtis Cup appearance in foursomes matches. Most past players say that they feel jitters unique to hearing their names announced on the first tee as representatives of their country for the first time. Perhaps no one had a worse case of flag fever than Barbara McIntire when she first played in a Curtis Cup Match at Brae Burn in West Newton, Mass., in 1958. “Barbara McIntire, United States of America,” was announced. She took a rip at the ball. “Where did it go?” Ann Casey Johnstone, her foursomes partner, asked. “You don’t want to know,” McIntire said. Up ahead, her teammates looked back and watched the little gallery tramp down the hill, then veer toward the club’s swimming pool, 50 yards to the right of the fairway. “We were playing against Bridget Jackson and Jessie Valentine,” McIntire said. “After we had taken nine shots at the first hole, we conceded their putt for a 3. On the second hole, we made bogey and lost that hole. In those days, however, the matches were 36 holes. We got better. We won quite handily.”
A pleasure to finally encounter Maureen Garrett, the Englishwoman who has had so very much to do with the success of these matches. A team member in 1948 and captain in 1960, she is as formidable as the British lion. Today, she was seated alone in a dining room, waiting for her son, Ted Garrett, to bring around a motorized cart. She is 88 now and enjoyed reminiscing about what gave the special spirit to the Curtis Cup. First, she believes, is the assistance from the Curtis sisters to George Valentine, the fiancé of GB&I player Jessie Anderson, after he was made a prisoner of war in the Second World War. The Curtis’ help came in the form of weekly Red Cross packages, which kept him alive in prison. Anderson and Valentine married, and then sought out Margaret Curtis after the war to personally thank her for her kindness. Another incident was when Garrett prompted Enid Wilson of the GB&I 1932 team to speak to the players at the 50th Curtis Cup Anniversary Dinner. “You have to understand,” Garrett said, “that the Curtis Cup is all about friendship. It’s not about who wins or who hits the good shot. It’s friendship between our countries. That’s what matters, and always will.”
She battled at San Francisco G.C., Royal Lytham and St. Annes, St. Pierre, Denver C.C., Royal St. George’s and Somerset Hills. She fought for the flag at Royal Liverpool, The Honors, Killarney, Minikahda, Ganton and Fox Chapel. No matter the terrain or the strange rolls of unfamiliar greens, if the Curtis Cup Match is not a war, it is at least a friendly but serious rivalry in which every stroke for your country counts. No one knows this better than Carol Semple Thompson of Sewickley, Pa., the 12-time USA Curtis Cup player and two-time captain. Dubbed “Ca-ROLE” by her friends and “CST” by a media seeking to shorten her name, she strolled near the tee as the first foursomes match of the 2010 Curtis Cup was sent off. This time, she was outside the ropes, a rare occurrence since 1974 when she first made the USA team. This morning she watched closely, a small American flag stuck in her visor. “So, how is it, not participating?” a friend asked. “It’s alright,” said CST with a resigned air. “It really is. It’s sort of like when I donated my putter (with which she made the winning putt at Fox Chapel in the 2002 Match) to the USGA Museum. It had its time and now it’s time to go on.” Does she miss playing? “No, but I do miss the interaction with the players, and with the young players on the team when I was captain,” Thompson said. She watched carefully as a ball whistled down the first fairway, then sailed sedately down the rough line, composed, intense, the air of a champion still apparent.
A quick update from the golf course. Jessica Korda and Alexis Thompson, the youngest players on the USA team, own a 1-up lead over Great Britain and Ireland’s Holly Clyburn and Hannah Barlow through nine holes of their foursome match. Korda and Thompson are enjoying a huge advantage off the tee, but an overly aggressive approach from Thompson cost them a hole. Korda’s chip from rough behind the green skidded 20 feet beyond the flagstick, where Thompson failed to convert the putt.
The two took a 2-up lead with a par at No. 3 and a 15-foot birdie by Korda at the fifth. Clyburn holed a clutch 9-foot par putt at the sixth hole to earn a critical halve.
In what looks to be a glorious day for golf – sunny skies and temperatures in the upper-60s – the 2010 Curtis Cup Match officially got underway Friday morning at Essex County Club with three foursomes (alternate shot) matches.
Rachel Jennings of Great Britain and Ireland struck the first tee shot at 9 a.m. and ripped a drive into the left portion of the first fairway. She is paired with Sally Watson, who just completed her freshman season at Stanford University.
Jennifer Johnson of La Quinta, Calif., followed with an equally impressive drive. Johnson, who just finished her freshman year at Arizona State University, is paired with reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion Jennifer Song of Ann Arbor, Mich. Song finished her sophomore season at the University of Southern California and is competing in her final amateur competition. She will turn pro after the Match.
I’ve always thought the flag-raising ceremony to be the most stirring of all Curtis Cup celebrations, with the past players and then the current teams walking in, single file, to be greeted by the applause of an appreciative audience. It rained tonight. Drizzled when the music of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra Musicians began, and turned in to a steady downpour as Glover’s Marblehead Regiment fired their salute and the fife and drum corps marked the Revolution.
It failed to dampen spirits. One special touch was Joan Kulukundis and Sheila Hill, dressed as Harriot and Margaret Curtis, leading the parade of players. So perfect for this special place, the home club of the sisters who started this match. “Harriot” and “Margaret” carried in the Curtis Cup. How great that was.
Stirring speeches and the raising of the flag, perfect. I stood behind the rows of chairs holding past players. How devoted they are to this meeting, many coming from Great Britain and Ireland to support their colors. Maureen Garrett, a member of the 1948 GB&I team, a former captain, former president of the LGU, was driven to the scene in a motorized golf cart where she sat watching intently as the Stars ‘n Stripes, the Union Jack and the Flag of Ireland rose skyward in the rain as the national anthems were played.
Two-time USA player (1060, ’62) and twice captain (1986, ’88), Judy Bell, was assigned to look after Harriot Curtis at the 1970 match at Brae Burn C.C. Several people, including Bell and Curtis, were to stand at a clubhouse window and watch the players tee off on the first hole. Harriot suddenly disappeared and Bell then saw her below, heading down the 18th hole. “Oh no, no, Miss Curtis, the match is going down the first,” Judy said. “Oh, no,” Harriot said. “I want to see the 17th, where I beat Margaret.” Harriot was heading to the green where she had closed out her sister Margaret, 2 and 1, to win the 1906 U.S. Women’s Amateur.
-- Rhonda Glenn
Maureen Garrett, former GB&I captain (1960) and player (1948), told of a time when Margaret and Harriot Curtis, who donated the Revere bowl that is given to the winning team, were thinking of changing the Cup. Garrett was asked by Mildred Prunaret, former USA captain and a member of the USGA Women’s Committee, to meet with Margaret and Harriot about the issue. The four met for lunch at the Curtis house on Nob Hill, Boston. “I had never seen anybody smoke a clay pipe before, but Margaret smoked hers after lunch,” Garrett said. “And she had her dogs roll over and ‘play dead’ for me. During the course of lunch, Mildred Prunaret and I said in so many ways, ‘Please, please do not change that bowl.’ It is so beautiful, we told them, and it had the special meaning about ‘the British are coming.’ So they said they wouldn’t. As we left, Margaret turned to me and said, ‘Do you play golf?’ And she put a ball in my hand. It was just lovely. I put it in my handbag. And when I got back, I looked at it, and it was full of terrific cuts. Apparently, she had found these balls with her dog on the course. And I thought, ‘Margaret knows what state my golf is in, giving me a cut ball.’ "
-- Rhonda Glenn
Peggy Kirk Bell, famed instructor and a member of the 1950 USA Curtis Cup team, said making the team was her goal in golf as an amateur. “That’s what I want to do – represent my country,” Bell said several years ago in an interview with the USGA. “If I could make that team, I thought that was like being in the Olympics…I can remember finding out about it. They would call you and announce it. I ordered room service that day. We were playing in a tournament in Florida, and I ordered tea. I said, ‘I’ve got to get used to having tea if we’re going to England.’ Making the team, it was a goal accomplished…That was the biggest thrill, really. Then it came out in the paper, and you got a letter from the USGA at the same time. I still have that letter. That was really a thrill.” Bell also played with the 1990 USA Curtis Cup team in a practice session in Florida a few months before the match. “I told them they were going to win,” Bell said. “They’d have a putt (of) about a foot and I’d say, ‘Putt it out. You don’t think they’re going to give you that, do you? They’ll be tough.’ And, you know, it was a closer match than the score, 14 to 4, indicated.”
The late Enid Wilson, noted British golf journalist and a member of the first GB&I Curtis Cup team in 1932, once related this story: Nancy, Viscountess Astor, though American-born, was president of the Ladies Golf Union in 1952 and chaired the Annual General Meeting in London. There was a motion wishing Lady Katherine Cairns, GB&I Curtis Cup captain, and her players the best of luck in the upcoming match at Muirfield. Lady Katherine responded to the good wishes, “We shall do our damndest.” Everyone chuckled at the effect this had on Lady Astor, who pantomimed being shocked. Four months later, on the evening of the day when the GB&I had won the Curtis Cup for the first time, a wire was sent by Lady Katherine to Lady Astor. The brief message said, “We have done our damndest.” Later that evening, a telegram from Lady Astor was read to the assembled players at the Celebration Dinner. “Deplore your language. Glory in your victory,” it read.
The Essex County Club is the home club of sisters Margaret and Harriot Curtis, who founded this match and donated the cup. The historic atmosphere at this venerable old club is not lost on Barbara McIntire, the two-time USA captain and six-time player. “There is nothing but history at Essex, and also at Myopia Hunt Club, where the Supporters Saucer was played yesterday,” McIntire said. “I actually played with Margaret here in 1960. We played with Mildred Prunaret, our 1960 USA captain, and Judy Bell, my business partner and a member of that team. I lost a ball that day. Margaret went out and found it after we played. She called Prunes and said, ‘I found the ball.’ “ In her later years, Margaret had a curious habit of looking for lost balls by lying in the rough and rolling over and over to find them. But she found hundreds, donating them to charity.
-- Rhonda Glenn
A sense of gloom has settled over past Curtis Cup players because Judy Bell, the two-time USA Captain who played on the American side in 1960 and ’62, is not here. It’s a rare absence for Bell, who has long been one of the Curtis Cup’s strongest advocates. Bell’s health issues and a lack of mobility forced her doctors to declare she could not travel to this gathering and Bell is greatly disappointed, to say the least. Her vivacious manner, dedication to the Cup and commanding presence are greatly missed here and a subject of much discussion among her multitude of pals. She will be notably absent at the two most moving ceremonies, tonight’s flag-raising and Sunday’s celebration dinner. Neither will she be taking her usual place among the rules officials.
One of the finest Curtis Cup traditions is the cast of past players who come to each match. For them, this is a reunion of sorts. We’re privileged to again have Maureen Garrett, a member of the 1948 GB&I team, on the site. Garrett, who won the USGA’s Bob Jones Award for distinguished sportsmanship, is a great raconteur with a voluminous memory bank of Curtis Cup anecdotes. She seldom misses this Curtis Cup reunion, travelling from her home in Poole, England. Bridget Jackson, a member of the 1958, ’64 and ’68 GB&I teams, is also here. She was honored by Queen Elizabeth with the MBE, Member of the British Empire. On the American side we have three members of the 1958 team on hand, six-time Curtis Cup player Barbara McIntire, three-time USA player Ann Casey Johnstone and Meriam Bailey Leeke.
Written by Rhonda Glenn
A steady drizzle greeted both teams for Thursday’s final practice round before the 2010 Curtis Cup Match commences on Friday. Despite the inclement weather, both teams got out onto the golf course. In fact, the Great Britain and Ireland squad probably felt like they were back home. Fifteen-year-old twins Lisa and Leona Maguire said this is a typical day in Ireland.
Hopefully, the weather will clear up in time for the flag raising opening ceremony tonight. The opening ceremony for a Curtis Cup is very special and emotional. Pairings for the first session of foursomes also will be announced by the captains.
The good thing is Friday’s forecast is calling for sunny skies. The weekend also is looking OK, but there might be a pop-up thunderstorm each day.
Before embarking on a Wednesday afternoon practice round at Essex County Club, members of the USA Curtis Cup Team spent a few minutes decorating the team van and golf carts used by Captain Noreen Mohler and the USGA’s Donna Mummert, the team manager.
Jessica Korda, Tiffany Lua, Stephanie Kono and Jennifer Song painted “Go USA” and USA All The Way” using red, white and blue markers. In keeping with the patriotic theme, the artwork also included red, white and blue stars, and an American flag.
“Ðo they do this at the Walker Cup?” quipped Mohler, a Woburn, Mass., native who is enjoying a homecoming this week in the Boston area. “We’re having way too much fun.”
Korda and Lua provided most of the artwork. The cart decorations included red, white and blue streamers and American flags.
The Great Britain and Ireland team cart also featured the Union Jack and the Irish flag.
Team USA got away from the golf course on Wednesday morning, taking a duck tour on the Charles River.
Both teams are going through their final preparations for the three-day Match that begins on Friday morning.
While it wasn’t a Ubaldo Jimenez or Stephen Strasburg fastball in terms of velocity, the ceremonial pitch Noreen Mohler fired at Fenway Park prior to the May 27 Boston Red Sox/Kansas City Royals found the target.
“I didn’t bounce it into the ground and it went right into the glove with a little pop to it,” said the 2010 USA Curtis Cup captain.
Mohler laughed when asked if she hit 85 mph on the radar gun. The important thing is she won’t end up on any blooper video. Mohler spent a few days practicing the toss with husband, Jeff, to ensure that the ball would find its intended target.
The opportunity to throw out a ceremonial first pitch came from Curtis Cup General Chairman Bill Van Faasen. Mohler grew up in the Boston suburb of Woburn and the 2010 Match is being contested at Essex County Club in Manchester-by-the-Sea June 11-13.
Unfortunately, Mohler was unable to have Boston catcher and captain Jason Varitek receive the pitch. Players don’t take part in the ceremony, so Mohler threw to one of the team’s ambassadors.
“I got to see [the players],” said Mohler, adding that she didn’t get to meet them. “I was about 15 feet from them. But they don’t let you near them.”
Mohler and her family spent the game – a 4-3 Royals victory – as guests of Van Faasen in his company’s box, where they enjoyed all the fixings expected of a suite. “The bar doesn’t close in the seventh inning like it does [in the regular part of the park],” said Mohler.
The game concluded a wonderful five days in Boston for Mohler, where seven of the eight team members – Jennifer Song had a prior commitment in Korea – took part in an informal practice session at Essex County Club. It was a chance for players to bond and for Mohler to try various combinations for foursomes (alternate shot).
“They are all horses, so they are all ready to run,” said Mohler. “Getting the chance to play with them, they are just so good. And they are wonderful ladies. There are no attitudes on that team.”
The team officially arrives for the 2010 Match on June 6 and the opening ceremonies are June 10.