By Rhonda Glenn, USGA
Sept. 11 Observance Along with the Star-Spangled Banners on the flagsticks at No. 9 and No. 11 and the American flags waving from the carts of USGA officials, players observed Sept. 11 in their own way.
The grouping of Maggie Leef of Brookfield, Wis., Victoria Leptien of Vista, Calif., and Cathy Sarkissian of Chino Hills, Calif., dressed for the occasion. Leef, Leptien and Sarkissian each wore navy blue shorts and bright red shirts in remembrance of the American tragedy that happened 10 years ago today. After holing out on the 18th, they paused to comment.
“I did it for 9/11,” said Leef. “I had to buy a new navy-blue hat for today but I forgot my 9/11 pin.”
“Me too,” said Sarkissian. “That was a tragic day for me, for everyone at work, for everyone.”
“I just did it to be supportive of the observance,” said Leptien.
Seeming somewhat somber on this sparkling bright day, they’re still playing in a national championship so they gathered themselves and went striding to the first tee. It’s their second nine today and the tee is surrounded on three sides by small American flags that flutter gently in the morning breeze.
The Last Stronghold
We probably make five or six moral decisions a day. Do we toss that piece of paper onto the ground or into a trash can? Do we let the old gentleman have that prime parking place? Do we offer to unload the old woman’s groceries? Do we even take the grocery cart back to the store?
Every day, we make these decisions and they’re almost always the right ones. Such decisions would be a little harder in golf were this not one of the last strongholds of courtesy and fairness. Whether a golfer plays with his weekend group or comes to her first national championship, the game demands the best of us. In every way.
Yesterday, Joanne Kitusky of Glen Allen, Va., was playing from a bunker on the front nine. Now, Kitusky is a fine player or she wouldn’t be here. She’s won her club championship nine times and was runner-up in the 2008 Richmond City Championship, but playing in a national championship has a bit more cachet. She went through sectional qualifying to get here and the travel, the hotel and the meals are not inexpensive.
Kitusky would like to score well and make a good showing. So, she was hitting from the bunker when her caddie jumped in her golf cart and drove it a few yards down the fairway. Kitusky hung her head. “That’s it,” she said. “I’m disqualified.” A nearby official hadn’t seen the incident, but Kitusky was ready to ease her way out of the championship because her caddie had broken a rule. The official informed her that, happily, she wasn’t disqualified. It was a two-stroke penalty.
Anne Carr of Renton, Wash., was runner-up in this championship in 2001. During Saturday’s first round of stroke-play qualifying, Carr’s ball lay on the fringe next to the green. Without thinking, Carr bent down and picked up her ball. She called the penalty on herself. One stroke was added to her score.
Kitusky shot an 85; Carr shot 90. Somewhere that matters. But not so much in my book, when integrity and fairness and so much more were on the line.