CHAMPIONS
What I Learned: 2010 WAPL Champion Emily Tubert April 17, 2011 By Evan Rothman

Emily Tubert won seven holes in a row in the championship match in defeating Lisa McCloskey for the 2010 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links title. (Robert Walker/USGA)

Emily Tubert claimed the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links title last June when she defeated Lisa McCloskey in the 36-hole final at the Warren Course at Notre Dame in Indiana. Freelance writer Evan Rothman talked with the Burbank, Calif., resident and current freshman at the University of Arkansas about what she learned from that victory. 

I learned that I could compete with the top amateurs in the country. I can hang with the big dogs.

I only started playing golf at 13 years old. In my head, I thought everyone else is better because they’ve been playing so much longer. But thanks to great coaching and support, I’ve been able to pick things up pretty quick.

In the finals, the whole concept of the entire grounds crew and volunteers being out there just for me and Lisa McCloskey took awhile to get my head around. I didn’t feel nervous, but I struggled out of the gate and was 2 down after five. Still, I knew it was a marathon.

It was the first tournament my dad ever caddied for me. Walking down the sixth fairway, he said, Emily, you need to breathe. I was out of my element. I tried to lose myself in the game and forget about the title and all that.

I chipped in on the sixth hole, and won seven holes in a row, with five birdies. People talk about being in the zone. I guess I sort of felt that. I’d hardly even realized I’d gone from 2 down to 5 up.

My dad’s job as caddie for the week was to be somebody to talk to, to carry my clubs, and keep them clean. He knows that he doesn’t know too much about the game.

I grew up playing team sports. In basketball, you see the competition—you know what’s going on. That’s not true in a field of 150 players. What I like about match play is that it’s you and one other person. You know what they’re doing. You still have to play your own game, but there’s a little more strategy.

Acceptance is a big thing. Acceptance of where you are in your journey. Starting late, I’ve had to think, This is just where I am today. Accept bad shots. Go find it and hit it again. Everything happens for a reason.