On the Road with Gary: at the LPGA’s First Major

This is my second week out on the road on the LPGA Tour. Last week at the Kia Classic I was out supporting my players in their first tournament back in the US.

This week, I’m at the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., site of the first major of the year.

When I got here, the first thing I noticed were all the new golf bags with various logos embroidered on them. Sponsorships play a huge role in giving the players the financial support and image that is needed to sustain their lifestyle on tour after all.

The goal this week is to make sure all of my players are comfortable and optimistic in their game, though every player is so different in the way they prepare.

Keeping in mind, I also had a few players who needed to play well just to qualify for the Nabisco Championship. Reilley Rankin played her way into this week, which was a real confidence builder. That’s why every player has a story to tell. It’s all about building blocks of success, which builds the player’s self-image and confidence.

This week at the first major, it will take the ultimate mental toughness to win. Most girls will be preparing to play, while only a few will prepare to win and make the big dive into the water at No. 18.

That’s why I came to this event, making sure that the mental preparation is there and that there are no excuses. Having a clear game plan will help the player handle every situation.

Yesterday, I first spent time on the course with Morgan Pressel, Shan Shan Feng and defending champion Yani Tseng. The next two days, all the players will be participating in the pro-am. The excitement today is headed with celebrities who come to support the event, Ray Remano and George Lopez to name a few. But keeping in mind, this all plays into the mental game.

The golf course is set up really well his year. The course is playing fairly long and the rough is long and thick. To advance the ball, I’d expect the longest club most players could take would be a 7-iron.

The greens are hard and will gradually get faster. They are so good many of the girls will putt well. To win this week though, the winner will really have to have a great week driving the ball.

This is one of my favorite weeks though, great weather, great golf and a chance to win another major. I’m looking forward to it.