Monday

HSBC Match Play - Awesome Ai Miyazato

Yesterday morning in New Rochelle, NY I saw a rock star.

She's not a rock star exactly, but in her native Japan Ai Miyazato is like one. And in this lush green Westchester County suburb, on a pristine July morning, her groupies were there local fan base was there to cheer her on.

To my mind she was the most exciting presence in New Roc yesterday...by far. OK, I'm partial to Rock Stars and I have a well documented Japanobsession. Additionally, most of the big names; the Annikas and Cristies and Lorenas and Paulas, had been eliminated by the unpredictable and engaging format known as match play. The tournament however, was super well organized, and attending it was a real pleasure.

I followed the semifinal match between Ai and Sweden's Maria Hjorth, which the Japanese star won 3-2. At that point it almost seemed that the 22-year-old... a fourteen time champion on the Japanese tour... might be ending her winless LPGA streak, but it was not to be. Later in the day, after I had gone back up to CT for my own (ultra high scoring) round, the final was won by Korean Seon Hwa Lee, and her diligent putter. No doubt Ai was disappointed, but she must have taken some solace in her extraordinary star power, that was so clearly evident on the hilly fairways of Wyakagyl.

And now in accordance with an Ai Miyazato/LPGA drinking game initiated by the gentle folks over at Waggle Room, I'm going to pour myself a gin & tonic. Cheers.