Monday

Erica Blasberg Lived Her Dream, Died Too Young


Erica Blasberg was talented and beautiful.

She'd had a stellar college golf career, and at just twenty-five had been living her childhood dream of playing on the LPGA Tour. Erica was one of the photogenic faces of PUMA Golf and as such always wore awesome golf outfits.

It seems implausible that this girl, with so much going for her, should die so young.

I met Erica just once, briefly, at Cristie Kerr's Birdies for Breast Cancer charity event last summer. It was a hot, humid New York City evening and I was spending a disproportionate amount of time in the ladies room on hair repair. (humidity is my hair's enemy)

When Erica breezed in I recognized her immediately... and I was quite surprised that she recognized me. She told me she read Golf Girl's Diary often, and had seen the post I'd done on the PUMA Open. I asked her about making the PUMA comercial with Johnny Damon. All told, I spent less than five minutes talking to her, but it was memorable, because she was disarmingly nice.

Erica clearly loved golf, but there's little doubt that she struggled... like many do... with the pressures of what is an extraordinarily difficult lifestyle.

Having gotten to know a number of LPGA players, and observed many elements of day-to-day life on tour, I really admire their dedication and talent, and always enjoy watching them play. However, I sometimes find myself "on the fence" about encouraging young girls to strive for a career as a golf touring pro... because the lifestyle is so much more challenging... and in many cases much less lucrative... than it appears on the surface. Some women... champions and journeywomen alike... handle it very well, but many struggle with it, and some are actually damaged by it.

At this point the cause of Erica’s death has not been confirmed. However, it definitely made me reflect, and I hope it will heighten awareness and encourage all fans to be supportive... in any way they can... of the ladies playing professional golf, because with the exception of a select small minority, what these women are doing is a labor of love and requires significant sacrifice.

My deepest sympathies go to Erica's friends and family, she'll be much missed.
golf writer Patricia Hannigan speaks about Erica Blasberg