The Sports Center

Clayton: Now time for the girls

Minjee Lee
Andrew Tschudin (caddie for Minjee), Minjee Lee, Brad James (GA high performance director) and Mike Clayton (caddie for Su).

Very weirdly I’m staying in the Olympic Village this week as a caddy for Su Oh who, with Minjee Lee, represent us in the Women’s event starting on Wednesday.

The village is a mass of apartment blocks they presumably try to sell off after we all go and the food hall is so big even Bubba Watson couldn’t reach one end from one end to the other with a driver. Watson and Rickie Fowler are staying in the village this week and at dinner last night hundreds of athletes from all over walked past their table with not a hint any of them recognized the famous golfers.

Successful golfers are particularly unused to the relatively spartan accommodations this week but to stay away in a flash place seems to miss much of the point to being here. I hardly recognize anyone but presume in their own sports and their own countries they are all pretty famous or, at the very least, awfully good at something.

I’m not sure how anyone in an Australian uniform could be more underserving but that’s the way it is this week and the caddies look around and realize amidst a see of pretty talented people they are right at the bottom of the totem pole.

Almost all the caddies are staying in the village and reveling in the chance to go and watch a whole lot of events they would never otherwise see. In two nights we saw Michael Phelps win and then lose and the latter may have been the more historic. Certainly it was the more unusual. Either way it was like watching Tiger Woods or Roger Federer at the peak of their games.

The golf so far has been better than anyone but the most optimistic expected. Congratulations to Justin Rose, a deserved winner, but it’s hard to be here and think those who passed up the chance they made a good choice. I haven’t seen a mosquito, the course is brilliant and being in the village feels like being the safest place in the world. The men’s field will be better in Tokyo and resemble the women’s this week where no one who mattered passed on the opportunity to play.

I last saw Su play in Chicago a few weeks ago when she played a team event with Karrie Webb, Minjee and Bec Artis. On the first day she was out with Karrie in a fourball match and was four over after sixteen holes when they lost to the Taiwanese. Her golf that day was awful and even though it was much improved the following two days it wasn’t as good as it had been when she played well enough to knock Karrie out of the Olympic team.

A couple of little things in her swing look better to me than they did in Chicago so we will see what happens.

The course is so Melbourne and it’s exactly the golf she grew up playing and it’s a form of gole which takes some understanding especially for the women used to playing the mostly interest free courses of the LPGA Tour. In theory it will help Su and its certainly done Marcus Fraser no harm this week.

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