Fore! Seven LPGA players gave up golf for race car driving

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Okay, the first part of the headline was not true. But the second part was…

On Tuesday, May 24, as part of the preliminary activities to the Ladies Professional Golf Association Corning Classic (Corning Country Club, 6,062 yards, par 72, Corning, N.Y.), seven of the ladies entered into the tournament elected to lay down their drivers in order to… drive.

Grip it and rip it: They drive Dodges as well as they drive Pings. Left to right are Maria Hjorth, Charlotta Sorenstam (yep, Anika’s sister), Patricia Baxter-Johnson, Catherine Cartwright, Michelle Simpson, Katherine Hull and Lu Bemvenuti.

At nearby Watkins Glen International, the famous ISC-owned road course race track, Skip Barber Racing conducted a special “clinic” to teach the LPGA-ers the basics of driving a 120-mph Formula Dodge R/T 2000 race car.

Instructed by Divina Galica, Todd Snyder and Don Drislane, the women immediately revealed their natural athleticism: “Yep, you could tell right away they’re professional competitors,” said Drislane. “By the second ‘Intro’ lapping session, they were almost starting to dice with each other!”

The local network affiliates couldn’t resist the draw (pun intended) of the golf pros driving race cars.

Snyder revealed that he had his Dodge Neon pace car going “95 down the front straight, and about a buck-ten on the back straight.”

To a woman, they all had a tremendous time and wanted us to assure them that “you guys would be here again next year!”

We’re planning to…

By the last session, Sorenstam et al. were up into the triple digits…

Rick Roso

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