My Shot: Stacy Lewis
Who Says Stacy's Shy?
The LPGA star weighs in on cellphones, 'temper freebies,' Rwanda, Lance Armstrong, perfect shots and regrowing a rib. Oh, and why you might have never heard of her if she'd had a healthy back
I LIKE SIGNING autographs, even the stuff that I know will wind up on eBay. I've signed some strange things. In Asia, fans love having their cellphones and iPads signed, which is bizarre. Americans are more conventional, though I signed a kid's face with a Sharpie once--after his mom granted permission. Autographs are a strange concept, though. After you get someone's signature, what do you do with it? Put it on your wall? I don't think so. I have a feeling that most autographs pretty quickly wind up in a box, which eventually moves to the garage. From there it goes to the curb.
IN KOREA, cellphones go off constantly, which is much better than a single camera going off on your downswing. It's impossible to have complete silence because cellphone cameras over there are required by law to make a noise when you press the shutter button. They did it to stop people from taking pictures up women's skirts in public. Good law.
WHEN I WAS in high school, my mom, two sisters and I signed up for the National Charity League. There were a certain number of hours moms and daughters had to put in. We made quilts for people in nursing homes and played bingo with the residents. We did some nice things for poor kids in the area. When you do things for others, the feeling stays with you. It becomes a habit. When I started having success as a pro and had some money, I felt I had to do something. I've given $100,000 to Arkansas, my alma mater. When I won the LPGA Founders Cup in March [to become No. 1 in the world], I donated $50,000 to junior golf. I've gone to Africa on a humanitarian mission. I'm not bragging this stuff up. I'm saying, try it. It'll do as much for you as the people you're helping.
I CAN AFFORD NICE THINGS but can't make myself get stuff I don't need. My friends tease me for being cheap. They point out I still drive the car I paid cash for in 2008. They tease me for not having Internet at my house and refusing to splurge on a good DirecTV package. But I'm not cheap. I'm very good at throwing out old clothes.
I GREW UP in The Woodlands, a city north of Houston that more or less was created around golf. Growing up there, golf was cool, maybe even cooler than it is now. In high school, there were more than 30 girls on our team. We had varsity and junior-varsity teams, and A, B and C teams after that. Our varsity team at The Woodlands High School was better than one of the teams I played on at the University of Arkansas, and that Arkansas team was no slouch. The Woodlands won four state championships, and six of the girls who played for us went on to play Division I golf.
I'M A BELIEVER in "temper freebies." On the last hole of a college tournament, I made triple bogey and had a little meltdown. Slammed my putter on the ground and bent it. It wasn't the first outburst for me; my mom had threatened to pull me off the course a couple of times during junior golf. Anyway, our coach at Arkansas [Kelley Hester] said, "I'm not benching you. You get one freebie." I said, "One freebie a year?" She said, "No, for your career." I kept it under wraps after that.
WHEN BETSY KING and I went to Rwanda in 2011, we spent our first night at the nicest hotel in Kigali, the capital. When we left to visit with some people and reached the outskirts of town, I saw from our car a little boy walking alongside the road. He was 3 or 4 years old and very thin. On his head he was carrying a huge bucket of water that had to weigh more than he did. He was hauling the water to his family. Betsy had warned me I'd see some tough things, but the sight of that boy was a wake-up call. As the trip progressed, I saw crushing poverty everywhere we went. But what blew me away was the happiness among the people. The contentment, and the sense of gratitude they carry for what they have, is remarkable. It's hard to describe how hard they work to survive. I came back to America with a different view of my next golf shot, travel problems and that car I supposedly was cheap about.