Cristie's pre-round routine
OAKMONT, Pa. -- Welcome to another installment of "pre-round routine," where I stalk top-ranked players and analyze how they prepare for a Championship round. My focus this morning was Cristie Kerr, the world's No. 1 player who's fresh off a 12-shot victory at the LPGA Championship.
With a 7:44 tee time, here's how she kicked off her day:
6:43: Arrives with her coach at the practice putting green, while finishing breakfast.
6:45: Grabs three balls, a wedge and a chalk line and finds a straight six-foot putt. Chalks the line and places her wedge down on the toe side of her putter. (So now she essentially has two alignment aids: the chalk line and her wedge.) After putting two balls, she sticks two tees, as wide as a golf ball, about eight inches in front of her ball to act like a tunnel. Over some of her putts, her instructor places the grip end of a club by the left side of her head.
6:50: Lifts her wedge and removes the two tees, and places one tee about 10 feet from another hole. Putts to the hole with three balls about six times, then moves to the opposite side of the hole, also 10 feet away, and putts about 10 times. She then moves the tee about eight feet farther from the hole, so now she's practicing an 18-foot putt. She moves the tee farther again, a practices a 30-foot lag.
6:58: Structure loosens up a bit. She uses two balls to putt around the green (the holes she putts to are about 25 feet away).
7:03: Sticks her putter in bag and grabs a couple wedges on her way to the short-game practice area, located right next to the diving range.
7:07__: Arrives at the short-game area and hits four balls from the greenside bunker with two wedges. She then chips and pitches.
7:10: Heads to driving range. Her caddie puts a white stick on the grass to act as an alignment aid. She hits one half-wedge shot, then makes about ten continuous swings without a ball to loosen up.
7:13: Lines up to a target using that alignment aid and hits her first full shot. Starts with a wedge, then moves to a high-lofted iron.
7:21: Grabs a hybrid after working through her irons. She hits just two shots with it before taking out a fairway wood. All the while, she's visibly working on the first few inches of her takeaway.
7:24: Grabs her driver, puts the alignment aid aside and hit two drives (just two!) to various targets.
7:26: Hits five wedge shots to various targets.
7:29: Leaves the driving range and hails a shuttle to the practice green.
7:36: Gets to practice green and putts to two holes with two balls (she ended by practicing two 8-foot putts).
7:37: Sticks her putter in bag and heads to the tenth tee.
Note to self: these women don't hit a ton of driver before their rounds.