The ANA Inspiration, the LPGA’s first major of the year, wasn’t inspirational at all for Levittown’s Annie Park.
Thursday morning, before the start of the first round at Rancho Mirage, California, she discovered that her car had been broken into in the hotel lot, and that her clubs had been stolen.
Golf clubs are the most personal of all athletic equipment, customized and tuned to players at the highest level of the game. With a makeshift set put together at the last minute she shot 76-78 and missed the cut.
"I couldn't believe it at first, then I kind of had to believe it real quick," Park told the Desert Sun newspaper. "They stole my clubs, bag, balls, glove, hat and sweater. Pretty much everything."
Park used her caddie’s irons, wedges, a putter from the pro shop, a spare hybrid, a 3-wood put together in an equipment trailer and a new driver head on a shaft she had with her. Not the ideal start at the Mission Hills Country Club.
“[My caddie's] shafts are extra stiff so trying to adjust to that was a little bit tough, distance control and trying to figure out what my distances were was the biggest challenge," she said.
The 23-year-old is in her fourth year on the LPGA Tour and won the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Atlantic City last year. As a freshman at USC, she won the NCAA individual title in 2013. The year before, she won the Nassau County boys title while playing for MacArthur High School.