HARRISON, N.Y. - The past few weeks have been frantic for Liz Caron, the new teaching pro at Mill River Club in Oyster Bay. She has been concentrating on the new gig, preparing to play in the inaugural KPMG Women's PGA Championship and caring for her two-year-old daughter. Fortunately for her, she has an understanding head pro: her husband, Jason.
"It hasn't been easy: All smiles on the outside, but inside, there's a little bit of stress. Jason is seeing it build up. He's like, `What's wrong?' But it certainly is an exciting time," she said during a respite in training for the Women's PGA, which begins Thursday at Westchester Country Club.
Just about everyone in the field has spoken of the excitement of having a tournament at a longtime PGA Tour site. "When we're on network TV it needs to look like a big event," Stacy Lewis, one of world's top female golfers, said Wednesday. Cristie Kerr said, "It is such a scenic, beautiful, tough-as-nails golf course that we deserve, as a tour, to be on."
But it is a particular challenge for Caron, who used to play the LPGA Tour and qualified for this event with a high finish in the LPGA's club pro tournament. This is a chance to revisit friends (she had a practice round with Laura Diaz) and revive her game. "Being totally honest, I wouldn't trade my golf swing and my golf game with anyone in the whole world. But the thing that's out of practice is my mind, my confidence," she said. "I lack confidence where people who are playing week in and week out are so mentally tough."
So she paid a visit last week to her Connecticut-based teacher, Dave Pianki, and left with a good feeling about this week. For starters, she liked the idea of spending a full week practicing, which she rarely does. She also is looking forward to having her students at Mill River come to watch.
Members knows the Carons' story: Jason used to play on the PGA and Nationwide Tours. He and Liz met at an art gallery event, not on a golf course, and found they had much in common. They were married in 2011. They worked at separate Westchester courses last year while living in Greenwich. They and their daughter Caroline recently moved to Huntington.
"The membership has really taken us in," Jason said. "They have given Caroline a membership, if you will, to hang out, go to the pool." Liz said, "Caroline is really the head pro."
This week, she is a major championship golfer who knows that it is only for a week. The tour is in the past for both of them. The renovated Mill River pro shop is home. Liz said, "It's an amazing opportunity for the two of us. It's a great fit."