Sharp: FAQs ahead of LPGA Championship

With three major tournaments in the next four weeks, Alena Sharp of Hamilton asseses her game ahead of the LPGA Championship and answers a couple of frequently asked questions.

Three of the next four tournaments on the LPGA schedule are majors.

To say the least, if you are on with your game in the next month, it can make or break your year. I am feeling very good about my game heading into this week's Wegman's LPGA Championship in Rochester, N.Y. I love this event and have had success in the past on the course. Locust Hill is definitely one of the tighter courses on tour with very small, fast greens.

I enjoyed my week off last week at home in sizzling Arizona. It was nice to sleep in my own bed and get some yard work done. I also got to catch up with some friends that I hadn't seen in a while.

Oh, and how about those Vancouver Canucks?

I was quite shocked that they played so poorly in Games 6 and 7. It was definitely a heartbreaker. Hopefully, they will get over it and play well again next year.

Normally, things happening in Canada don't make the news in the United States — but the hockey riot did. I couldn't believe it when I saw it. One thing I didn't know until I returned home to Hamilton was that over 12,000 people volunteered their time to help clean up the mess. That's typical of news coverage, though: report the negative and never the positive. I'm proud of the people in Vancouver who came out to clean up.

A common question I get asked is, "How much does it cost per week and for the year to play golf for a living?"

There's no salary being made week to week like in other sports such as hockey, baseball, football and basketball. You have to play well to earn your living — and the competition gets stronger each year. Some players, like myself, are lucky because we have sponsors. Having sponsors definitely helps pay for a lot of the expenses incurred. During a typical week, I will spend about $2,500-3000 on airline tickets, rental cars, hotels and caddie's wages.

Obviously, missing the cut hurts because I have to cover all these expenses with no tournament earnings coming into my bank account for that particular week. I like to play in Monday pro-ams, as I get paid to play in these and it helps cover some of the expenses for the week. It is especially advantageous if it is held on the tournament course.

Another question I get asked frequently is, "What does my typical week look like?"

Normally, we play four-day tournaments that start Thursday; some tour events are only three days and start Friday. Typically, I fly in Monday — a travel day with no practice or play. Tuesday is the official practice round and I will almost always play 18 holes to get a good feel for the course. The pro-am usually takes place Wednesday and goes all day so that means no practice rounds unless you want to tee off before the pro-am, which normally starts at 7 a.m.

I'm not a fan of what we call an E-9 (an emergency nine holes before the pro-am); I like to get my practice in prior to Wednesday. 

We tee off for real Thursday, then the cut is made to 70 and ties following Friday's round. The weekends are nice because half the field is gone and we often play in pairs, which I love because the pace of play is always much better than in threesomes.

Please feel free to leave a comment or a question. I will be happy to answer your questions.