LPGA’s Big Sister Program Is Brilliant Idea

The LPGA has revived a program that pairs tour rookies with an older player who is charged with showing them the ropes.

It reminds me of a program at many high schools where freshmen are paired with a senior to make their own transition easier.

Under the program, Moran Pressel has been paired with Julie Inkster; Paula Creamer with Lorie Kane; and Ai Miyazato with veteran Jean Bartholomew.

The first two pairings make sense, but Miyazato-Bartholomew? Miyazato doesn’t even speak English.

But the pairing works because Bartholomew, a Queens native, spent several years on the Asian tours and speaks fluent Japanese.

“She always says hi to me and she’s always looking out for me,” Miyazato said, with help. “It’s kind of helpful to have someone that can speak Japanese who’s an American.”

First-year LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens says that’s the point: to provide young players a guide to the little things that come with being a pro.

“How do you deal with the media? How do you organize a schedule? One day, all they have to worry about is practice and getting to the tournament,” Bivens said. “The next day, they’re booking hotel reservations and they’ve got a caddie to hire. What kind of contract do you do with a caddie?”

The matches are organized by Hilary Lunke, a member of the players’ Executive Committee and co-chair of the Big Sisters program. Lunke, who has a sociology degree was the one who insisted on reviving the program.

It’s a brilliant idea.

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