Erica Popson was not on my Curtis Cup radar. Why? Because she hasn’t played in a USGA event since the 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior.
“I thought there was no way I was going to get picked because of that,” Popson said.
Luckily for Popson, the USGA’s International Selection Committee didn’t hold that against her. She became the first player from the University of Tennessee to be named to a Curtis Cup team on the strength of an outstanding college resume. She won four times last season, including the SEC Championship and NCAA West Regional titles. She’s currently No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. The trip to Scotland in June will be her first time outside the country.
So why the slim summer schedule?
Popson injured the thumb on her left hand two and a half years ago and realized quickly that she needed the time off in the summer to give it some rest. Doctors thought it was tendonitis or a joint problem that she’d have to learn to live with. Last fall, however, the pain grew worse and she found it difficult to perform basic daily functions like put on deodorant or button a shirt, let alone grip a golf club. She sought a second opinion and wound up having surgery in November after the fall season.
Popson is happy to report that she’s now pain-free and back to hitting full shots. The injury gave her plenty of time to work on her short game, which ultimately helped her become a stronger college player. Now she’ll have the chance to match that effort on the range and see where it takes her.
“Now that it’s fixed, I can do whatever I want,” said Popson.
Like travel overseas.