WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Paula Creamer and Jiyai Shin sat down in their captain’s chairs on the stage of the media room Sunday evening as darkness fell. They’d just endured an eight-hole playoff at the Kingsmill Championship, and no one walked away a winner.
“I can sleep now,” Shin said as she tilted her head to the side and closed her eyes.
“Why didn’t you do that out there?” Creamer asked with a laugh.
Creamer and Shin traded eight pars on the closing hole, heading back to the tee for a ninth time before deciding it was too dark to play. When Creamer looked down and saw that the white head of her TaylorMade driver shone brighter than her golf ball, she bent down and picked up her ball and tee. This would have to play out in the morning, 9 a.m. to be exact.
“It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t change the pin or do something a little bit different,” Creamer said. “Next year I’m sure, and other tournaments down the road, they’ll probably change the rules about the playoff.”
The man holding the giant check by the 18th green and the woman holding a bouquet of flowers, took them back from whence they came. The three bottles of champagne sat in the tunnel, unopened. Flights to next week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open had to be changed.
When the Kingsmill tournament director told patient fans around the 18th green that he hoped they’d be on the 16th tee Monday morning, one fan yelled “I gotta go to work!” Indeed, it was a shame this gallery watched Creamer and Shin play the River Course for nearly eight hours and no champion was crowned.
As if these two hadn’t waited long enough. Both Creamer and Shin have been winless since 2010. It wasn’t that their play on the 18th hole was particularly poor. Creamer three-putted the last in regulation (that was sloppy), but otherwise these two played rather well to the difficult back hole location. They missed long; they left it short; they missed right; they missed left; they got up-and-down from the bunker; they hit and missed the fairway. But they always made par.
The longest playoff in LPGA history is 10 holes. That marathon happened back in 1972 at the Corpus Christi Civitan Open when Jo Ann Prentice defeated Sandra Palmer and Kathy Whitworth. Creamer and Shin now hold the record for longest two-woman playoff.
“We’re going to have to decide a champion on one hole and we’ve both done so well and we’ve fought so hard,” Creamer said. “But I guess that’s sports.”
Well, maybe not one hole.