Stacy Lewis is back. Not just for the start of the 2014 season today in the Bahamas, obviously, but back on Twitter. The former World No. 1 took a social break last fall after taking a hit from fans for her comments after a loss to Shanshan Feng in China.
After Lewis completes her first competitive round of 2014, she’ll take to Twitter for her first Q&A, at 3 p.m. today. Fans can send their questions to #heystacy.
“You know, the last few years it’s really been a learning experience, and I needed to kind of evaluate what had happened and how I was going to learn from it and move on, and that’s what I did this offseason,” Lewis said. “So part of that was I needed to get back on Twitter. I needed to get connected with the fans again, and really for the tour, I know I need to be there for that, too.”
It’s a mature decision from the tour’s top American. Lewis took three weeks off during the offseason, forcing herself to take a break after ending the season on such a high note (winning the Vare Trophy for scoring average, at 69.48). She spent time painting a couple of rooms in her south Florida home, relaxed on the beach and went paddle boarding.
Lewis has been itching to get started at the Pure-Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic for several weeks now. Judging by the weather forecast, this year’s event should be nothing like last year’s debacle, when 12 inches of rain fell in an eight-hour period. Lewis and Lincicome spent the early part of last year fishing from the fairways of the Ocean Club Golf Course on Paradise Island. The tournament was shortened to three 12-hole rounds.
Mercifully, this week’s forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-70s and no rain.
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ROOKIE WATCH: Lydia Ko makes her LPGA rookie debut this week in Nassau, and she’s bringing all sorts of changes with her. New equipment (Callaway), new instructors (David Leadbetter and Sean Hogan) and a new caddie (Scott Lubin, who once worked for Jack Nicklaus). Ko, a native South Korean who was raised in New Zealand, likely will find a home in the Orlando, Fla., area but said that decision is ultimately up to her mom.
Ko said her father found Hogan from reading articles about his work with Hee Young Park, a South Korean on the LPGA. Even though she had worked with Guy Wilson since age 6, Ko thought she needed to find someone closer to her American base. She was shocked by the backlash she received back home in New Zealand for dumping her old coach so quickly.
“A lot of people gave me advice, saying this is what happens when you’re up there,” Ko said. “It’s not always going to be good. There is going to be negatives, as well.”
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SHORT SHOTS: A total of 11 rookies will debut this week, including Jaye Marie Green, the LPGA Q-School medalist, and Amy Anderson, the former North Dakota State star and U.S. Girls’ Junior champ. Golf Channel will spotlight Green during its tournament coverage. . . . 2005 U.S. Women’s Open champion Birdie Kim Monday-qualified for this event along with Jenny Suh. Kim won a three-person playoff. . . . Four of the top 10 players in the Rolex Rankings are in the field. World No. 3 Lewis is the highest-ranked player, as No. 1 Inbee Park chose to skip the opening event and No. 2 Suzann Pettersen withdrew with a shoulder injury. . . . Golf Channel will air four days of live coverage starting at 11:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. over the weekend. This marks the first time in 13 years that the LPGA has started its season in January.