LPGA rookies Emma Talley, Lindsey Weaver show heart in San Francisco

Beth Ann Nichols/Golfweek

LPGA rookies Emma Talley, Lindsey Weaver show heart in San Francisco

LPGA Tour

LPGA rookies Emma Talley, Lindsey Weaver show heart in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO – Emma Talley was dancing from the moment she stepped out of the courtesy car at Fisherman’s Wharf. She pointed to a white-haired grandma kicking up her heels to Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” to the delight of a child and announced, “Y’all, that’s me in about 40 years.” Talley shimmied and shaked her way over toward the street performer to leave a tip. “Thank you, baby,” he crooned.

Emma “Never-Met-A-Stranger” Talley had come to the water’s edge with fellow LPGA rookie Lindsey Weaver on a postcard day in San Francisco. Wearing a cream-colored sweater with a big ole heart, Talley talked to anyone and everyone she came across. It’s an unusual quality in today’s head-buried-in-the-phone society. For Talley, it comes naturally. She even stopped to help a stranger on the street parallel park.

Talley and Weaver, both 24, met as 13-year-olds at the AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic at Reunion Resort near Orlando, Fla. The feisty Weaver and her sister were making fun of Talley’s strong Kentucky accent.

Long-time pals

“I’d never heard anybody talk like her before,” said Weaver.

On a day when plenty of rookies would’ve turned down the LPGA’s request to film a sights and sounds segment for Golf Channel’s Mediheal Championship broadcast in favor of the range, these two couldn’t wait to hit the road. Talley didn’t even have time to scrape the sand off from an early bunker session at lush Lake Merced.

NorCal gal Juli Inkster was pleased to see a couple of rookies taking in the sights rather than beat balls on a Monday.

“You can tell by the way they handle each other that golf is a high priority for them,” said Inkster, “but there’s more to life than golf. And I love to see them out there taking selfies, seeing the city because, you know, 10 years from now, their golf, wherever they’re going to be but they’re going to remember the sights and the city and the experiences they had on the LPGA Tour.”

Talley and Weaver took a more traditional road to the LPGA. They played four years of college golf, earned their cards through the Symetra Tour and are Yelp-ing their way through the LPGA schedule one bakery at a time.

Both place high value on their college experiences. Talley, an NCAA and U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, only competed in two stages of LPGA Q-School as a senior so that she’d have a chance to finish up her senior year at Alabama. Weaver, a Gamma Phi Beta and finance major, posted 16 top-10 finishes in three years at Arizona. (She transferred from Notre Dame after her freshman year.)

Both say they took it for granted how easy, and good, they had it in college. Weaver even appreciated the pack lists coaches supplied.

“I thought I played a lot of golf in college,” said Talley. “No, we did not play that much. Looking back I’m like ‘Wow, that was living. We were living the high life.’ ”

Fresh off a career-best T-5 in Los Angeles, Talley received a text from Alabama assistant athletic director Kevin Almond. But it wasn’t the congratulatory kind.

“His wife made a pie and he knows that I love pie,” said Talley, who particularly enjoys Mrs. Almond’s chocolate chip recipe.

Back on the San Fran tour, Weaver and Talley made their way up to Ghirardelli Square, where Talley and Weaver ordered the Crissy Field, an enormous concoction of Cookies ‘n Cream ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream and Ghiradelli Chocolate Chip Cookie crumbles. After Talley put a fine dent in the sundae, she announced to the group that she’s lactose intolerant and will later pay the price for this indulgence.

“It’s my favorite thing in the world,” she said of ice cream.

Talley pulled up the “Full House” theme song on her phone while she waited for one of San Francisco’s iconic trollies to come available. Weaver noted that her best friend fakes her way through most songs and has a habit of mispronouncing words.

“Right now we’ve really been working on Acai bowls,” said Weaver. “She says ah-see-uh bowls.”

Talley, a woman who never runs out of words, actually went to speech therapy as a child.

“In high school my (golf) lessons were 45 minutes away and me and dad would practice ‘cinnamon’ and ‘certificate’ all the way back and forth,” she said. “’Skull’ and ‘dull’ I still can’t pronounce.”

A deep-South spin on things

Acai, and the other words Weaver tries to help her on though, aren’t physical constraints, they’re Talleyisms. Her deep-South spin on things.

Talley likened each new week on the road to a maze of confusion. On Monday, Weaver had to help her find the locker room. Every day there’s a to-do list that extends far beyond golf. Whether it’s booking travel plans, writing thank-you notes or attending a function.

Weaver relies on her mother, her “momager,” to book most of her travel. Talley’s dad helped her too for a while until they booked two different hotels in the same week and didn’t realize until halfway through their stay.

“In terms of a personal life,” said Weaver, “a social life outside of golf is tough. Maintaining relationships outside of golf is tough.”

Neither has a place of her own to call home. Most of their possessions are in boxes in their parents’ house. Every time they go home, they pick out clothes they’ll rotate through for months at a time.

“I’ve worn this sweater way too many times,” Talley said, tugging at the heart.

The rookies love their new job. Wouldn’t trade it. Talley ranks 40th on the money list; Weaver checks in at 85. They’ll need to finish inside the top 80 by season’s end to keep their full cards for 2019. Weaver, who once shot 59 in a junior event, got off to a slower start on the Symetra Tour, winning the Guardian Championship late in the season to finish seventh on the tour money list and earn her card. She’s hoping to have a similar trajectory this season.

“Every week you learn more about yourself, more about your game,” said Weaver. “It’s all a learning curve.”

 A curve that this week took them down Lombard Street and up Nob Hill, where the view from the top is, as Inkster well knows, unforgettable.

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