Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tina Miller

tina miller picturesLet's wish a happy birthday today to our friend Tina Miller, OK? OK, all together now: Happy Birthday, Tina!

You can catch Tina weekly in primetime this spring on the Golf Channel; she's one of the cast members of "Big Break Kaanapali." On the course, look for Tina to check out the Victory Golf Tour, a fledgling tour hosting its first eight tournaments in 2008.

The Victory Golf Tour boasts tournament purses of $100,000 - higher than many Futures Tour purses - and has big expansion plans over the next several years. Let's wish them much success, because professional women golfers certainly need more and better opportunities to chase their dreams - not to mention paychecks.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Nikki Garrett

nikki garrett pictures

The image above comes from an article in the Australian Daily Telegraph headlined, "Beach life suits Nikki Garrett to a tee."

The golf life suits her pretty well these days, too. Nikki is coming off a breakout season in 2007, one in which she posted back-to-back wins on the Ladies European Tour. She began her 2008 campaign representing Australian at the Women's World Cup, and plays the next two weeks in the Australian Women's Open and ANZ Ladies Masters, respectively.

More Nikki Garrett pictures (including the famous Australian Ladies calendar shot)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Paula Creamer: Gotta Wear Shades

paula creamer pictures

Paula Creamer's 2008 line of signature sunglasses is ready from Sundog Eyewear. The 2008 models go by the names of Strive, Impression and Prowl.

The Sundog Web site says:

As with our first Collection this years styles have been named after aspects of Paula's persona: STRIVE is reflection of Paula's sport-sense and the way she strives to win on the course; IMPRESSION is definitely something that Paula makes on people and like the sunglass named after her, the impression is fantastic; PROWL is a style that captures the essence of Paula's confidence, playful boldness, and elegant sophistication. Thanks again Paula, it has been honor to work with you on this year's collection.


paula creamer pictures

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cortney Reno

cortney reno pictures

Cortney Reno is a Michigander, Dearborn born, Grosselle bred, the state golf champ in 1997, and matriculated through the University of Michigan. She called her college days at Big Blue "a great learning experience - being involved in Michigan athletics makes you want to be a better athlete."

She was a pretty good athlete in college - one tournament victory and 12 Top 10s. Cortney turned pro after graduating from Michigan in 2002, and in 2003 embarked on her tour career. And it's been a steady march forward for Reno. In fact, she says:

"My biggest accomplishment, besides winning tournaments or player of the year, is improving every year since my rookie year. Playing professionally is something I've always wanted to do and it was a big transition from college. Since then, I have improved every year and I still love it, and especially love the challenge it brings. I love being tested under pressure and thrive - almost crave that feeling of being put on the spot and having to perform."


Cortney mentioned winning tournaments and awards: In 2005, she was Player of the Year on the Canadian Women's Tour after posting one victory and leading the money list. Cortney also played 11 times on the Futures Tour that year, winning the Children's Hospital Futures Golf Classic in Maryland.

While win No. 2 on the Futures Tour has yet to come, Cortney's 2007 season was her best overall to date. She made 17 of 19 cuts, including four Top 10s, lowered her scoring average by more than a full stroke, and finished 20th on the Futures Tour money list.

"I am working with my coach in Tampa right now," Cortney said, "and getting ready to start in March - first the Florida Open as a warmup, and then the Futures Tour."

Cortney plans to play every Futures Tour event in 2008 "in hopes of improving on my year-ending position from last year and gaining some sort of LPGA status. I'm ready to put the work in to get there!"

One more note about Cortney: She is one of the Play Golf Designs professionals.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Grace Park


Wherefore art thou, Grace Park? Alas, if recent history is any indication, Grace is laid up somewhere with back pain.
Grace brought an elegance and glamour to the course everytime she played (still does). No one seemed better named than the very graceful and gracious Grace Park. And several years ago, she seemed poised on the verge of challenging Annika Sorenstam for LPGA supremacy. Grace seemed to be near the top of the leaderboard every week. She was winning tons of money, and even won a scoring title. She also won her first LPGA major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
And then back problems arose, and her play went into a tailspin. We still see flashes from time to time of all that immense talent. And the grace is always present. But we want to see the old Grace, the one who kicked butt on the golf course and looked so good doing it.
Here's wishing Grace a healthy back and a return to form.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ashley Gomes

ashley gomes

Ashley Gomes' is a recognizable face after she twice has been a popular cast member of "The Big Break" on the Golf Channel ("Big Break VII: Trump National" and "Big Break: Reunion").

But you might recognize this specific photo, since it appeared in the February issue of Golf Digest. That publication gave a nice plug to Ashley and to Play Golf Designs, the Las Vegas company that can manage your golf outing or pair with you Ashley or many other touring pros for a day on the links.

Ashley is a California girl and played collegiately at San Jose State, where she won twice, including the 2004 WAC conference championship. She was the WAC player of the year that season. Ashley turned pro in 2005 and has played most of three seasons on the Futures Tour.

Ashley's home base in 2008 is Scottsdale, where she's close to her swing coach Doug Brooke, who teaches out of Talking Stick. "My goals are to improve my shots from 100 yards and in," Gomes told me, "and work really hard on my short game."

And to win, of course. Ashley will remain in Scottsdale through March and play in some of the Cactus Tour events during that period. Then the Futures Tour gets back into gear in April.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Meet Cirbie Sheppard

cirbie sheppard picturesWho is Cirbie Sheppard? That was probably the reaction of many golf fans when they learned that Cirbie was part of the "Big Break: Kaanapali" cast. There's not much info about her on the Web.

But before we tell you a little more about Cirbie, let's clear something up: Who is that fella in the photo with her to the left? That's Troy Healy, Cirbie's fiancee and the guitarist for the hard-rock band Neurosonic (you might catch their videos on Fuse TV; they were part of the Family Value Tour 2007 with Evanescence and Korn). And the engagement is recent - Troy popped the question Christmas morning. So our hearty congratulations to Cirby and Troy. (And we hope that being the first guy ever to appear in a photo on Golf Babes isn't damaging to Troy's street cred.) Now you know that when Cirbie says she's a "rocker chick," she means it.

So, back to our original question: Who is Cirbie Sheppard? Cirbie is someone who has taken a circuitous route to the world of professional golf, but someone with a plan to make her mark in the game.

Cirbie began golfing her sophomore year in high school, while also getting serious at basketball. She became good enough at golf to draw interest from some major Division I schools, but eventually was offered only partial scholarships. She decided to stick near home and enrolled at Sierra College, a California JUCO. She also gave up golf around this time. "I didn't think I'd get anywhere with golf 'cause there were so many chicks who had played since they were kids and were very great players," she told me, "and I thought that I wouldn't have a chance."

cirbie sheppard picturesBut after resisting entreaties from the golf coach for a while, Cirbie finally relented and joined the golf team. Based on some scores she passed along from this time period, Cirbie was shooting around 80, upper 70s to low 80s, at this point.

Cirbie moved in and out of golf in these years, and in and out of various jobs: real estate offices, Starbucks, working as a model at car shows. She became a martial arts instructor.

In 2005 Cirbie moved to Phoenix, bought a house on Legacy Golf Resort and went to work as a Hooters girl. She really didn't start playing golf again until 2006, and then only "here and there." As a Hooters Girl, she pointed out, she met lots businesspeople, many of whom golfed, and many of whom invited her to play in tournaments and charitable events when they found out she golfed. She started taking them up on those offers, and also playing club tournaments.

Cirbie was serious about golf again. In 2007, she decided to test herself on the Cactus Tour, but a wrist injury just before her first event led to terrible scores, and then a withdrawal in a second tournament. That is her only experience to date on a recognized professional mini-tour. Her lowest round so far is a 68 in a club tournament.

Cirbie says, "So yes, I do not have a broad background of golf as the other chicks do," but she's proud of and happy with the wide variety of experiences she's had, rather than being solely focused on golf up to this point.

But she does plan to narrow her focus in the coming years. Cirbie plans to play professional tournaments in 2008, probably on the Cactus Tour, but perhaps also on the Victory Tour (a new women's tour launching this year). She's shooting for the Futures Tour Q-School at the end of the year, and if she makes it to the Futures Tour in 2009, then her focus will shift to LPGA Q-School and making the LPGA Tour in 2010.

While golf looms as a larger priority, Cirbie also plans to pursue her nascent modeling career and hopes to make the pages of her favorite magazine, Maxim: "I WILL be on the cover someday soon and have a center spread," she said.

Golf, Cirbie says, has never seen anyone like her on the course. "Even though it's been rough with the roller coaster in my golf game since the injury ... I'm ready to show the world, my family and myself what I've got with my game!

"You're only alive once! I wanna experience many different events in my life while I can. I'm a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, no matter what. If ya have a low, then you're bound to have a high. ... 'The Big Break' was definitely an amazing event IN a lifetime, not OF a lifetime - 'cause I still have my whole life ahead of me, and every event in life that takes place adds to personality and life changes."

cirbie sheppard pictures

Monday, January 07, 2008

Valeria Ochoa Calendar

valeria ochoa calendar

I mentioned a couple posts ago that a "Big Break" alum was soon to release a sexy calendar for 2008. And now you know that Big Breaker is Valeria Ochoa.

Above is the cover image from the calendar, below is one of the monthly shots. If you're in the right place, you might run across the calendar in a retail outlet or pro shop. And you might also see it popping up on eBay.

But right now you can order one by from Val's myspace page (NOTE: As I write this, Val's profile is private, so you'll have to send her a friend invitation on myspace before you can view her page and the order links.) The price, including shipping, for a single copy is $20.90. Payment is through PayPal. The calendar also includes the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour schedules.

We'll post a couple more pics from Val's calendar over the coming weeks.

valeria ochoa calendar

LeAnna Wicks

leanna wicks picturesLeAnna Wicks was an LPGA rookie in 2007, but with non-exempt status was able to get into just two LPGA events. However, in one of those - the State Farm Classic - she showed her potential with a 3-under final score and a Top 40 finish. In 2008, Wicks will be playing mostly on the Futures Tour.

LeAnna was a two-time Player of the Year on the Michigan Junior Golf Tour, then played collegiately at the University of Michigan. She won one tournament and helped Michigan to its first-ever qualification for the NCAA Tournament in 2002. LeAnna graduated in 2002 and turned professional in 2003.

She has a great record in the Michigan Women's Open, with sixth-place finishes in 2003 and 2004 and a runner-up showing in 2006. Wicks has had status on the Futures Tour every year since 2004, but like many up-and-coming golfers on the Futures Tour, financial considerations (i.e., travel expenses) have kept her from playing full schedules. The nine tournaments she played in 2006 is the most to date. Her best finish so far is 11th at the 2006 Michelob Ultra Duramed Futures Players Championship. In 2007, she made six of six cuts on the Futures Tour, and in 2006 eight of nine.

I think we can conclude from the mugshot that LeAnna is a big fan of dangly earrings.

leanna wicks pictures

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bridget Dwyer

bridget dwyer pictures

"Big Break" contestants are in focus at the moment. There are the new crop of cast members for the next series, "Big Break: Kaanapali." And a past "Big Break" contestant has a sexy calendar coming out (more on that soon).

So here's another "Big Break" beauty, Bridget Dwyer from "Big Break: Trump National."