PHOENIX, ARIZONA | The range is always weird this week. Because the LPGA schedule starts with a small-field tournament of champions followed by hither-and-yon opens and invitationals in Australia, Thailand and Singapore, a good number of rookies make their debuts at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. So, it’s not unusual here for veterans to be hitting balls next to two players they’ve never met.
That happened a lot. One player told me, “I walked halfway down the range and didn’t know a soul.”
But one of those rookies has a reputation – one that preceded her to America. When Anne van Dam, a 23-year-old from the Netherlands, came out early on Tuesday to hit balls, players 20 and 30 yards away stopped what they were doing. Most tried to be nonchalant. Water break, back stretch or a slower-than-normal club change. But the intent was clear. They wanted to see if the rumors were true. They wanted to watch Anne van Dam hit it.
No one was disappointed. Van Dam has a golf swing that no less an expert than Curtis Strange called, “one of t...
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