Date: January 30, 2011

Hetherington – nothing beats experience

When it comes to women&aposs golf in Australia, Rachel Hetherington is one of the first names on people&aposs lips. Hetherington, now 38, announced her retirement from professional golf in August last year following the CN Canadian Women&aposs Open where she finished 24th. “I retired from the LPGA primarily because I don&apost enjoy the travel as much as I used too, and am not prepared to commit myself 100% to the training needed to compete and win on Tour,” Hetherington told Golf Australia. This week&aposs Handa Women&aposs Australian Open is a championship that Hetherington knows well. Despite not winning the title, Hetherington finished runner-up on three occasions – in 2000, 2003 and 2004 and said the championship provides players with an opportunity to build experience and learn from international players. “The tournaments on the ALPG Schedule are a fantastic opportunity for Australians to gain valuable experience playing tournament golf. Both the Australian Open and the Ladies Masters have international players and this is an additional opportunity to meet new players and learn about other Tours,” Hetherington said. A former NSW junior champion, Hetherington has advice for new and upcoming players considering life on Tour. “It&aposs important to be able live out of a suitcase, and be prepared to be away from family and friends. Learning to adapt to new golf courses is important too,” Hetherington said, saying there was a gap to be jumped between being a top amateur and being successful on a tour. “It&aposs 3-4 shots a round. If making it on tour is making the cut and receiving money, then shooting under par every time you play is important.” Part of living out of a suitcase means making the best of any situation you find yourself in – a common scenario for touring professionals. “A memorable incident was sleeping overnight at JFK airport in New York because the airport had shut down due to thunderstorms,” Hetherington said. “We missed all connecting flights. I was travelling with Fiona Pike, and the hotels were either booked out or really expensive, so we decided to sleep at the airport. It is memorable because it was one of the most uncomfortable and worst nights i have experienced!” A winner of eight LPGA and 2 LET events and more than US$5.75 million in prizemoney during her career, Hetherington recalls her 2002 win at the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic as one of the highlights. “I shot 65 in the final round of the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic to win the tournament. It was a tremendous day and i putted extremely well. I had a late tee time and spent some of the time in the morning visualising much of the day, and I played just like I had visualised it,” she said. Without the gruelling travel and pratice schedule required of Tour life, Hetherington will be able to focus on other ways she wants to contribute to the game. “I have recently completed study through the PGA, and am now qualifed to teach as a PGA professional. I would like to become involved in introducing juniors into the game of golf, but may become involved in business outside of the golf industry as well.”