Date: June 25, 2019
Author: Martin Blake

The day after: Green is coming home

Hannah Green is coming home … more quickly than expected, and she has her eye on some French luxury accessories with the truckload of money she picked up by winning her first-ever major in Minnesota on Sunday.

Green changed her plans immediately after securing the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Hazeltine, skipping next week’s LPGA Tour event so that she can spend some time back in Perth.

Speaking to media at Minneapolis airport, she admitted the past 24 hours had been a whirlwind.

Realistically she has set up her whole career, with a $US577,000 cheque (less tax), a five-year exemption to play on the biggest tour in the world, a spot in the majors and – potentially – the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year. Her world ranking has rocketed from 114th to 29th in the world on the back of her first big win.

Which is why she was thinking about those nice, French things – a Givenchy handbag and a Cartier ring. “There’s a couple of things I said when I won my first-ever tournament on tour that I’d like to buy,” the Western Australian said today. “I wanted to get it here in Minneapolis, but they didn’t have the store. I’m hoping when I go back to Perth that I can buy one of the two options.’’

Green skipped next week in Arkansas at least partly because she is exhausted. Needless to say, her phone has not stopped, and back at the house full of Australians she spent the week with in Minneapolis on Sunday, they filled the enormous PGA Championship trophy with vodka and lemonade and toasted her unexpected success.

“The trophy, I don’t know if you saw me try to pick it up, but it was awfully heavy,” she said. “When I was taking a drink out of it last night I needed a couple of extra hands to lift it!’’

She does not get to keep the silverware. Green handed it back with some reluctance on Monday morning, US time, and will have to wait for the United States PGA to send her the promised replica back home in Perth.

“It’s been a really crazy 24 hours, to think pretty much I guess this time yesterday I was holing that five-foot putt to win. A lot of things have happened, a lot of things are still changing, I guess. My phone is going still crazy. I’ve had a lot of media stuff to do which is very new for me. It’s been very different.’’

Green is grateful to her parents for not pushing her too hard, and happy that she has found some work-life balance after some challenges on her first year on the LPGA in 2018. “Obviously you see a lot of people who are pushed by their parents, and they end up not really loving the game anymore.’’

A few years ago she worked out with Smith what fitted her game in terms of practice hours, having almost driven herself into the ground initially. “I was shooting 80s and I wasn’t quite sure what was going since I’d worked harder than I ever had before. I was seeing Ritchie two to three times a week on a very regular basis. We assessed at the end of the year and decided that’s obviously not a good option for me personally, even though it might work for others.”

What Green and Smith also learned is that she needs some space and time to spend with her friends in Perth, notwithstanding that she travels so much. When she is on tour, she now travels with Su Oh, her friend from Melbourne and also one of Australia’s top professionals, which she appreciates. She also makes sure she comes home to Perth around every six weeks for a dose of normality.

Oh, with whom she shares similar interests, was one of the first and most raucous on the 18th green at Hazeltine on Sunday along with Jarryd Felton, her longtime boyfriend, and Karrie Webb, a sometime mentor. “I want to make sure that I’m being social and seeing my friends and family and also working hard and seeing my coaches while I’m home,” she said.

So it was another airport and another flight for Hannah Green this morning, into a different life. Her parents, Tau and Sue, will be waiting. “I’m sure when I see them there’ll be a few tears,’’ she said. “Happy tears.’’