By LARRY VAUGHT
Emma Talley’s “off week” is not what most would consider an off week from work.
The LPGA Tour rookie from Caldwell County tied for fifth in the Marathon Classic Sunday outside of Toledo, Ohio, and then drove five hours to Rockford, Ill., that night to play in a pro-am Monday. She drove another four hours Monday night to Champaign, Ill., before heading to Kentucky where she will play in the PGA Tour Barbasol Championship’s pro-am Wednesday.
She’ll be at a pro-am function tonight in Lexington and then tee off at 7:55 a.m. Wednesday in the group with PGA Tour player Danny Lee. She’ll also get to play with her boyfriend, Patrick Smith. He’s a caddy for LPGA player. Laura Gonzalez Escallo.
She may stick around to watch the first round of the Barbasol Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Jessamine County before flying to Scotland Saturday to get ready for next week’s Scottish Open that will be followed by the British Open.
So what made her decide to play the pro-am in Kentucky?
“Barbasol is head of Pure Silk, one of my biggest sponsors,” said Talley, a three-time Kentucky high school state champion and NCAA champion at Alabama. “I wanted to do something fun and I haven’t seen any of the guys I know on the PGA Tour for a while. My sponsor asked if I wanted to come and I just thought it would be fun.
“I actually told my mom the other day I wish I maybe had just gone to the beach because I am pretty tired. But I have a lot of friends that have texted me that they are going to come watch me play. So I get to see friends, play with my sponsor and have a good time. I won’t stress out too much about how I play but I definitely have to have my (golf) face on.”
She’ll also get to see LPGA Tour player Brittany Lincicome, who is playing in the tournament thanks to a sponsor exemption. She’ll be only the fifth LPGA player to play in a PGA Tour event.
Lincicome was also at the pro-am in Rockford Monday with Talley.
“It will be nice to see her and give her a big hug before she plays,” Talley said. “I think she will do great, too. She is nervous but she’s playing great. She is really funny and laid back. I hope she gets to play with somebody she knows because that will make her more comfortable. But it is a cool opportunity for her. She hits the ball a long way and I think she’ll do great.”
Don’t worry about bothering Talley if you want a picture or autograph. She normally shakes hands with fans and tournament volunteers every week. She normally talks to herself after almost every shot.
“I like talking to everybody outside the ropes. I am so happy for all the support I have in Kentucky. Without it, I would not be where I am,” Talley said. “I probably will get 100 text messages on Sunday and most are from Kentucky and Alabama. My roots are in Kentucky and I am so thankful for all who support me. So I am looking forward to seeing all the fans who want to see me.”