Karen Stupples returns home to celebrate victory
Karen Stupples arrived back to a hero's welcome at the family's regular haunt, the Bohemian pub in Deal, after winning the women's British Open at Sunningdale on Sunday. Some 50 friends were waiting with a million and one questions as to how it felt to start the last round of a major with an eagle and an albatross.
Yesterday, Stupples should have been playing in a celebrity shoot-out before the Jamie Farr Classic in Ohio. She cancelled that, while she asked for an exemption from tomorrow's pro-am. She wanted to savour her success with the parents who helped to make it all possible.
Stupples, 31, reiterated yesterday that she plans to give some of her £160,000 prize-money to the Kent juniors after finding out what it is they need. "It could be that they want money for training purposes, or it could be that there are individuals who need help with their golfing expenses," she said.
She herself has vivid memories of applying for grants from this authority and that and getting nowhere. "Everywhere I went it seemed I didn't quite fit the criteria. I could never get my head round it."
In the end, Stupples took on all sorts of menial tasks, including cloakroom cleaning, by way of funding an amateur career in which she played in two Curtis Cups but never succeeded in pinning down a major amateur title. "I think I was working too hard on too many fronts," she explained.
With regard to the maze of the grant system, she would like to see the golfing authorities in general doing more to help young players, especially those who, as applied in her case, may not look at first sight as if they are bound for the top. Again, she believes the Ladies' Golf Union could do more to prepare girls for the professional ranks by asking them tougher on-course questions.
"At the moment," Stupples said, "our amateur championships are played from LGU tees to a par around the 74 mark. On the LPGA tour, on the other hand, you're playing from back tees to a par of 71. Par fives are no longer a gift and it comes as a nasty shock."
Her achievements are sensational. Sunday's £160,000 included, she has won in the region of £1 million and is a certain starter in next year's Solheim Cup. Yet she would be the last person to say all this success has made her happy.
She has never been anything but. Why, she even enjoyed the cloakroom cleaning.
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