This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Patricia Meunier-Lebouc’s lone major victory in the 2003 Kraft Nabisco Championship, where she edged out a 1-stroke win over none other than Annika Sorenstam.
Before retiring from the game in 2009, her 15 years combined playing on the Ladies European Tour and the LPGA resulted in seven victories, including the Kraft Nabisco. Now a coach, golf is still an important part of her life.
I chatted with her recently about all things golf – anchoring, slow play and the incredible story of LPGA phenom Inbee Park.
Q: So what are you up to these days?
P: Today, I still live in Florida where I teach golf at Ibis Golf and Country Club alongside my husband, Antoine Lebouc, and Martin Hall. After retiring from playing the game in 2009, I chose to become a golf coach. My goal – to use my experience and expertise with all aspects of the game to help others improve their performance and reach for their goals. To become more efficient with my teaching, I went trough multiple certifications (TPI – Dr. Rick Jensen – Vision 54). I actually even started with TPI certification while still playing on Tour! Since 2012, I am a National Coach for the French Golf Federation, with a goal of developing French Golf at the highest level – in France as well as in the United States.
Q: Ten years later, where does winning a major championship rank in your list of life’s greatest moments?
P: Second, right behind ‘building’ my family!
Q: Have to ask- where do you stand on the putter anchoring issue?
P: I am not in favor of putter anchoring. From the beginning, I have been surprised that R&A would allow an added anchor point on the body.
Q: What’s your take on Inbee Park?
P: I think she is an amazing player. I am sure she has worked very hard to get to this point. I believe that she has reached a point where all aspects of her game have synchronized and helped her develop a very high level of confidence. It is like finding your groove and once you have got it, it’s all about nurturing this confidence and simply keeping doing what you have been doing to reach that level. The challenge, then, is a mental aspect. As it is not the same to reach for the best as it is to ‘stay there,’ ‘maintain’ the status that comes with it! And I believe it to be true for any player reaching that position. Example, Yani Tseng who said it has been so tough on her to be No. 1. That’s what Annika and Tiger have been so good at. Let’s see how Inbee Park will handle the next few years!
Q: Slow play: How should golf address it?
P: I believe that today we should take into consideration the time spent by players to go from one shot to the next. Why do we only time and penalize golfers depending on their preparation time to play the shot?
Q: How has the LPGA changed since you retired?
P: I would not say changed, but evolved/improved. The age average of the players has probably dropped since I retired. Those young golfers are very professional, much earlier than we were. They have learned quickly to manage their career and attitude. The LPGA is working hard on that aspect of the organization. The more and earlier the players are true professionals, the better it is for our Tour, partners and sponsors. And that’s one of the reasons why the LPGA looks so good today!
Q: What’s something very few people know about you?
P: That I am a Crossfitter! When I retired four years ago, I was missing the adrenaline of golf competition and was lucky to learn and try a new sport that helped me compensate for the void I was feeling. I enjoy Crossfit and believe it is the best fitness regimen I have ever had – hard, very high intensity but a lot of fun!
Q: You’re still young, do you ever get the desire to pick up the sticks and compete?
P: Yes, it has happened that I felt the cravings. But I quickly find myself too busy with my coaching passion and the time I want to spend with my daughter to really commit to practicing and preparing for competition again.
Q: What’s still on your bucket list?
P: On the professional side, help players reach for a major title!