Some of the pros know how to get the answers without asking the questions.
The LPGA doesn't allow players to give advice to each other during tournaments. No hints on shot selection or where to line up a putt are allowed. Any player asking another for advice better get a good enough response to offset the two-shot penalty that will go along with it.
At the Uniden LPGA Invitational this week at Mesa Verde Country Club in Costa Mesa, many of the 144 players sidestep the no-advice rule, particularly on the par-3 holes where club selection can make the difference between putting for a birdie and struggling for a par from the sand.
When the first player hits her tee shot to the green, players waiting to hit often meander over to her bag to see which club is missing. No words are exchanged, but they have their answer.
Sometimes the technique backfires. It did a couple of times Thursday on the par-3 18th hole, a 175-yard shot over water that can vary several clubs depending on pin placement and the wind.
Rosie Jones, playing with Pat Bradley, watched as Bradley hit to the front of the green. When she looked in Bradley's bag and saw the 4-iron missing, she put hers back and took out a 3-iron. She then hit about 20 feet past the hole and was faced with a tricky downhill putt. No harm, though. Both players parred. (Bradley finished at even-par 72; Jones at 75.)
Not everyone bothers to check what their competitors are playing.
"I don't hit the ball as far as I used to, so it doesn't really help me too much to know what they're hitting," said Dale Eggeling, who finished at 70.
"I don't hawk the bag anymore. I think you're better off just going with your first gut feeling."
Eggeling was playing with a broken right ring finger that she suffered when her hands were caught in the reins while she led one of two horses she owns over a jump. She discovered the break before last week's tournament in Phoenix but rejected a physician's suggestion that she put the finger in a splint.
"I want to play," she said. "I try to block (the pain) out, and the finger's wrapped to absorb some of the shock."
Eggeling missed the cut in Phoenix with scores of 79-76.
"It'll take time to heal," she said. "And it hurts more on bad shots, especially if I hit it thin."
Defending champion Bonnie Lauer, who often has trouble in opening rounds, had real difficulty Thursday and will need to regroup in a hurry to make the cut. She shot an 80.
Pearl Sinn of Los Angeles, the first amateur to qualify for the Uniden in its three years, shot a one-over-par 73 in the first round. She had some problems with the par-3 holes, bogeying three of five.
The concession stands have plenty of food for those with a few extra pennies in their pockets. Hamburgers are $3, hot dogs $2, sodas $1.25 and candy bars $1.
John D. Laupheimer, commissioner of the LPGA since 1982, has received a five-year extension on his contract, which will run through 1991.
THE TOUGHEST HOLE
Eagles 1 Birdies 12 Pars 28 Bogeys 56 Doubles 3 Others 2 Ave. 4.32