Stacy Lewis has arguably one of the best stories in woman’s golf. At the age of 11, she was diagnosed with a spinal deformity, Scoliosis, which in many children means the end to any hopes of a career in professional sports. Her story is a special one to me because my wife also has this affliction.
My wife had a promising start to an ice skating career, but when doctors found out she had Scoliosis, they put an end to her dreams of one day skating in the Olympics. To this day, she still wistfully reminisces about her days on the ice and often wonders where she would be now, if things had been different.
Me personally, I’m glad they worked out like they did, because if they didn’t, I would probably not have met and married the love of my life. 🙂
Stacy Lewis took a different approach to her ailment. Rather than give up, she decided that she would not allow Scoliosis to crush her dreams of one day winning the US Open. So for 18 hours a day for seven and a half years she wore a back brace, even when she slept and only removed it to play golf. When Stacy turned 18, she was able to shed the back brace, but unfortunately, once out of the brace, the spine deformity continued to progress to the point where surgery was recommended to prevent further progression of her condition.
She had accepted a golf scholarship to the University of Arkansas and if she underwent the surgery, there was a good chance that she would never be able to play golf again. The surgery was successful however, and after three more months in a brace and six months of golf rehab, Stacy Lewis worked her back onto the University of Arkansas golf team.
By the time she graduated in 2008, Stacy had accumulated an incredible 12 NCAA wins including the 2007 NCAA individual championship. In addition, Stacy was invited to play in the the prestigious Curtis Cup at the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland and not only helped the United States team win, but set a record to become the first player in Curtis Cup history to record 5 wins against 0 losses.
She turned pro in mid-summer 2008 and her first professional tournament was the US Women’s Open. Playing like an LPGA veteran, she took lead in the tournament after 3 rounds and played in the final group finishing in third place. In December of that year, Stacy officially earned her card by winning the LPGA Q-School tournament by 3 strokes.
Fast forward to 2011, while dealing with the recent death of her grandfather, Stacy Lewis managed to win her first LPGA title at the Kraft Nabisco Championship with a final round of 69 on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. Lewis finished with a cumulative score of 275 (66,69,71,69) to win at 13 under par on the 40th anniversary of the tournament.
Stacy is a spokesperson for the Scoliosis Research Society and an inspiration to thousands of kids and adults around the world for overcoming such a tough affliction.
Stacy Lewis is the ONLY staff player to be sponsored by Fila Golf, they fell in love with this promising young athlete because of her inspirational story and because she has the spirit of a fighter.
“Stacy’s unyielding competitive drive aligns perfectly with Fila Golf’s mission to design and manufacture top-of-the-line golf apparel,” says Nancy Robitaille, Fila Golf principal designer. “Not only did Stacy look stylish on the course, but she performed her best despite numerous obstacles to achieve her dream. As we celebrate the centennial of the Fila brand, we are thrilled about Stacy’s accomplishments on and off the course.”