RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Stacy Lewis could be forgiven for being a bit distracted.
She entered her first major as the world’s No. 1 player following a whirlwind three weeks that, at times, she said, caught her off-guard.
“It’s been crazy,” Lewis said. “I expected to get the attention at the tournaments and at the course, but I’ve been surprised at things off the course, just going into a Walgreen’s or a CVS and getting recognized. So it’s definitely been a little bit of an adjustment.”
Finishing in a tie for 32nd [1-under-par] at the Kraft Nabisco Championship on Sunday, following a tie for ninth [6-under-par] at the KIA Classic two weeks ago, could not have been what she had in mind. But Lewis did not sound disheartened leaving Rancho Mirage.
“I’ve won twice already and just kind of gotten off to a really good start, so I’m excited,” she said of her victories at the HSBC Women’s Champions and LPGA Founders Cup last month.
“We still have four majors left, and Solheim [this August in Colorado] is probably even of higher importance than those majors. We’ve got a lot of good stuff coming this year.”
Lewis could have lost her No. 1 ranking here had former No. 1 Yani Tseng won. Instead, Tseng finished 2-over-par and in a tie for 48th, losing her No. 2 ranking to Sunday’s champion Inbee Park.
The hoped-for rivalry between Lewis and Tseng might turn out to involve Lewis and Park. Or perhaps 2012 U.S. Open champion So Yeon Ryu, who finished second here at 11-under-par and was ranked ninth coming in.
"It might be all the golf fans think like Annika [Sorenstam] or Lorena [Ochoa] are [still] like the queens of golf,” Ryu said. “But there's a lot of great players on the tour, a lot of people battling at the tournaments. I think that's a really good thing.
"But yesterday I saw that Stacy changed autographs. She signed it, then put No. 1 under the autograph, so I was jealous. I'm trying to copy her. The first thing I have to do is play well, but I think that battle is a really great thing."
In the meantime, the LPGA will hitch its marketing to Lewis for as long as it lasts.
“We’re going to get some recognition for this Tour,” Lewis vowed as she embarked on a trip that will include several national interviews, “and right now I guess I’m the face of it.”