Laurie Rinker and Maria McBride, though 11 years apart in age, have a few things in common. They both played the LPGA Tour successfully for many years. They both live in Florida. And they’re both looking forward to teaming up in the BJ’s Charity Championship presented by P&G on Friday, September 6 at The Ridge Club in Sandwich, Mass.
“I am so excited to be playing in the BJ’s team event,” says McBride, 45, a native of Sweden who made her debut on The Legends Tour earlier this summer at the Suquamish Clearwater Legend Cup. “It’s not often you get the chance to play with a partner in golf. Pairing with Laurie will be fun, and we will play hard to get our hands on that trophy.”
After winning more than 20 amateur titles, McBride turned professional in 1996 and went on to play both the LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour from 1998 – 2016 (you may remember her as Maria Hjorth), carding two wins on the LET and five on the LPGA, her most recent in 2011. She posted three second place finishes in a four-year stretch at the Evian Masters (1998 – 2002). The big-hitting Swede was also a force to be reckoned with in five Solheim Cup appearances for Team Europe (2002, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011).
“She hits it far,” recalls Rinker, 56, from their days on the LPGA Tour and the few times they were paired together. “I’m looking forward to having shorter shots into the greens in the scramble.”
In the BJ’s Charity Championship, 14 teams made up of two Legends each compete in nine holes of four-ball (better ball of partners) on the front side, followed by nine holes of a scramble format on the back. Now in its third year at The Ridge, the event is a favorite stop for many veteran stars of the LPGA Tour, including World Golf Hall of Famers Juli Inkster, Pat Bradley, Betsy King, Jan Stephenson, Hollis Stacy, Donna Caponi and Sandra Haynie.
“There’s great camaraderie in a Legends team event – not only between team members but also among all the teams,” says Rinker, who won twice on the LPGA Tour after turning professional in 1982. “It’s more relaxed than when you are focused on your own ball.”
Rinker, an All-American golfer from the University of Florida, played the LPGA Tour across three decades – the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. In addition to her two LPGA Tour victories, she picked up a win on the LPGA of Japan Tour. Winner of the 2015 Teaching and Club Division National Championship, Rinker also has four Legends Tour titles to her credit, and she appeared three times on Team USA in the ISPS Handa Cup (2013-2015). A consummate competitor, it seems “Rink” is always in the mix when the Legends tee it up.
“I think professional golfers never quit working on their games,” observes Rinker. “I’m working on all aspects right now and it will be great to partner with Maria at The Ridge. I’m really looking forward to it.”
And according to Rinker, she and McBride do have one more thing in common.
“We’re both Moms,” says Rinker. “I’m sure we’ll get along great.”
Gates open at 9:00 a.m. with tee times starting at 10:00 a.m. Admission is free. Park for free at the Holly Ridge Golf Course next door and hop the complimentary shuttle to the tournament entrance.