Bay Area woman captains U.S. Curtis Cup team

June 5, 2012 8:02:12 PM PDT
When the U.S. Open returns to the Olympic Club it will be the second of two major golf events this month. The other is the Curtis Cup, and for women amateurs, there is no greater honor. This year, the U.S. team captain is a local woman.

If you're a married man who plays golf with your spouse and think she's tough, compare notes sometime with Mike Iker about his wife, Pat Cornett.

"The story I always tell is the first time we on the golf course, I asked Pat if I could play with her and she says, 'You can join me if you don't slow me down,'" Iker said.

Cornett has always been driven and she is about to become a worldwide household name as the U.S. team captain at the Curtis Cup.

It's a storied rivalry. Every two years, the best American women amateurs play against their counterparts from the United Kingdom.

Away from the golf course, Cornett is an oncologist and hematologist at the Veterans Administration hospital in San Francisco. Until the Curtis Cup, she rarely took more than a week off at a time out of concern for her patients.

"My philosophy in life is to work at something that makes a difference to people and I think my medical profession does that," she said.

It helps explain why the humble woman, who has won three San Francisco city championships and played well in multiple U.S. Opens, never considered turning professional.

"It's a game; you always have to remember that," she said.

So, after decades, here comes the reward: Only amateurs may play in the Curtis Cup, only amateurs may be captains.


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