LPGA star Stacy Lewis quits Twitter after frustrating loss to Shanshan Feng, smog delays in China

Etienne Oliveau

Stacy Lewis blames ‘a rock and the flagstick’ for robbing her of the win in the LPGA’s first official event in China. But the real culprit in the LPGA's first-ever event in China was the hazardous quality of the air in Beijing.

Stacy Lewis has been riding an emotional roller-coaster the last couple of months, but her disappointing loss to hometown favorite Shanshan Feng in Sunday's final round of the LPGA Tour's first-ever contest in China, and subsequent events, caused the American star to quit Twitter.

The former No. 1 was on top of the world after capturing the Women’s British Open at St. Andrews in early August, in the depths after Europe routed her U.S. Solheim Cup team shortly thereafter, and on Twitter to apologize for withdrawing from the Canadian Women’s Open a week after that.

Sunday, after finishing runner-up to Feng at the inaugural Reignwood LPGA Classic in Beijing and reportedly fielding not-so-supportive tweets to her post-tourney remarks about the fans and her rotten luck in the finale, the currently third-ranked woman golfer shuttered her Twitter account.

Feng was a shot behind Lewis as she teed off on the 18th on Sunday. A couple of unbelievably lucky bounces after Feng hit her second shot (as captured by this Golf Channel video, which Golf Digest’s Alex Myers posted) and Feng was the come-from-behind, one-shot victor over Lewis.

"I feel like it was just taken from me," Lewis, who congratulated Feng on her victory, told reporters following the final round, in which Feng's approach shot on 18 appeared headed for the hazard but instead bounced up to the green and off the pin, leaving a short eagle putt for the W.

"You’d like to win on a good shot, but, obviously, it wasn’t a good shot. It’s very frustrating," Lewis said. "I mean I played well. It was hard to see there at the end so it was hard to make putts. Early some of the hole locations were hard so it just played tougher today. I played really solid. I stuck to my game plan all day. I just came up one putt short."

Lewis, according to GolfChannel.com’s Randall Mell, was not the only player unhappy with the conditions -- which included smog so thick on Sunday that some golfers donned masks to be able to breath and the constant snapping of photos by the fans, which the two-time major winner addressed during her Friday press conference.

"I think since we're trying to play golf, I think the cameras are ... annoying," Lewis said. "But they're ... things you just kind of have to deal with and everybody's having to deal with it, so you just kind of have to go with it."

Following Sunday’s finale, Lewis took to Twitter to vent her displeasure, saying, according to Mell (since Lewis took down her Twitter page), the following:

"Congrats to Shan Shan on the win, crazy shot at 18. Very disappointed in the fans in China this week."

— Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) October 6, 2013

"Between all the cameras and cheering when I missed putts. It was just really hard to have fun out there. On to the next..."

— Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) October 6, 2013

"Btw what till you see the shot on 18 that won it! Lets just say it involved a rock and the flag stick..."

— Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) October 6, 2013

Mell noted that Lewis deleted two of the offending tweets and then went Twitter-silent.

"For those whose were actually supportive on twitter, sorry to say I will be signing off of here. I'm sorry I say what I believe."

— Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) October 6, 2013

As Beth Ann Baldry of Golfweek reported, golf is new to fans in China, who apparently cheered their native daughter and jeered her opponents.

But far more disturbing than spectator etiquette -- or lack thereof -- was the "hazardous" air quality that Bloomberg’s Adam Minter said caused delays in play on Saturday and Sunday.

"The smog that’s coming in right now, it’s making it heavy, and it’s harder to breathe out there," Jessica Korda of the U.S. said on Friday. "You cough a lot."


Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea wears a protective mask during the final round of the Reignwood LPGA Classic in China (Photo: Etienne Oliveau/Getty Images)

LPGA officials, according to Minter, employed  "the state-owned Chinese news media’s long-time favorite means of downplaying the dangers of smog -- simply label it ‘fog’ -- [which] suggests the association may have known the scope of the problem and decided to minimize it."

Kind of puts Lewis’ Twitter dust-up in proper perspective.

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