Erica Blasberg

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Erica Blasberg
— Golfer —
2008 LPGA Championship - Erica Blasberg 1.jpg
Blasberg at the 2008 LPGA Championship
Personal information
Full name Erica Paige Blasberg
Born (1984-07-14)July 14, 1984
Orange, California, U.S.
Died May 9, 2010(2010-05-09) (aged 25)
Henderson, Nevada, U.S.
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Nationality  United States
Residence Henderson, Nevada, U.S.
Career
College University of Arizona
(two years)
Turned professional 2004
Current tour(s) LPGA
(joined 2005)
Former tour(s) Futures Tour
(joined 2004)
Professional wins 1
Number of wins by tour
Symetra Tour 1
Best results in LPGA major championships
Kraft Nabisco C'ship CUT: 2004
LPGA Championship T76: 2007
U.S. Women's Open T39: 2007
Women's British Open T64: 2008

Erica Paige Blasberg[1] (July 14, 1984 – May 9, 2010) was an American golfer who played on the LPGA Tour.

Early life[edit]

Blasberg was born in Orange, California,[1] and raised in Corona, California. She attended Corona High School where she played on the boys' golf team.[2]

Amateur career[edit]

As an amateur, Blasberg was the medalist at the 2000 U.S. Girls' Junior and lost in the quarterfinals.[3] In 2003, she reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women's Amateur.[4] She attended the University of Arizona and was the country's number 1 ranked college player as a freshman, compiling six victories before leaving in her sophomore year to turn pro. She was an All-America golfer in 2003 and 2004, NCAA Freshman of the Year in 2003, Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2003, and won the Golfists Cup, awarded for the NCAA women's lowest stroke average, in 2003. In 2004 she was on the winning United States Curtis Cup team.

Professional career[edit]

Blasberg turned professional in June 2004 and played on the Futures Tour that season. She won the Laconia Savings Bank Golf Classic and en route to her first professional win broke the Tour's 18 hole scoring record, shooting a 62. She earned non-exempt status for the LPGA Tour at the 2004 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament.

Blasberg started on the LPGA Tour in 2005, making the cut in most of her early events but not contending for top positions. She was disqualified from the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship in May 2005 when she left the scoring tent without signing her card.[5] Blasberg later told reporters that the rule infraction was poorly handled by the officials and that she should not have received a penalty.[6] The next week she made a hole in one and won a Mercury SUV. At mid-season she fired her caddie, because she "needed a change."[7] She ended 2005 109th on the money list.[8] She was chosen to play in the 2005 Lexus Cup, where she won two matches and halved another, including a 98 yard hole out on the 18th to win a match. In 2006, despite a late season rally she once again finished just outside the top one hundred on the money list, but a successful tournament at Qualifying School in the fall of 2006 won her exempt status for 2007 — the first and only time in her career she had exempt status on the LPGA Tour.

In 2007, she finished 104th on the money list. She chose not to return to Qualifying School, leaving her once again as a non-exempt player for 2008. In 2008 her results were only marginally better than in 2007. She played 23 tournaments and, while she did earn the only top-10 finish of her career, she again finished near the bottom of the LPGA money list.

She returned again to Qualifying School in 2009 in an attempt to improve her status on Tour for the 2010 season but withdrew after shooting rounds of 72 and 78 in the final stage of the Tournament. She entered 2010 with limited playing opportunities and played just one tournament, the Tres Marias Championship in Morelia, Mexico where she finished tied for 44th after Monday qualifying for the event. During the tournament week, Blasberg participated in a "Back to College" event at which she joined fellow players Mina Harigae and Mariajo Uribe in visiting student-athletes at the Universidad Latina De America in Morelia to answer questions on golf and education.[9]

Blasberg was considered one of the LPGA's more photogenic players and in February 2006 Puma signed her to endorse and wear their clothing.[10][11] She has been compared her to Natalie Gulbis, an LPGA golfer who did a swimsuit calendar.[12]

Death[edit]

Blasberg was found dead with a plastic bag secured over her head at her Henderson, Nevada home on the afternoon of May 9, 2010, according to local police.[11][13][14][15][16] Officers had been dispatched in response to a 911 call by Dr. Thomas Hess around 3:00 p.m. (PT).[17] In an interview with the Riverside County Press-Enterprise on May 10, Blasberg's father, Mel Blasberg, was quoted saying, "At first glance it looks like she might have taken her own life, but at second glance, something is very, very strange about it. We're waiting for the police to make an investigation."[2] Missy Pederson, who was supposed to be Blasberg's caddy at a May 10 qualifying round for the Bell Micro LPGA Classic in Mobile, Alabama, told the New York Times that Blasberg had sent her a text in the early morning hours of May 9. In the message, Blasberg told Pederson she was not going to play in the tournament. A worried Pederson sent a text back to Blasberg, asking if she was all right, but Blasberg never replied.[18] However, Blasberg's agent revealed that Blasberg's bags were packed at the time of her death.[19]

On May 13, 2010, police in Henderson, Nevada, executed a search warrant for the home and office of Hess in the ongoing investigation into Blasberg's death.[20] The search warrant listed an anti-anxiety medication, Xanax, plastic garbage bags, and a sample of Hess's handwriting.[20] An inventory of the materials seized in the search of Hess's house included two computers, a cell phone, two video cameras and a GPS unit. A computer and white trash bags were seized from Hess's office.[20] CBS also reported that a white trash bag, similar to the one seized from Hess's office or home, was found near Blasberg's body.[21] Blasberg's father appeared on The Early Show on June 2, 2010, and denied that his daughter was clinically depressed, having financial troubles or was otherwise unhappy with her recent performances.[21]

On August 24, 2010, the Clark County Coroner's office ruled Blasberg's death a suicide. Asphyxia was cited as the primary cause, with multiple prescription drugs named as an additional "significant factor." The drugs in Blasberg’s system included butalbital, temazepam, alprazolam (Xanax), codeine, hydrocodone, and tramadol, according to the coroner. Nevada law does not permit the release of details on the amounts of medication.

Henderson police said foul play was not suspected, but issued an arrest warrant for Hess, who discovered the body, on obstruction of justice charges.[17][22] In November 2010, Hess admitted to removing a suicide note and prescription pills from the scene "to spare the family embarrassment.” He pled guilty to misdemeanor obstruction, and was sentenced to one year’s probation and 40 hours of community service.[23] The handwritten suicide note revealed that Blasberg had attempted suicide many times in the months leading up to her death, and she admitted to being lonely and feeling tormented by the lack of success in her golf career.[24] Erica Blasberg is interred at Pacific View Memorial Park, Corona del Mar, California.

Professional wins (1)[edit]

Futures Tour wins (1)[edit]

Results in LPGA majors[edit]

Tournament 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Kraft Nabisco Championship CUT DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
LPGA Championship DNP DNP DNP T76 CUT CUT
U.S. Women's Open CUT DNP DNP T39 DNP DNP
Women's British Open DNP DNP DNP DNP T64 DNP

DNP = did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied
Yellow background for top-10.

LPGA Tour career summary[edit]

Year Tournaments
played
Cuts
made
Wins 2nd 3rd Top 10s Best
finish
Official
earnings ($)
Money
list rank
Scoring
average
Scoring
rank
2003 1 0 0 0 0 0 T49 n/a n/a 68.75 n/a
2004 3 0 0 0 0 0 MC n/a n/a 75.83 n/a
2005 16 12 0 0 0 0 T31 52,522 T109 73.23 75
2006 16 10 0 0 0 0 T25 62,477 112 72.37 58
2007 19 11 0 0 0 0 T18 72,037 104 73.45 80
2008 23 11 0 0 0 1 T8 113,428 94 73.09 96
2009 17 5 0 0 0 0 T36 26,408 128 73.55 113
2010 1 1 0 0 0 0 T44 5,544 971 73.00 n/a

1Money list ranking as of May 2, 2010, at the end of her last tournament.

Team appearances[edit]

Amateur

  • Curtis Cup: (representing the United States): 2004 (winners)

Professional

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b California Births 1905–1995 search for Erica Blasberg
  2. ^ a b Swanson, Mirjam (May 10, 2010). "Former Corona High star and LPGA pro, Erica Blasberg, dead at 25". The Press Enterprise. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  3. ^ 2000 U.S. Girls' Junior
  4. ^ 2003 U.S. Women's Amateur
  5. ^ Associated Press (May 12, 2005). "Sorenstam trying to start another win streak". ESPN. Retrieved February 16, 2008. 
  6. ^ Blasberg, Erica (May 18, 2005). "Painful lesson ends tournament early". The Press Enterprise. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  7. ^ Blasberg, Erica (July 18, 2005). "Rookie Blog – Erica Blasberg, Entry 4". LPGA.com. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  8. ^ LPGA money list history lpga.com. Retrieved February 18, 2012.
  9. ^ ""Back to College" at Tres Marias Championship". YouTube. April 27, 2010. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  10. ^ "PUMA Signs LPGA Rising Star Erica Blasberg". Dexigner. February 10, 2006. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Hack, Damon (May 10, 2010). "Blasberg found dead, police investigating". Golf.com. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  12. ^ ESPN Radio (June 15, 2005). "Women of AllNight: Erica Blasberg". ESPN. Retrieved February 16, 2008. 
  13. ^ Achenbach, James (May 19, 2010). "Blasberg funeral filled with tears, tributes". Golfweek.com. Retrieved June 3, 2010. 
  14. ^ Golfweek.com (May 10, 2010). "LPGA player Erica Blasberg, 25, dies". Golfweek.com. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  15. ^ Garcia, Oskar (May 10, 2010). "LPGA player Blasberg dies; police investigating". Associated Press (via Yahoo). Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  16. ^ News Provider (May 10, 2010). "LPGA golfer Erica Blasberg mysteriously died at 25". News Provider. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  17. ^ a b CBS News, Erica Blasberg's Death Ruled Suicide; Golfer's Doctor Arrested August 25, 2010. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  18. ^ USAToday (May 13, 2010). "Erica Blasberg texted about not being able to make an LPGA tourney hours before death". USAToday. Retrieved June 3, 2010. 
  19. ^ ESPN (May 11, 2010). "Agent: Blasberg had bags packed". ESPN. Retrieved June 3, 2010. 
  20. ^ a b c Associated Press (May 13, 2010). "Doctor's office searched in probe". Associated Press. Retrieved June 3, 2010. 
  21. ^ a b Kauffman, Hattie (June 2, 2010). "Erica Blasberg's Father Speaks Out". CBS News. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  22. ^ Wilson, Jeff (August 24, 2010). "Coroner says LPGA golfer Blasberg death a suicide". USA Today. Retrieved August 24, 2010. 
  23. ^ NYTimes.com "Doctor in Blasberg Case Enters Plea". December 2, 2010. Retrieved December 30, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Erica Blasberg Suicide Note Revealed". March 2, 2011. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 

External links[edit]