Caroline Inglis will play pretty much a “home game” at the Cambia Portland Classic this week
Caroline Inglis is feeling right at home.
She will be teeing off Friday afternoon at an LPGA tournament on her home course.
She’s getting an in-home discount with caddy service, too. Her husband is “on the bag” this week.
She also gets to highlight her sponsor, which is more than a business relationship. Playing for Cambia in the Cambia Portland Classic, well, that is personal for Inglis.
Oh, and she won’t have to stay in a hotel this week.
She lives just across the river from Columbia Edgewater Country Club, uptown in Vancouver.
That’s right. Vancouver is now home to a professional golfer who is coming back to form after a back injury, hoping to improve her game, and looking to contend.
“My husband Taylor and I really like living in Vancouver. It’s close enough to a big city but we love the small-town feel of Vancouver,” Inglis said. “We love going to the restaurants, coffee shops, and Farmer’s Market. We also really enjoy walking down by the waterfront. The people of Vancouver are so friendly.”
Now, the people of Clark County have a professional golfer to root for throughout the LPGA schedule.
Inglis excelled in college at the University of Oregon, becoming the first Duck to win the Pac-12 championship when she accomplished the feat in 2015. She debuted on the LPGA Tour with two events in 2017, recorded a top-10 finish at an event in 2018, but later suffered a back injury.
It took two years for her to return, but she’s back, gaining confidence. She made the cut in two majors this year. She earned her biggest paycheck to date at the Women’s British Open, making $41,000 for her 21st-place finish.
Now, she’s ready to play in the state she grew up in, on a course just a few minutes from her home.
Caroline and Taylor Klopp celebrated their one-year anniversary earlier this month. Taylor trades commodities.
“Taylor is a professional amateur golfer,” Caroline joked. “He plays more golf than anyone I know.
“He actually does do work. I swear,” she said.
This week, though, his job is caddy for Caroline.
They met in high school in Eugene. Inglis won three state titles while at Churchill High School before heading to the University of Oregon.
A career in golf was the expectation. She was making it work, too. Then that back injury that was more severe than an initial diagnosis.
“It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, golf-wise,” Inglis said.
She was told at first she just needed some time. She would get better. But after months of therapy and exhausting all of her options, she had surgery.
“The doubt: Am I ever going to be able to compete again? Am I going to be the same golfer?”
She relied on her family and her faith to pull her through the toughest of times.
“God never promised us that life would be easy, but He says that He will be there for us no matter what we are going through,” Inglis said. “I just had to keep reminding myself that He is always with me and sometimes His timing or His answer to our prayers is just different than what we want.”
For a while there, she was missing more than golf. She couldn’t even perform normal daily activities.
She worked her way back and returned to the LPGA Tour at the end of July.
“I doubted whether I’d be able to ever play golf again, which is why I am so thankful to be back out on tour now,” Inglis said. “It gave me perspective. I am so lucky to be able to play the game I love again.”
She missed the cut at her first two events, then made the cut for a small payday at the Scottish Open. The next week, at the AIG Women’s British Open, she tied for 21st.
“It has been amazing to be back on tour this year,” Inglis said. “Playing golf for a living is truly a dream come true, and I can’t put into words how happy I am to be back on tour.”
She said it was scary, those two years away from the game.
“My finish at the British Open this year helped me prove to myself that I can still compete,” she said. “It gave me a lot of confidence that my game is headed in the right direction.”
This week, she’s giving directions to her colleagues, such as how to get somewhere, or recommending restaurants. At a practice round Thursday for the Portland Classic, she worked on her game and played a bit of tour guide.
She also gets to show off her sponsor in her sponsor’s home city, as well.
Inglis proudly displays the Cambia Health Solutions logo on her golf bag. Cambia and Inglis have teamed up to donate money to the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute for every birdie she makes this year. Together, they want to raise awareness of the benefits of palliative care.
“My dad passed away from complications of Leukemia when I was a freshman in college,” Inglis said. “He underwent chemo, radiation, and a stem cell transplant at OHSU and had an amazing palliative care team. They made the cancer journey for our family much easier and helped immensely.”
The mission of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for the patient and family, using a team of specialists that provide an extra support system.
“I want other families that are going through similar struggles to have access to a palliative care team,” Inglis said. “That is why it is so near and dear to my heart.”
She is playing for them all year. And this week, she gets to do so on her home course.
The Cambia Portland Classic was shortened to three rounds this year due to the smoke in the area. Which means Friday is the first round. Inglis tees off at 1:43 p.m. Fans are not allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“I know all the hard work and preparation that has gone into making this event happen, and I am so grateful to be playing in it,” Inglis said. “It will be fun to have a ‘home game’ of sorts.”