You’d think that a Top 20 finish in the prestigious Ricoh Women’s British Open would warrant a break for Cristie Kerr. But after playing four tough rounds in the unforgiving Scottish winds over the weekend, Kerr is slated to be the guest of honor at an intimate, three-course dinner at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel Denver’s Edge Restaurant tonight. And, of course, after this event concludes, it’s on to the next tournament, business meeting (Kerr is the owner of Curvature Wines and an investor in Double Cross Vodka) or charity function. Somehow, though, we were able to catch up with the two-time majors winner to discuss golf, giving back and getting into the beverage business.
Where do you find the energy for all of the traveling?
I have been traveling like this for 16 years on tour, and I have found that it’s all in the preparation to make traveling as enjoyable as possible. Airport customs is the biggest bother, but it seems like there are fast-track improvements in the works. I get as much rest as possible and take advantage of services in airports and hotels, like the spa, massage and exercise. My husband travels with me frequently, which is a big help. We try to make each trip an adventure by visiting our favorite local places at cities around the world. Even with all that, it still can be a grind sometimes.
You, Inbee Park, British Open winner Stacy Lewis and some of the other golfers are playing really well but still seem to fall under the mainstream sports radar. Do you wish the LPGA got more attention here in the States?
It’s a tough situation because the sports landscape in the USA is very crowded, especially for women’s sports organizations. While it would be great to be more popular domestically, we are doing very well in global growth markets like Korea, Singapore, China and Taiwan. Tour ratings globally are at the highest ever, and we are strong in America but we need to continually work on building our fan base and attracting sponsors. My corporate partners, like Lacoste, Audemars Piguet and Duff & Phelps, have recognized and benefitted from that global growth of our tour.
As for this event at Four Seasons Denver, it sounds pretty special. What aspect of the evening are you looking forward to most?
I am a huge Four Seasons fan, so visiting its hotel and dining with friends and new acquaintances will be fun. To see how the culinary masters pair our spirits [the meal will feature Curvature wines and Double Cross Vodka cocktails] with food is always great. We have the biggest event in our sport in Denver next week, the Solheim Cup, so this will be a nice warm-up in a terrific food and golf town.
You are an investor with Double Cross Vodka, one of the night’s partners. What made you partner with the brand?
Double Cross is a great brand with high standards for product and experiences. It truly understands the luxury market, and great spirits seem to go well with golf and the lifestyle. I am proud to be associated with the company and love the management team. Everywhere we go in the world, we introduce people to the brand. The bottle design is a conversation starter. And when people taste it, they have an immediate appreciation for the quality.
Tell me the perfect two- or three-course meal to go with the vodka.
I am a martini girl. I like my Double Cross dry, shaken, very cold and garnished with blue-cheese-stuffed olives. I like that with a starter of mussels moulinier or a fresh Caesar salad. Then, I like a strip steak seared with fresh roasted garlic — basically, great steakhouse or bistro fare. I also love Double Cross with Asian food, especially Thai and Chinese.
You also have Curvature Wines in your portfolio. What’s the biggest difference between the two beverage worlds?
The biggest difference is availability. Most of our Curvature vintages are sold out through 2009. Once they are gone, they are gone forever. You can never make more wine like you can with vodka. Also, we get a different vintage character every year based on what the harvest yields. Sally Johnson and her winemaking team at Pride Mountain craft consistently excellent wines but with different characteristics every year. Double Cross is consistently excellent every year. They are both hard markets to break into at the retail and consumer level. I am very involved in the development and promotion of the wines while, with Double Cross, I am more involved promotionally.
I understand that all of Curvature’s profits go to breast cancer research. Why is that cause so near to your heart?
My mom was diagnosed in 2003 and, thankfully, got treated early and is now in remission. We started a foundation [Birdies for Breast Cancer] and opened a center in New Jersey to help fight the disease and have raised over $2 million to date.
Photo Courtesy of Cristie Kerr and Kings Mill