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Great expectations follow Latrobe's Anna Wears, granddaughter of Palmer

| Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, 11:15 p.m.

It's not easy being the grandchild of a sports legend.

Just ask PGA golfer Sam Saunders or his cousins, Will Wears and Anna Wears.

When you're the grandchild of Arnold Palmer, expectations are high just because of who he is. And the pressure doesn't necessary come from him.

It's something Palmer's grandchildren must deal with on and off the golf course.

“We are very privileged, but with that privilege there comes some expectations that we can't always meet,” Anna Wears said. “There is the pressure people put on us and the pressure we put on ourselves.

“People see who our grandfather is and they expect perfection.”

Will Wears is a freshman playing golf at Loyola in Baltimore. Anna Wears misses her brother because he's helped her game.

Anna Wears, a junior, decided to drop tennis and play golf this season. It took a poor performance on the golf course to convince her to pick a sport.

So she put away her tennis racket and decided it was time to work more on her golf game.

Anna Wears played in a PGA Junior Series event at Penn State and did not play well. It was her first big event.

“It was the deciding point whether I wanted to play or not,” Anna Wears said. “I played really bad, but it definitely a learning experience.

“I guarantee you not playing well made me a better player today.”

Anna Wears said golf is in her future, and she needs to get better. Latrobe golf coach Scott Reaugh said he's glad she switched.

“She had fun playing tennis with her friends as a sophomore,” Reaugh said. “She brings consistency to the team. I know she's going to post a 40 or 41 and maybe 39, but no higher. That's something some of the boys don't do.

“She also has the boys working harder because they don't want to get beat by her. She's made us better and she's going to get better.”

Wears advanced to the WPIAL Girls Individual Championship by shooting an 83 at Vandergrift Golf Course on Wednesday. It was far better than her scores at the PGA Junior Series tournament.

She said she'd love to win a WPIAL title, but she knows that will be tough. So her goal is to qualify for the state tournament.

She described her round at Vandergrift as lazy, pointing out she had some good, and some inexcusable shots.

“It definitely could have been better,” Anna Wears said. “I don't know why it happened, maybe it was nerves.

“Golf is a different kind of game and I like it. It's not instant gratification — you have to stick with it. You have stay with the bad shots until you get to some good.”

Because golf may be in her future, she made a difficult decision. She had hoped to play both golf and tennis, but realized how exhausting it would be.

“I played tennis, had fun and got to be with my friends, but I knew golf was my game,” Anna Wears said. “That's want I wanted to play even if it meant playing on a boys team.

“I'm thinking about playing golf in college. It's a matter of how much I want school to be about school and what I want to do with golf after school.”

But when it comes to working on her golf game, she either turns to her brother or her grandfather.

“I take bits and pieces from everyone,” Anna Wears said. “My grandfather has been a huge impact on my game, but Will has been, too.

“We've always been close. When he lived in North Carolina, he had to be my teacher and taught me the fundamentals, and he was patient with me. So I just kind of followed him around.”

So does Anna Wears deal with pressure?

She said she would get nervous when Palmer would come to events, but now that they live in Latrobe and she knows him better, she's more relaxed.

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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