FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Phyllis and Randy Meier have two predominant wardrobe colors: red and green.
Red (actually, scarlet) is for the days one of them is following their daughter Amy, a junior at Ohio State, around the golf course. Green is for the days they’re following the other daughter Christine, a sophomore at Michigan State.
“Then there are some days they’ll go tan head to toe,” Amy Meier said. “Totally neutral.”
There’s nothing neutral when it comes to the Meier sisters, though.
“It’s definitely a rivalry,” Christine Meier said.
“There’s always that little bit of sister rivalry. Always. You’re never going to get around it.”
Considering they both play for Big Ten rival schools, Amy and Christine play each other several times a season, including in the Big Ten Championships. Championships won in 2011 and 2012 by Christine’s Spartans is something that doesn’t sit well with big sister.
“That was a bit tough to swallow,” Amy said, “but you move on.”
This week, they’re competing against each other for the first time in the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship, being contested this year at the Vanderbilt Legends Club.
Growing up in Rochester Hills, Mich., right outside of Detroit, the Meier sisters played on the same high school team and in many junior tournaments against each other.
Just before her senior year of high school began, Amy committed to Ohio State.
“You go on all these recruiting trips and you see all these campuses and it was just the right fit,” Amy Meier said. “Loved the team, loved the atmosphere. Just far enough away from home.”
Amy’s decision essentially crossed Ohio State off Christine’s list. Not in so much as she wanted distance from her sister, but more because she wanted to blaze her own trail and had loved the Spartans since she was a young girl.
“She’s had Michigan State on her mind since she was 12,” Randy Meier said.
“We had a summer sitter who went to Michigan State. From that point on she kind of indoctrinated Christine into Michigan State,” Phyllis Meier said.
Amy and Christine have only been paired together one time in their college careers. That was during Amy’s home tournament, the Lady Buckeye Spring Invitational, earlier this season.
They ended up playing for 36 holes, with Amy helping spur Ohio State to the win while tying for fourth, one of five top-10 finishes for her this season. Michigan State was the runner up, with Christine tying for 29th.
In Tuesday’s first round, the Meier sisters’ tournament within a tournament produced a draw of sorts. Amy shot a 1-over par 73 to best Christine’s score by one stroke, but Christine’s Michigan State team had the better day overall. The Spartans shot a 296 to stand in 10th place, seven stroke and 10 spots ahead of Ohio State.
Even this close together in the biggest tournament of their seasons, the sisters keep a bit of a distance.
Catherine sat on a small set of bleachers next to the No. 9 green watching her teammates finish, while Amy huddled with her team on a grassy mound overlooking their finishing hole, the 18th.
In between, Phyllis and Randy watched from atop a small hill, a parental Switzerland in Tuesday’s friendly family feud.
“I think they love it more than we do,” Christine Meier said. “They’ll text each other during the round and say, ‘Christine just birdied this hole!’ ‘Amy just birdied that hole!’. They really enjoy seeing us play, let alone against each other.”
Despite the distance they sometimes keep, and the desire to one-up each other, neither sister can deny the bond that exists between them.
“Oh yeah,” Amy said. “We grew up playing each other in all these tournaments. We always want to beat each other, but it’s nice to be sisters at the same time.”
“You want to win, which means you have to beat her,” Christine said. “That’s just kind of the way it is, and we’ve realized that for a long time. But it’s always fun. I think we’re each other’s biggest supporters. She’s had a great year, and it’s really exciting to see. And I think when I do well she’s equally as happy for me. It’s always fun to have someone out there cheering for you.”
Of course, the biggest cheers in Wednesday’s second round will come from mom, following Amy in her scarlet and gray, and dad, following Christine in his Spartan green.