Annika Not Stepping Aside for Youngsters

By Associated PressAugust 24, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 WendyDUBLIN, Ohio - Annika Sorenstam spent the last couple of weeks swimming with dolphins and relaxing in the sun. This week, she jumps back in with the sharks.
 
Envied and challenged by a pack of budding young stars, Sorenstam is coming off vacation to make her first appearance in four years at the Wendy's Championship for Children starting Thursday.
 
``We all enjoy seeing the young guns, so to speak,'' she said Wednesday after a practice round at Tartan Fields Golf Club. ``You know, it's the future of women's golf. Obviously, I'm not going to step away too easily. I'm very competitive and I like the spot I'm in.''
 
Sorenstam, back from a two-week respite in Florida that included boating, wake-boarding and swimming with dolphins at Discovery Cove, is easily the most honored and recognized women's golfer in the world. A lock to win a record eighth LPGA player of the year award, she has won six times on tour this year.
 
A winner of 62 tour and 13 international events, including nine majors, she's hardly over the hill at the age of 34. Yet, there are several upstarts waiting to steal her throne, sooner or later.
 
``She's the best player maybe the game's ever seen,'' said amateur Morgan Pressel, playing in the Wendy's on a sponsor's exemption. ``She was definitely one of my biggest role models growing up. You don't want to copy anybody but the best. Getting to know her in the past year, I've just tried to take as much as I can.''
 
Pressel finished tied for second at the U.S. Women's Open, two shots back after Birdie Kim holed a sand shot on the final hole. The 17-year-old secretly measured herself against Sorenstam.
 
``At the Open, I sneaked by her by a few shots,'' Pressel said Wednesday. ``That was a good feeling.''
 
A distant No. 2 to Sorenstam on the LPGA money list, rookie Paula Creamer has two tour wins and her sights set on more.
 
``My goals were to win several times this year,'' said Creamer, who won the Sybase Classic in May and followed up with a win at the Evian Masters in July. She also won the NEC Karuizawa in Japan earlier this month.
 
The 19-year-old will be paired with Sorenstam the first two rounds.
 
``I want to see what she does,'' Creamer said. ``She's long off the tee, her course management is unbelievable, she rarely makes bogeys -- things like that that I've been aware of.''
 
First-year pros Creamer and Brittany Lang, who tied Pressel for second at the Open, 20-somethings Cristie Kerr, Christina Kim, Lorena Ochoa, Jeong Jang and Natalie Gulbis, along with amateurs Pressel, who is turning pro next May 23, when she turns 18, and Michelle Wie, who tied for third at the Women's British Open, are the next wave taking over the women's game. Wie turns 16 on Oct. 12, two years shy of meeting the LPGA age requirement of 18.
 
Sorenstam makes it clear she will not make it easy for her replacement.
 
``It's exciting to see the new generation but, having said that, I have personal goals,'' she said. ``If I want to stay competitive, I'm going to continue to play really hard and push myself. Otherwise, somebody else will take my spot.''
 
After the final round of the Wendy's, which includes 48 of the top 50 on the LPGA money list, U.S. captain Nancy Lopez will announce the 12-member Solheim Cup team. Lopez has two captain's picks, with the rest of the team earning spots based on their performance over the last two years.
 
Kerr, Gulbis, Kim and Creamer are assured of spots, along with veterans Meg Mallon, Juli Inkster, Rosie Jones and Pat Hurst.
 
Sorenstam will lead the European team at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., Sept. 9-11.
 
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry