A Battle Between Sorenstam Creamer

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2005, 5:00 pm
2004 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. --This being Donald Trumps place, Annika Sorenstam and Paula Creamer might as well have been inside the board room arguing their case.
 
Instead, their dispute took place on the 18th fairway at Trump International late Thursday night, the top two players on the LPGA Tour arguing over where Sorenstams tee shot crossed the hazard and whether she should have gone back to the tee for her next shot.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam found herself in a rules dispute with playing partner Paula Creamer during the first round of the ADT Championship.
No one got fired.
 
And Creamer says there were no hard feelings, although she stared hard in Sorenstams direction when the Swede was talking to reporters, and the 19-year-old rookie later engaged in an animated conversation with LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens and rules official Janet Lindsay.
 
Even so, it might have been seedlings for a rivalry between the undisputed star in womens golf and a rising rookie who wasnt about to back down.
 
It was her word versus my word, Creamer said.
 
Were standing 220 yards away, and were talking about inches, Sorenstam said.
 
By the way, the leader after the first round of the season-ending ADT Championship was Hee-Won Han, who chipped in for birdie on the last hole for a 5-under 67.
 
Sorenstam was tied for the lead until a double bogey on the 18th hole, where she got the drop she wanted but still three-putted from 40 feet and wound up with a 69. Creamer two-putted for par on the last hole, played in the gloaming because the dispute took so long, and had a 68.
 
Round two is Friday, which will start with a tee shot, not a bell.
 
The dispute centered around Sorenstams tee shot on the 420-yard closing hole, with water down the entire right side and a bunker that feeds into the lake. Creamer hit the middle of the fairway. As evening clouds gathered, Sorenstam hit a 4-wood that the strong breeze carried slightly to the right.
 
There was no splash. They found the ball inside the red hazard line, plugged.
 
It came in as a little banana, Sorenstam said, reasoning that it had to cross the land before going beyond the red hazard line.
 
Creamer thought it was over the water during its entire flight, meaning Sorenstam would have had to hit her third shot from the tee. The walking scorer tried to get involved, saying he saw it hit land.
 
How could it trickle in if its in the sand? Creamer later said.
 
Another person in the gallery also said he saw it hit land, adding to the confusion.
 
I dont know if it was a banana ball, Creamer said. I think it did not cross up there. It was her word. Shes the player.
 
That was the conclusion reached by Lindsay, the rules official in the middle of the debate. In case of a tie, the decision goes to the player who hit the ball.
 
I dont think she was unhappy, Lindsay said of Sorenstam.
 
Sorenstam might rule the LPGA, but Creamer wasnt about to give her an inch.
 
I dont feel that it crossed (the hazard). Were never going to agree because she saw it differently, Creamer said. In my heart of hearts, I did not see it cross. Its her conscience. If she thinks it did, it did.
 
It wasnt their only dispute.
 
On the 16th green, after Sorenstam played a difficult chip from the side of a bunker to about 6 feet, the Swede asked if she could fix what appeared to be a pitch mark in the line of her putt. Creamer thought it was a scuff mark, made by spikes, that couldnt be repaired.
 
When Sorenstam called for a rules official, Creamer told her to go ahead and fix it, then turned her back as Sorenstam stooped down to make the repair. Sorenstam missed the putt.
 
Creamer already has made it clear she has designs on replacing Sorenstam at No. 1. She won twice this year, including an eight-shot victory at the Evian Masters in France, and further stated her case as a rising star with her play at the Solheim Cup.
 
Sorenstam already sent one message to the youngsters. She won by eight shots at the Samsung World Championship last month when 16-year-old Michelle Wie made her professional debut. The Swede is going for her 10th victory of the year at Trump International, and already has 65 career wins.
 
But the gloves came off in the gloaming at Trump International.
 
Asked if Creamer was satisfied with the drop, Sorenstam said, She didnt have to worry. She was in the fairway. It was probably the most fair thing.
 
Lost in the argument was a roller-coaster round for both of them.
 
Creamer started strong with four birdies on the first six holes, until she hit a hybrid club into the water on the par-3 seventh and made double bogey.
 
Sorenstam, the defending champion, was at 6 under and in the lead until she caught a buried lie in the slope of a bunker right of the 14th green, barely able to identify the ball. She blasted away, only to see the ball roll back into her footprint. She was lucky to get that one out, to about 45 feet, and had to made a 12-footer for double bogey.
 
Back she came, hitting 7-wood from 210 yards to 15 feet for eagle to restore her lead.
 
Then came the bogey on the 16th, and the final hole that could serve as the beginning of some interesting times.
 
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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”