Cracks Show in SÃ¶renstams Game
Nice thought, Annika, but don't bother making weekend reservations.
A sponsor's invitation will give Srenstam the chance to play with the best on the PGA Tour in May. She'll make history, but she has little chance of making the cut.
Two weeks into Srenstam's historic season, the flaws of her game are evident. Surprisingly, they have little to do with how far she hits the ball.
Srenstam may be the dominant player in women's golf, but the simple truth is she routinely makes the kind of short game mistakes that force PGA Tour players to spruce up their resumes and look for jobs as club pros.
She leaves long putts 20 feet short, flubs chips from the rough and doesn't seem to be able to master the flop shot.
Under pressure, she's jumpy. When the wind blows, she's erratic.
And when she needed to pump a long drive to get home in two on the 18th hole of the Kraft Nabisco Championship on Sunday, she swung as hard as she could only to hit it weakly into a bunker well right of the fairway.
That's not to say Srenstam isn't very good at what she does - mainly beating up on the women on the LPGA Tour.
She did it well enough last year to win 11 times, and so far this year has been in the final group in both tournaments she has played.
But on the LPGA Tour the courses are short, the rough is even shorter and the pins are generally planted in the middle of the green. Even the best players have a habit of regularly leaving putts well short, and there are only a handful of players capable of competing week in and week out.
When Srenstam goes to Texas in May to play the Bank of America Colonial, she'll be under media pressure she never dreamed possible in the cozy confines of the LPGA Tour. She'll find a golf course 7,080 yards long with tiny greens and pins stuck behind bunkers.
The wind will likely blow as it often does in Texas. Last year, there were 30 mph winds in the first round and a thunderstorm and gusty winds in the second round.
Still, the cut was only 3-over 143, proving that these guys really are that good.
Contrast that to a windy Friday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where Srenstam airmailed a wedge over the green on a short par 3, three-putted three times and walked off the course exhausted.
'I feel kind of worn out because I was thinking so much on the course,' she said.
That kind of thinking will only be magnified at Colonial, where Srenstam will be forced to do something she doesn't do well - shape the ball around trees and through narrow fairways. The men will bang drivers over bunkers and through bends in the fairway while she will have to lay up and hit a 7 wood into the green.
For Srenstam, there's no margin for error. She can't flub a chip shot, leave a putt well short or miss-club herself in the wind, all of which she did at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Players on the PGA Tour are used to slick greens, tough conditions and cutthroat competition. If they're within 50 yards of the green, they expect to get the ball up-and-down.
Srenstam isn't, and she tends to play worse under pressure as evidenced by the fact she has won only two major championships since 1996.
'I almost get too excited when the majors come and put too much pressure on myself,' Srenstam admitted in Phoenix two weeks ago.
Already, there is concern that Srenstam will damage the LPGA Tour with a bad showing.
Srenstam's fellow players have been told by LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw to be supportive, but on a tour with as many opinions and viewpoints as the LPGA, it's not easy to keep everyone on the same page.
LPGA player Angela Stanford, who lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and practiced at Colonial once a week for four years while in college, wrote a piece for Sports Illustrated last week predicting Srenstam will have trouble.
'If she misses the cut, then people will decide that the only reason she dominates our tour is because the rest of us stink,' Stanford said.
People who make a living figuring these kind of things out don't think much of Srenstam's chances, either. At the Palms sports book in Las Vegas, you can bet whether Srenstam will take more or less than 76 strokes to get through the first round.
Of course, there's not much precedent for figuring this one out. The last time a female played a PGA TOUR event, Babe Zaharias qualified for the 1945 Los Angeles Open and made the 36-hole cut before a 79 knocked her out of the final round.
In the end, you have to give Srenstam credit for trying.
You should applaud her for taking a chance no woman has taken in 58 years.
But if you want to see her play the Colonial, tune in before the weekend.
Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.
The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.
There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18
Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.
With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.
Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.
The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.
In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.