New Course Awaits Annikas Shot at History
With a victory, Sorenstam can become the first LPGA Tour player to win the same major three straight years. But she wont be able to rely on her winning experiences at DuPont Country Club to accomplish the feat.
The Swedish star will have to figure out Bulle Rock golf course, the new home of the event.
After 18 years in Wilmington, Del., the LPGA Championship shifted 40 miles south to Maryland and Bulle Rock, a Pete Dye design with plenty of elevation changes, challenging short and long holes, slick, undulating greens and the Dye staple'railroad ties.
Bulle Rock will play about 6,500 yards to a par of 72 for the event June 9-12 that also will feature 15-year-old Michelle Wie.
Sorenstam said she will miss DuPont.
I love the old, traditional golf courses, with the tall trees, she said. Its a demanding golf course in many ways. You have to hit it long, you have to be accurate, you have firm greens and you have rough. Put that together and that means a great golf course for a major championship.
In last years final round, Sorenstam played down the wrong fairway and hit a wedge from just under 100 yards over a row of trees and past a bunker within 3 feet for a birdie at No. 16 that helped secure a three-shot victory.
It was one of those career shots that Ill never forget, she said.
The venue change leaves Sorenstam with mixed feelings.
I finally figured out the course and theyre moving the event, Sorenstam said Monday in a conference call at the tournaments media day. Ive heard a lot of wonderful things about the new place ... I just hope it wont take seven or eight years to figure it out.
After a tie for 30th in the 1998 LPGA, Sorenstam finished tied for 16th (99), tied for 12th (2000), fifth (01) and third (02) before winning consecutive titles.
Not much has stumped Sorenstam during the last few years. She has won six of her last seven tournaments, and eight of the last 11.
She failed in a bid to win a record six straight events at Kingsmill two weeks ago, and settled for tying Nancy Lopezs record of five in a row.
Since the start of the 2001 season, she has won 37 times overall and raised her LPGA Tour win total to 60, tied with Patty Berg for third place on the career list behind Kathy Whitworth (88) and Mickey Wright (82).
But records dont drive Sorenstam, goals do. And one of her pursuits this year is the Grand Slam. After a victory in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA Championship is the next step.
Its in the back of my mind, Sorenstam said. I know what I want to do, and now Im focusing more on the process of how to do it.
Sorenstam doesnt expect to change the way she prepares for the event just because theres a possible record in the offing.
Im going to stay with my routine, she said. Ive tried different strategies to try to defend a title, coming in a few weeks early to play a round or two. But it never really worked out for me. So, Im going to stick to what I normally do.
Im excited about the opportunity to play a new golf course.
Patty Sheehan, a three-time winner of the LPGA Championship, is confident Sorenstam can adapt quickly to the conditions at Bulle Rock.
Shes winning more than shes losing, said Sheehan, a six-time major champion with 35 career titles. So, I think the odds are that shes going to come in here and learn the golf course quickly, and if she doesnt win, Ill be surprised.
And while Sorenstam has shown she can get from tee to green as well as any player, she might need to brush up on her geography heading into the second major of the year.
Laying out her plans heading into the event, Sorenstam mixed up her directions.
Ill defend my title at the Corning Classic in two weeks, and then Im playing ShopRite (outside Atlantic City), she said.
Ill head a little north, Sorenstam said, drawing a few chuckles from the crowd before being corrected.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings
Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.
Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.
As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.
"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."
Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.
Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.
Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut
If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.
Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.
But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.
Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.
Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:
Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180
Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70
Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5
Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450
Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200
Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000
Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements
SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.
Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.
“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.
“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”
Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.
“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.
Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.
Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim.
Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.