Solid Starts for Ochoa Creamer

By Associated PressMay 31, 2007, 4:00 pm
Ginn Tribute Hosted by AnnikaMOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. -- Annika Sorenstam's return to the LPGA Tour was better than she hoped. Michelle Wie's literally went down the drain Thursday at the Ginn Tribute.
Sorenstam was satisfied with her even-par 72 after nearly two months off the tour because of a ruptured disk and a bulging disk. Wie withdrew after shooting 14 over for 16 holes -- including a 10 on the par-5 third when her drive hit a parked car and fell down a storm drain -- and saying she had reaggravated a season-long wrist injury.
Rookie Angela Park was the leader at 6-under 66, two shots ahead of a group that included top-ranked Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer and Pat Hurst.
The most attention, though, went to tournament host Sorenstam and Wie, the 17-year-old prodigy from Hawaii.
Sorenstam empathized with Wie.
'I know what it's like to have an injury,' the 36-year-old Sorenstam said. 'I guess mine healed better than hers.'
It certainly looked that way.
Sorenstam wasn't chuckling early at RiverTowne Country Club. She made bogeys on two of her first five holes. But like so many other times in her 13-year career, Sorenstam found her game down the stretch. She birdied three of her last four holes to walk off the course happy and content.
'I like to say the more I play, the more comfortable I'm going to get,' Sorenstam said.
If she gets any more comfortable, the rest of the field could be in trouble. Not so fast, Sorenstam says.
'It's a long way back and I have to be patient,' she said.
Wie might also need to find patience after leaving the tournament so quickly.
Wie 'tweaked' her wrist injury during the round. That was why, she said, she halted the round and not because of an LPGA Tour rule banning non-tour members for the season if they shoot 88 or higher.
Two bogeys on her final two holes would've put Wie on the number -- and perhaps out of some of her sponsor-exempted LPGA Tour events later this year.
Wie had both wrists bandaged during the round and briefly had her left wrist iced as she sat in the clubhouse.
It wasn't what Wie wanted after waiting nearly five months to tee off again.
'I think that when an injury is in the back of your mind, you're thinking, 'Oh, this is going to hurt,'' Wie said. 'The last thing you're thinking about is trying to hit the ball straight.'
Wie had trouble doing that all round.
She was 7 over after five holes. After settling in with a birdie on the 18th as she made the turn -- Wie lifted her arms in triumph when her approach stopped a foot away -- Wie crashed for good on the par-5 third hole with that quintuple bogey.
The first of her three tee shots bounced off a Ford and rolled into a roadway drain. 'It was actually quite funny,' Wie said.
Wie joked she wanted to crawl into the drain to prove the shot was in bounds. 'I kind of pulled my shot left and then it's all a blur,' she said.
Wie's provisional shot also was out of play in a pond. A third drive found the rough and led to the massive score.
'I feel sorry for her,' Ochoa said. 'But hopefully, she's OK.'
Wie said she plans to play in next week's major, the McDonald's LPGA Championship. 'I'm going to reanalyze it and kind of try to be smart about (recovering),' Wie said. 'But I definitely want to play.'
Leader Park's eyes grew wide with surprise when told Wie had left.
'Just having her around is actually a great honor because I looked up to her even though I was a year older,' Park said. 'I was like, 'Wow, she's really good for our age.''
Teenager MacKinzie Kline, born with a congenital heart defect, finished with a 14-over 86. The 15-year-old Kline, known as 'Mac,' was given a sponsor's exemption into the tournament by Sorenstam. The LPGA has allowed Kline to use a cart and oxygen during her rounds because she tires more easily.
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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.