Sorenstam Ready to Go

By Associated PressMay 21, 2003, 4:00 pm
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Annika Sorenstam was playing just like the guys in her group. She was hitting fairways, reaching some greens and leaving herself in position for pars and maybe even a birdie or two.
 
The gallery had grown to more than a hundred curious people by the time she hit her drive at No. 7, just missing the fairway into the right rough.
 
She got the ball back in the fairway, but only a few yards ahead after it ricocheted off a tree. Her approach landed in a greenside bunker, then she skipped a shot across the green into another one.
 
But Sorenstam wasn't keeping score Tuesday, for the good or the bad. It was only a practice round.
 
'I probably played nine good holes and nine bad holes,' she said after the round ended her nearly 13-hour day at Colonial Country Club.
 
On Thursday, Sorenstam will become the first woman in 58 years to play on the PGA Tour when she tees off in the Colonial. Every stroke will count and the crowds will be several times larger.
 
Only one player gets this much attention on the PGA Tour, and Tiger Woods is nowhere near the Colonial.
 
Nearly 600 media credentials have been issued, quadruple the normal for the tournament. Reporters and cameras document her every move, and a security detail surrounds her every step.
 
The spotlight is shining fully on Sorenstam.
 
'I'm still overwhelmed and I can't believe how many of you guys are here,' Sorenstam said. 'When I accepted the invitation, I must have been very naive. I'm doing this to test myself, and I didn't think everybody else wanted to test me at the same time.'
 
Sorenstam only wants to see how her game -- the best in women's golf -- will stack up against the men. After years of dreaming and three months of hype, the 32-year-old Swede is about to find out.
 
During her practice round Tuesday afternoon with Sergio Garcia, Jesper Parnevik and Tim Clark, Sorenstam at times split the fairway with her tee shots. She also hit into the elements -- trees, sand, water -- and often hit multiple shots.
 
'The course is tough, but I loved this,' Sorenstam said. 'I had a good time and the guys were very nice. Sergio especially taught me shots and shared some of his information. That's one of the reasons I'm here, it was perfect.'
 
After Sorenstam blasted a couple of balls out of the bunker at No. 7, Garcia -- the 2001 Colonial champ -- offered a few tips. She got to test what he told her at No. 8, hitting out of a bunker to about 6 feet on the par 3.
 
'If I shoot level par, I'll be so pleased,' Sorenstam said.
 
Parnevik, who joined the group for the final 13 holes, said Sorenstam seemed relaxed. And while he thinks she will shoot better than some expect, he believes it will be tough for her to make the cut.
 
'I would think if she breaks 75 two days in a row, that would be realistic,' he said. 'To make the cut, she will have to play her very best, and some.'
 
Ever since she decided in February to play on the PGA Tour, accepting a sponsor's exemption from Bank of America, Sorenstam has been besieged by questions: What will she shoot? Will she make the cut? How will she handle the pressure?
 
Like everybody else, she is ready to find out.
 
'I'm prepared. If I wait another week, three months or three years, I won't be any more prepared. I'm ready to go,' she said. 'This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I want to enjoy the week.'
 
The last woman to play on the PGA Tour was Babe Zaharias in 1945. She qualified for the Los Angeles Open and made the 36-hole cut, but was eliminated after a third-round 76.
 
Sorenstam will play the first two rounds with PGA Tour rookies Dean Wilson and Aaron Barber. All of their names, picked randomly by a computer, were drawn out of the category of players who haven't won or finished in the top 125 on the money list.
 
'It's a unique experience to be able to play with her in a tournament atmosphere like this,' said Wilson, who Tuesday wore a 'Go Annika' button he bought for $3 at Colonial's pro shop.
 
Some PGA Tour players have criticized Sorenstam's decision to play, and defending Colonial champ Nick Price called her appearance a publicity stunt. Barber and Wilson disagreed.
 
'She has every right to be in this tournament, and I'm all for her playing well,' Wilson said.
 
Barber said Sorenstam has 'earned this opportunity based on her resume.'
 
The most-watched group at Colonial starts on the 10th tee Thursday at 8:58 a.m., the last morning trio on the course. Their second round begins on the first tee at 1:43 p.m. Friday.
 
Woods called Sorenstam on her cell phone Monday morning to offer some final tips -- mostly how to cope with the media. He told her she better play well because he would be watching.
 
Along with millions of others.
 
Related Links:
  • ''Everything Annika'' Feature Page
  • Annika and the Colonial Timeline
  • Full Coverage of the Bank of America Colonial
     

    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

    Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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.

    Getty Images

    Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

    Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

    The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.