Sorenstam Venturing Into Unknown

By Associated PressFebruary 14, 2003, 5:00 pm
Annika Sorenstam is venturing into the unknown, and even she isn't sure how she'll do against the men on the PGA Tour.
Pretty well, if you believe a few players who should know.
Phil Mickelson guesses Sorenstam will make the cut at the Colonial and finish 20th or so. Jack Nicklaus also thinks the most dominant player in women's golf will do well.
``The biggest problem she is going to have is the hard greens, which she doesn't see a lot on the women's tour,'' Nicklaus said. ``But she's a very good player. If she plays very well, would she finish in the top 20 or something? Could she win? Probably not. She's certainly capable of making the cut. She's a very good player.''
Sorenstam will be taking advantage of a relatively short course and one that suits her accurate game when she tees it up in Texas in May. She said Thursday she'll begin practicing playing on the back tees and work on her short game to get ready.
Sorenstam is nervous about playing with the men, and not sure how she will do. She does know one thing, though ' she won't be playing scared.
``I'm not afraid to face this at all,'' Sorenstam said. ``I'm going to enjoy the journey to Colonial.''
Sorenstam also left open the possibility of further forays into men's golf if she can do what no woman has done in nearly six decades and compete successfully in a PGA Tour event.
``Right now I'm just going to leave it at one and see what happens,'' Sorenstam said, before adding: ``I'm not ruling anything out now.''
Sorenstam's future options might be limited, even though she is the best player in women's golf and believes she can hit it far enough to compete on the 7,080-yard Colonial course.
Sorenstam admitted as much in echoing a complaint that many PGA Tour pros have ' that most of today's courses are set up to favor long hitters.
``There's 90 percent of courses on the PGA Tour where I wouldn't have a chance,'' Sorenstam said. ``It would be ridiculous to try.''
Sorenstam obviously believes that isn't the case at the Colonial, a shotmaker's course that favors straight hitters and where many long hitters will be using irons or fairway woods off the tees.
With Sorenstam hitting her drives 270 yards or so, that takes away some of the advantage the men might have over her.
``I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. That's my strength,'' she said. ``If I'm hitting a lot of shots out of the rough or chipping, that's not really my strength. I want to be a smart player there and put it in the middle of the fairway and on the greens.''
Billie Jean King, who was part of another historic event when she played Bobby Riggs in a tennis match nearly three decades ago, said the biggest problem Sorenstam will have is the uncertainty leading into the tournament.
``Annika has never been able to rehearse for this. It's extremely difficult to go through something unrehearsed,'' King said. ``Realistically, for you to play your best when you've had no rehearsal is going to be a tough challenge. However, because of how Annika is as an athlete, I think she will do very well. This is how you really find out if you have the nerves to handle the pressure.''
King's match with Riggs drew huge media attention, but it was a mere exhibition against an aging player. Sorenstam will be playing for real against more than 100 of the best players in the world in their prime.
``You have got to remember these are the best guys in the world and the course I'm going to play is tougher than I normally play,'' Sorenstam said. ``Hopefully I can take my game to a different level and it will help me.''
One player unlikely to be there is Tiger Woods, who hasn't played the Colonial since 1997. Woods said on Wednesday that if Sorenstam plays poorly it could be bad for women's golf.
``That's Tiger's opinion,'' Sorenstam said. ``This is good for women's golf. This is good for me in many ways. If I can play better golf after this I'll take it back to the LPGA and I'll raise the level there.''
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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.