Sorenstams New Goal 3 Out of 4

By Associated PressApril 1, 2004, 5:00 pm
LOS ANGELES -- After a disappointing finish in the first major of the year, Annika Sorenstam has set her sights on three-fourths of a Grand Slam.
The LPGA's six-time player of the year couldn't recover from a second-round 76 and finished tied for 13th in last week's Kraft Nabisco, eight strokes behind winner Grace Park.
'The reason I set four majors as my goal is that it's something that's never been achieved and that's what keeps me motivated: to do something I've never done,' Sorenstam said Thursday. 'I'm disappointed about that, but I have to move on. Now I want to win three majors.'
Sorenstam believes setting lofty goals keeps her competitive. She has six majors -- including last year's LPGA Championship and the Women's British Open to wrap up a career Grand Slam -- among her 49 titles.
At 33, she's already won her way into the LPGA Hall of Fame.
'There are always goals to find,' said Sorenstam, who opens defense of her Office Depot Championship on Friday at El Caballero Country Club. 'If I wake up one day and I don't have natural goals or I don't feel motivated or I don't feel excited, well, then it's time to do something else.
'Since I didn't achieve this (2004 Grand Slam), then it's in the back of my mind. I still enjoy playing, that's for sure.'
Always looking for new challenges, Sorenstam found a significant test when she played against the men in the Colonial last year, the first woman since 1945 to compete on the PGA Tour. She shot 71-75 to miss the cut, but certainly didn't embarrass herself.
She said it also helped her game.
'The experience I got being under the microscope and the way I prepared and the way I worked on my short game, there were so many things that I learned from Colonial that helped me last year and to carry on this year,' Sorenstam said.
'I've improved so much in my short game since Colonial and I have a lot to be thankful for all the tips I got from the guys and practicing with the guys and seeing how they play.'
Sorenstam is happy to be playing this week in Los Angeles, where she's had great success. Last year she won at El Caballero Country Club for the first of her six 2003 titles.
In 2001 at Wilshire Country Club, she charged from 10 shots back starting the final round to win, the biggest comeback in LPGA history. Sorenstam shot a 66 to overtake Pat Hurst, then beat Mi Hyun Kim in a playoff.
Two years ago at El Caballero, Sorenstam finished second, one shot behind Se Ri Pak.
'I've always liked old, traditional courses and this is one of those. This is a course that fits my game really well,' Sorenstam said. 'You have to hit your iron shots in the right place and that's my strength. There are some par-5s you can reach here if you're a little longer and I've had the chance to do that.
'There are trickier par-3s and all the things what I see as being my strengths and I think that's why I've played well here.'
Sorenstam, not given to complaining, does have one gripe -- slow play. She noted that her second round at Rancho Mirage last week took five hours, 45 minutes.
'That was outrageous,' she said. 'It's no fun to play when it takes that long and not just for the players, for the fans. Who wants to be on the course all day long?
'It's all about preparing when it's not your turn and then when it is your turn, you hit and move on. I think that would speed up play for sure.'
Related Links:
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    Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

    By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

    Tiger Woods teed off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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    Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

    Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

    As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

    Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

    This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

    The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

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    Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

    PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

    She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

    “I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

    Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

    “Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

    She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

    “I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

    Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

    She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

    “They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

    Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

    While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

    “Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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    Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

    PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

    In fact, she named her “Mona.”

    For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

    While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

    And that has her excited about this year.

    Well, that and having a healthy back again.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

    Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    “Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

    Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

    She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

    Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.