Annika a Comebacker

By Brian HewittMay 16, 2008, 4:00 pm
The Comebacker is saddened by the fact that Annika Sorenstam is stepping away from competitive golf. The Comebacker hopes she will return at a later date, but only if she wants to, not because we want her to.
 
With feedback on Annika and other issues; and without further ado:
 
Jerry writes: I am saddened to see such a positive influence on the game and women's tour in particular hang it up, but I respect her decision and wish her well. As you said, we have known now for some time her desire to start a family, and have seen her venture into areas other than tournament golf, so it isn't a shock that she is doing so as much as the timing. But that's what makes Annika so appealing to those of us who enjoy the game and the players who play for more than just the money and fame..Annika's first two U. S. Open wins were what captured me as a fan of hers for good. She has done nothing since to discourage my appreciation of her both as a golfer, and as a person. My only regret is that I have never been able to meet her personally. It remains one of the things I'd like to do before I die. I'm too old to have any romantic interests in her, and she is engaged to someone she obviously loves. That is not even on the radar screen for me, but I would love to have the chance to sit down and have a chat with her about golf and life in Sweden--another one of the things I'd like to do--go to Sweden.
 
The Comebacker
My sense is that there are a lot of people who would like to sit down and chat with Annika. So many fans. So little time.

 

Valerie writes: I was sorry to hear that Annika will be retiring at the end of this year. She has achieved and accomplished so much personally over the years in womens' golf and she will be sadly missed. The LPGA will NEVER be quite the same. She is a great AMBASSADOR for Ladies' Golf. Whatever the future brings to her, I wish her and Mike all the best. ANNIKA, YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
The Comebacker
What? Only 20 exclamation points?

 

Art writes: Bravo for Sergio! He played well and he was funny and kind in his acceptance speech. His news conference was fun. He poked fun at himself and was able to take a shot at the media members without it being nasty. He seemed to be at peace after so many near misses in the past blamed on everything and everyone but himself. His winning is good for him and good for golf in general. He is an exciting player with flair who could be a great rival of Tiger if he can duplicate his effort of this past week going forward. I hope he can as it will make golf even more enjoyable to watch. El Nino came up big!
 
The Comebacker
By the way, anybody notice that Paul Goydos second-place check was more than a million bucks?

 

Mike writes: Let's not put the crown on Sergio's head just yet. It was a nice win, no doubt, but let's see if he can back it up with another win. I'm not even talking about another Major, I mean another win. It's very easy to be likeable when you win; the true test is how one behaves when they lose or when things don't go their way. Even in winning Sergio felt compelled to take 'shots' at the media for criticizing his play. He needs to get over it, and realize that if he plays to his potential and stops blaming everyone and everything but himself for his failures the press will leave him alone.
 
The Comebacker
Yikes, pretty harsh for a guy who just won a big championship. Some of the criticism, however, is deserved.

 

Jeff writes: Golf is a crazy game - if Sergio misses the putt on 18 it would have been hard not to say he hadn't conquered his putting problems. What a difference in our minds and his that one putt made.
 
The Comebacker
Just ask Scott Hoch about the difference one putt makes.

 

Lon writes: Sergio's win has nothing to do with Stan solving his putting problems. It does, however, have to do with a reaffirmation of what we, the real golfing GC-ers already know, that SERG IS PERHAPS THE GREATEST OF ALL BALL STRIKERS ON TOUR TODAY...OR ANY DAY FOR THAT MATTER
 
The Comebacker
El Nino has a ways to go before he catches up to Hogan in the ball-striking department.

 
Wade writes: Do you think that by putting the pins on the edges of greens that the tour, in effect, is making things more boring or predictable by eliminating options? If the pin is on the left edge of the green next to a bunker, it would seem to me that the options for playing the shot are greatly reduced. Zzzzzzz...
 
The Comebacker
Good point. The Masters is now guilty of this as well in too many instances.

 

David writes: With all of the talk about The PLAYERS being the fifth major, my thoughts once again return to the past. I have read many times about how, during Mr. Nelson's, Palmer's and Nicklaus's time, the fifth major was without question the Canadian Open. This tournament was held in very high regard by all the players on tour, and Mr. Nicklaus has lamented about his seven second place finishes on more than one occasion.
 
The Comebacker
There are four majors. No more. No less.

 

Lameck writes: I want to suggest a different name for those treacherous holes at the TPC Sawgrass. The mystique of not knowing whether you will find your ball or not or the gusty winds that might creep in after a calm three days the myth of survival like walking in a known and unknown territory. It is that mystique to call it a Bermuda triangle where your lead can disappear.
 
The Comebacker
Frankly, Im fine with calling them the 16th, 17th and 18th holes at TPC Sawgrass. Golf people know what that means.

 

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  • Day finishes strong, leads Aussie Open by one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 25, 2017, 6:12 am

    Jason Day birdied three of his final five holes to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand in Sydney:

    Leaderboard: Day (-10), Lucas Herbert (-9), Jonas Blixt (-7), Matt Jones (-7), Cameron Smith (-6), Rhein Gibson (-5), Anthony Quayle (-5)

    What it means: Day has a great shot at his first victory – in his final start – in 2017. It’s been a frustrating campaign for Day, who has dropped to 12th in the Official World Golf Ranking. A win this week, in his native Open, would be a huge boost as he embarks on the 2018 season.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Day’s 2-under 69 wasn’t the lowest of the day, but it was the most important. Day parred his first 13 holes before birdies on Nos. 14 and 15. He bogeyed the 17th, but finished with a birdie at the par-5 18th for the outright lead.

    Best of the rest: Blixt’s 66 put him in position to win. Meanwhile, Japanese amateur Takumi Kanaya shot the low round of the day, a 6-under 65, to reach 4 under for the tournament.

    Biggest disappointment: No one really blew it on Saturday, but Jordan Spieth was unable to make a move. His 1-under 70 has him eight shots off the lead. Herbert managed an even-par 71 but he had a two-stroke lead until an errant tee shot at the par-3 11th. Speaking of which …

    Shot of the day: Not every Shot of the Day is a great shot. Herbert made a long birdie putt on the eighth and was two clear of the field through 10 holes. But he hit his tee shot long at the 11th and was not able to find it. He had to re-tee, made double bogey and lost his advantage. He’s now chasing a major champion in the final round.

    Spieth stalls on Moving Day at Australian Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 25, 2017, 4:30 am

    Moving Day? Not so much for Jordan Spieth in Round 3 of the Emirates Australian Open.

    Spieth, the defending champion and also a winner in 2014, continued to struggle with his putter, shooting 1-under 70 on Saturday at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

    “I was leaving them short yesterday and today it was kind of misreading, over-reading. I missed a lot of putts on the high side – playing wind or more break,” he said. “I just really haven’t found a nice marriage between line and speed to get the ball rolling.”


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    The world No. 2 started the day eight off the pace and was unable to make a charge. He had three birdies and two bogeys, including a 4 at the par-5 finishing hole.

    Spieth praised his ball-striking in the wind-swept conditions, but lamented his putting, which has hampered him throughout the week.

    “Ball-striking’s been fantastic. Just gotta get the putts to go,” he said.

    Spieth, who is scheduled to compete in next week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, is still holding out hope for a third title in four years at this event. He fired a brilliant 63 in very windy conditions to prevail in ’14.

    “Tomorrow is forecasted as even windier than today so you can still make up a lot of ground,” he said. “A few years ago I shot a final round that was a nice comeback and anything like that tomorrow can still even be enough to possibly get the job done.”

    South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

    By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

    South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

    Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

    Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

    So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

    Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

    The fourball results:

    LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

    LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

    KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

    LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

    LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

    NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.

     

    Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

    By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

    In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

    Made Cut

    The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

    Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

    “I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

    Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

    Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

    This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

    Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

    Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

    The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

    Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

    Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

    The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

    First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

    “You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

    A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

    “The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

    For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

    Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

    “I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

    Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

    “Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

    Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

    Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


    Missed Cut

    Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

    Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

    “That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

    Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

    While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.