Annika Plays Golf - Any Questions

By George WhiteApril 16, 2001, 4:00 pm
Annika Sorenstam plays professional golf.
There ' right away I got a few of you. Tiger Woods may seem like the only one alive who actually does this for a living, but Im here to tell you that women do play golf. And Im not going too quickly, I hope, but Sorenstam is using this season to set some awfully impressive records.
She just won for the fourth straight time the past weekend, coming from so far behind that she wasnt even a speck in the rear-view mirror. Going into the final day of The Office Depot, she was out of it completely, 10 strokes behind. Yes, thats 10 - one and zero. And zero was about what her chances were.
So Annika went out for the final round and was sailing along until she came to the 17th, a 410-yard par 4. She hit a driver and a 7-iron ' and went over the green. Great shades of John Daly! It really was true, and when she bogeyed, she wasnt even a speck anymore.
The last hole is a rarity, a par-3. But she hit the wayward 7-iron again, covering 155 yards, and the ball died 12 feet away. She gritted her teeth and stroked home the putt, and once again became a blip large enough to cause a little concern. The leaders were five groups behind and still had a comfortable lead, but Sorenstam had at least given herself a one-in-a-million chance. No one had ever done it before, come all the way from 10 back to win, but you never know what will happen on a golf course.
After the round, she took care of her media obligations. She sat down for lunch. Then she glanced at the TV. She noticed that leader Pat Hurst was having a rough day. In fact, Sorenstam was now only one shot out of the lead.
Hmmm, something fishy might be going on here. Better forget the rolls and salad, Annika figured, and get back out there on the putting green. You never know what can happen. She left half her lunch and began playing the hunch.
I started putting and getting loose again, she said, hoping that the unthinkable would happen.
Then, they told me to get on the tee.
The person opposing her in the playoff wasnt even Hurst. It was Mi Hyun Kim, who had been in an even more unbelievable position ' 11 shots behind when the day began. Her final-round 65 and Sorenstams 66 were the playoff numbers. And Sorenstam won on the first playoff hole with a par when Kim airmailed the green and couldnt get up-and-down.
I asked for a miracle, said Annika, and it came.
Sorenstam, we thought, had already messed with the history books enough for one year. Good Lord, her 59 was a once-in-a-lifetime thrill! That came three weeks ago, when this four-tournament excellence was still in its second week. That day she set six LPGA records. The following week, she won the LPGAs first major ' the Nabisco Championship ' for win No. 3. Last week came the fourth win in four weeks. And this week she will try to set an LPGA record ' five wins in five consecutive weeks.
Its got to be destiny, she said. I mean, for anyone to come from 10 shots down to win ' and to think that was me. Its unbelievable.
Yes, it is. And to add just a little more of the unreal, this is not a good time to be doing anything in golf if youre name isnt Tiger Woods. This is Tigers time. Tiger has four straight majors and counting. He not only may be the best golfer of all time, but the best athlete. Corporations fall prostrate at his feet, showering dollar bills to prove their worthiness. There isnt time - or newspaper space - for anyone except Tiger in the sport of golf.
And to complicate things for Sorenstam, youve got a Swedish citizen here playing the game with a decidedly reserved personality ' not exactly the ticket for overwhelming success. Sorenstam, with four wins and two seconds in her six tournaments of 2001, has made just a smidgeon over $775,000. Woods, by the way, made about $250,000 more than that, a little over $1 million, with just one victory, the Masters.
Actually, the LPGA hasnt had a superhero since Nancy Knight, nee Nancy Lopez. Why her? Well, for one thing, she was good. Very good. Numbers two, three and four were all the reasons the LPGA prefers its women not be known for ' all regarding sex appeal. It didnt matter that Lopez didnt necessarily encourage it. She had a bubbly personality and she wasnt terribly difficult to glance at, which was all it took for the male species to embrace her as their hero.
Sorenstam would be a hero today if more women were sports fans. Unfortunately most arent, and men are most impressed by someone who wins mens sports. Couple that with the fact that Annika is married ' Lopez was single when she was setting all the records. And Sorenstam seldom is seen on a Wheaties box or hawking new Buicks. What you have, lords and ladies, is a regular old-fashioned Who-Dat?
Sorenstam, it seems, is just Sorenstam. Hopefully, that is good enough. She wont be an icon for womens sports, wont even be an icon for golf the 20 more years that Tiger is around. She is, after all, just Annika. If that isnt good enough to win admiring glances, it surely is good enough to win on the LPGA.
Share your thoughts on Annika and the LPGA here.
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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.