Annika Primed to Give Receive Golf Lessons

By George WhiteNovember 25, 2004, 5:00 pm
What should we be watching for when Annika Sorenstam plays against the men this weekend? Will she drive the ball like Adam Scott? Putt like Tiger Woods? Work the ball like Fred Couples?
 
No, no and no. She will play like Annika Sorenstam ' period. She hopes that will be good enough to win a skin or two at the Merrill Lynch Skins Game. The sneaking suspicion if that she will do much better than that.
 
She was good enough to crank out 10 wins around the world this year. She has played with the men several times before ' at Colonial, at the Skins last year, in an interclub match in Orlando earlier this year, at the ADT Skills Challenge last Monday. She has practiced with Woods in Orlando on occasion. So the concept is definitely not foreign to her.
 
What she says she wants to do is keep comparing her game with the men ' who are, by their biological differences alone, the biggest bombers in the world. And the one area where brute strength is not required is in the short game ' chips, pitches, little lobs around the green, blasting from the bunkers.
 
I mean, I cannot tell you how many shots I have saved the last year and a half thanks to my practice with the guys and at Colonial, Sorenstam said.
 
I am chipping very differently, using a lob wedge now around the greens a lot more than I used to. I can be more aggressive. I have improved my chipping so much and I think that is one of the keys or the strength this year to my success is my chipping. I am making up-and-downs. My bunker game has improved to do it more and more, I realize that I am really getting better just by watching them and learning.'
 
That is one of the real thrills of watching the Skins - watching Annika compete against the men. Last year she eagled a par-5 when she blasted out of a bunker into the hole. Golf is truly one sport where the two sexes can be competitive.
 
I think it is a great game where we can do both, she said.
 
The power and the strength are an issue. If we could have a driving competition, it would not be something that I would want to do, but for me, to learn from the guys and their different ways, bottom line, it is the same game. You play from A to B. I might not be able to hit 300 yards, but I want to see how they do it and try to maximize my ability.
 
It is somewhat ironic that men have almost always performed the touch skills better than women. As difficult as it is comparing PGA Tour statistics with the LPGA, still the leading male putter, Brian Gay, averaged 27.96 per round while the LPGAs best, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, averaged 28.75. The courses and conditions on the two tours are far different, of course, but this disparity probably illustrates that, as children, boys are introduced to sports earlier than girls.
 
Women are commonly believed to be more adept at such small-muscle skills, given that all other conditions are equal. Annika believes that small-muscle excellence such as chipping the ball is an area where she can improve, especially after watching the men work at it.
 
Strength does play a part of it, but they can get the ball up and near really quickly, she said. They can get the ball to stop quickly. Just to see how they work the ball, that type of stuff - that is what I think I am lacking in my game. Therefore I want to see somebody who is very good at it and hopefully I can pick up pointers and be able to do it.
 
Watch the Skins Game this weekend and pick out instances where Annika can learn from the men. And at the same time, see where the men can learn from Annika. After all, she won 10 times this year ' she has plenty to teach the gents. And, most of all, you the viewer are bound to learn a lot.
 
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Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

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.

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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.