Annika Still in Awe of Colonial Success

By George WhiteJune 3, 2003, 4:00 pm
She didnt think anyone would know who she was in this Chicago health spa, even though her name was Annika Sorenstam, LPGA pro, a one-time-only PGA Tour pro. The man had said, Thank you, but she assumed he was thanking her for putting the weights back on the bar.
So she was surprised to hear him say again, Thank you. She looked at him, and a look of real gratitude crossed his face.
No ' really ' thank you, the stranger said. I have three daughters.
Then it hit her. She had played the Colonial the week before against some of the best men of the PGA Tour, and this man was thanking her for what she had done for his daughters future. It was a sobering moment in the life of the 32-year-old star.
It was pretty cool that he said that, I thought, she said.
Sorenstam has had 10 days ' and a week back on the LPGA ' to reflect. And what she has done is very meaningful to her.
Right now I dont know, sitting here two weeks later, she said. There was so much that happened last week ' or two weeks ago. Its just a memory.
I mean, the people, the support, but most of all, I realize that I really love what I do, and I think its something Ill never forget.
Sorenstam is in Wilmington, Del., where she will compete in an LPGA major tournament this week ' the LPGA McDonalds. She is surprised every time she comes out to the golf course, even for practice rounds like Tuesday. She signs autographs by the hundreds, and it isnt about to abate.
I understand it comes with the territory, she said. And Im getting used to it. Im learning to handle it a little better, and its great that everybody is still following my career and coming out to the ladies tour. I think thats positive.
She still insists that Colonial was a one-time-only affair, even though many in the business refuse to be convinced. There are those who believe some ulterior motive was involved, something that will only be revealed when she announces she is entering another mens tournament.
No, I will not, she said with finality. It was a one-time opportunity. I dont know if I could handle it again, but I wanted to test myself, and it was a challenge, for sure. But I wanted to leave it at that.
After that week at Colonial, Sorenstam went right out and fired a 62 in her next round ' the LPGAs Keebler Classic in Chicago. In fact, she won the tournament by three strokes. It was a relief to her that she could come down from the Colonial high and get back to business.
I was excited to be back on tour, she said. I was excited because I was playing well, but coming back and people talking about it, and I was still kind of geared up and wired for the week. I didnt know if I was going to be able to focus for 18 holes, and I got off to a good start and the momentum kept going, so I was pleased.
Sorenstam again hinted rather broadly that the sports world should not be surprised if she retires ' soon. She has said that she thinks often about starting a family, and it is no secret that she longs to be a professional chef, among other things. She foresees the day that she leaves the LPGA behind.
Yeah, that could happen very easily, she said. Ive always said that if I enjoy the game and I wake up in the morning and feel like I have goals to achieve, or Im motivated to practice, I will continue to do this.
But I have other interests that Id like to pursue some day. If thats a year or two from now, or five, I dont really know. Id like to just take it as it comes, and right now I enjoy what I do and still feel like I can become a better player.
The challenges remain, though, and as long as they do, Annika will keep playing.
Im satisfied at what Ive done, she said. When I came out here on tour in 94, I didnt know if I could win a single tournament. So a lot of things have changed.
Sometimes I feel very happy about what Ive achieved, but there are other days when I feel I can play better, win more tournaments. I can push myself, so the challenge I am looking for is to stay motivated and keep on working.

Getty Images

Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

Getty Images

Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

Getty Images

Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

Getty Images

Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.