Dont Forget Who The Woman Is

By George WhiteOctober 13, 2005, 4:00 pm
This week its been Michelle Wie. Last month it was Paula Creamer. U.S. Womens Open week, it was Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lang. At the beginning of the year, it was Lorena Ochoa.
 
But the 30-something woman just smiles and goes about her daily chore of winning golf tournaments. The others are just kids, she realizes ' albeit very talented kids. But Annika Sorenstam, who turned 35 earlier this week, isnt about to give up her throne to the youngsters. She might have given them hope for a brief moment when she didnt win an LPGA event for the better part of three months. But lest the children start celebrating too soon, she DID win a European event in her native Sweden in August. And she DID resume her winning ways on the LPGA with a win just three tournaments ago.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam is still the player to beat on the LPGA Tour.
And this week, she goes for win No. 8 this year on the LPGA Tour when she plays in the Samsung World Championship in the Palm Springs area. The Samsung is a select-field event, comprising only 20 women. And ' this is a little intimidating ' she has won the tournament four times in the past, including last year.
 
Wie is 16, Pressel 17, Lang 19 and Creamer is 19. Ochoa is all of 23. They may be the future of womens golf, but the present is still the same as it was last year, the year before and the year before that. Annika is the name, and if she doesnt quite win six of every eight tournaments she enters ' she did that to start the year, you know ' she will easily win often enough to keep her name No. 1.
 
I am competitive, really doesn't matter who it is, said Annika, who has turned into an elder stateswoman before our very eyes.
 
I mean, I love to compete and that's one of the reasons I think I can continue to play at this high level - because I enjoy the challenge. I love the feeling and the adrenaline that pumps when you have a chance to win. Whether it's Paula, whether it's Lorena, whether it's Grace Park or Cristie Kerr - you name it; to me, it's just another player, it's somebody that I like to beat to be able to stay on top.
 
Creamer has gotten a lot of publicity for her excellent season ' she has 10 top-10 finishes. The other teens ' Wie, Pressel, Lang ' have numerous successes this year, also. Ochoa has either finished second or tied for second four times.
 
But wins? Forget it. Annika has won seven times, eight if you count the victory in Switzerland. And the next highest winner is hmmm, let me see oh ' Creamer and Kerr. Uh ' they both have two. They, along with the rest of the LPGA field, will have to go a long way before they are as successful as Mother Annika.
 
How far ahead of everyone is Annika? Light years, as much as a titanium golf ball is to a featherie. Example(s)?
 
Well, shes No. 1 on the money parade by more than $600,000 ' thats almost as big a difference as between No. 2 Creamer and No. 13 Birdie Kim. Shes No. 1 in scoring average ' by a large margin. Shes No. 1 in greens in regulation ' by a large margin. Shes tied for first in putting. Shes third in driving distance ' better work on that driving, Annika.
 
She enjoys the youngsters, though. She loves the challenge, loves the fact that, if she doesnt keep up the hard work, she will get trampled from behind.
 
It's great to be a part of it, Annika said. And for me, obviously I like to stay where I'm at. I love being at the top and a challenge is what I need to continue to get motivated. There are so many great players out here, you've got to work hard all the time to stay on top, and I love the challenge.
 
The gals better not count on her slowing down anytime soon. Annika had spoken quite often about putting it in the barn someday soon for the last 3-4 years, but a divorce last year derailed those hopes. With plans for starting a family definitely on hold ' maybe forever ' she has plowed straight ahead.
 
Who knows how long I will continue to play? said Annika. I love what I do and I've always said that if I wake up in the morning and I feel motivated to practice, if I feel excited to go to a golf tournament, then I will do that.
 
We'll just see. I haven't set a time line or anything like that. I know my limits. I know I can win the Grand Slam. I'm just going to try and figure out how to do it, and that's going to be my next few months, that's what's going to be on my mind, see how I can prepare for 2006.
 
Sounds like business as usual for the queen ' which is not exactly great news for the youngsters of the LPGA. But its great news for aficionados of golf. Sixty-three victories and still going as strong as she always has been - Annika Forever!
 
Email your thoughts to George White
Getty Images

Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

Getty Images

Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

Getty Images

Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."

Getty Images

Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

"Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

"That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."