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!
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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.

Full-field scores from the Joburg Open

Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.

Rules changes include no more viewer call-ins

By Rex HoggardDecember 11, 2017, 12:00 pm

Although the Rules of Golf modernization is still a year away, officials continue to refine parts of the rulebook including an overhaul of the video review protocols.

A “working group” led by the USGA and R&A announced on Monday the new protocols, which include assigning a rule official to a tournament broadcast to resolve rules issues.

The group – which includes the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA tour and PGA of America – also voted to stop considering viewer call-ins when processing potential rule violations.

In addition, a new local rule was announced that will discontinue the penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard when the player was unaware of the violation.

In April, Lexi Thompson was penalized four strokes during the final round when officials at the ANA Inspiration learned via e-mail from a viewer of an infraction that occurred during the third round. Thompson was penalized two strokes for incorrectly marking her golf ball and two for signing an incorrect scorecard.

“The message is, as a fan, enjoy watching the game and the best players in the world, but also have the confidence that the committee in charge of the competition have the rules handled,” Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of the Rules of Golf, said on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" on Monday. “Let’s leave the rules and the administration of the event to the players and to those responsible for running the tournament.”

The working group was created in April to review the use of video in applying the rules and the role of viewer call-ins, and initially issued a decision to limit the use of video through the introduction of the “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standard.

According to that decision, which was not a rule, “so long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.”

The new protocols will be implemented starting on Jan. 1.

A comprehensive overhaul of the Rules of Golf is currently underway by the USGA and R&A that will begin on Jan. 1, 2019.