Golfer vs Golfer - Not Male vs Female

By George WhiteMay 20, 2003, 4:00 pm
Annika Sorenstam just wants to play golf - period. Shes here this week to play two rounds, possibly four, go to her hotel room in the evenings, go to the course in the daytime, and get out of town.
Her reasons for coming are as simple as they possibly can be. Back in February, she wondered how she would do against the highest level of competition. She had won 13 times worldwide in 2002 ' 11 on the LPGA Tour ' and she was curious. The PGA Tour, she mused?
To her surprise, she actually got a handful of offers. She chose the Bank of America Colonial. Now, she is undergoing quite a roasting because of it. She is hearing from the PGA Tour, certainly, but she is hearing from a disgruntled few on the LPGA. And she is hearing it from a few of the media.
Too many people think she has an agenda. The whole thing reeks of publicity, said Nick Price. Some media members opined that she is doing it because of Suzy Whaleys success in qualifying for the Greater Hartford Open ' much to club pro Whaleys shock. Sorenstam, it has been said, couldnt let a club pro carry the banner for the whole female race. Better that the best the LPGA has to offer gives it a shot first, then send in the powder-puff hitter. At least then the men will have a REAL woman player to compete against - or so the reasoning went.
Sorry, but its all wrong. People may have a difficult time believing this, but its true: Annika Sorenstam is doing this solely for Annika Sorenstam. There are no ulterior motives, no plans to bring the best of the PGA Tour crashing down to Annikas size, nothing remotely of the kind.
There are certain things that I control, and certain things that I cant, she said, resigned to the fact that people will see a conspiracy regardless of how many times she objects.
Id like to emphasize that Im not putting the guys on test here ' or men against women. Far from that. This is a test for me, personally.
In other words, for this one week, Sorenstam would like to forget she is a woman. She would just like to be a golfer. As a golfer, is she good enough to play with these other golfers ' who happen to be the men of the PGA Tour?
Unfortunately, her anatomy makes that difficult. She is a female, participating against golfers whose anatomy is male. There are thousands of years of prejudice built in here. And that prejudice says that anything a female can do, a male can do better.
Theyve been alluding to that theory over and over, these men. Everyone talks about the razzing that will take place in the locker room, the poor schmoes who happen to get beat by Sorenstam. Feminine products, flowers, girdles, all kinds of womens things are predicted for the souls who are unlucky enough to get beat by a girl.
Phil Mickelson was very complimentary when he said he expects Sorenstam to make the cut, maybe even finish in the top 20. But then the same old prejudice came seeping out ' where does Mickelson expect to finish? Hopefully, 19th or better, he kidded.
If I can just relate that to them ' I mean, theyve got to trust me, this is why Im doing it, Annika said. I wouldnt want to get into any political things. I have nothing to do with that. Thats not my goal here. I dont want to put the guys on the defensive or anything.
I just want to play against the best and see what happens.
She will wear slacks and a baseball cap ' just like all the men. She will probably have her hair pulled up under her hat. Seen from outside the gallery ropes, she could be any other man striding down the fairway. But she will be Annika.
I gotta believe in what I can do, she said. I have no idea how these guys play. Im going to go out there and play the course the way its set up. If I play well, I have no idea where that will put me.
The gents really have no idea, either. If centuries of myth prove correct, no male will be beaten by this female. If its just golf, however, then this golfer has just as good a chance as those golfers.

Related Links:
  • ''Everything Annika'' Feature Page
  • Annika and the Colonial Timeline
  • Full Coverage of the Bank of America Colonial

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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.