Is it Finally Immortality Time for Annika

By George WhiteMarch 29, 2006, 5:00 pm
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - Shes still got her mind set on that one overriding goal. And when Annika Sorenstam sets her mind on anything, it almost always gets done.
 
It, of course, is the Grand Slam ' winning all four majors in one year. The first one of 2006 begins Thursday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Shes won this portion of the Slam three of the last five years, including last year. And last year she also roped in the second major, the McDonalds LPGA Championship. But each year ' and shes now in her 12th year as a professional ' somewhere en route to immortality she has slipped up.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam prepares to win her fourth career Kraft Nabisco title.
Annika has won 67 times on the LPGA, 80 times worldwide. Included in that number is nine major championships. But - four in succession, all in the same year? That has been impossible ' as it has been for every person who ever played the tour. For the 12th time, though, Sorenstam begins the awesome task.
 
Im as ready as I can be, she said. Ive had a really good week of practice. I think Im swinging pretty well, putting pretty well. I told my caddy today, Im really looking forward to this week. Im ready. Its now or never.
 
Would you believe that Annika Sorenstam still feels the jitters? It doesnt matter how many times she has won, it doesnt matter how many of these majors she has played ' she feels that certain feeling in the pit of her stomach.
 
I know Im going to be a little nervous, she confesses. It's still the excitement of being part of something big, and the excitement of finding out how you are going to play for the week. Ive set some lofty goals. And like I said, Im ready to come here and play. It's just natural to be nervous.
 
But still, the anticipation of getting started and getting the tournament going, I think its just natural to be nervous. I think the key, though, is to control the nerves, to turn it around and make something great out of it instead of getting yourself in the way.
 
Many of her competitors on the LPGA Tour are fervently cheering her on, though they do so secretly because they will also tee it up in this one trying to stop her. Everyone wants to win for themselves, of course. But if they cant win, they hope it will be Annika.
 
Am I secretly cheering for her? Probably not, because I'd like to win those events, admitted Meg Mallon.
 
But for the tour overall, if she does win the Grand Slam, I hope it elevates us even farther than we're now. Because she certainly deserves it.
 
Everyone, it seems, is rooting for this woman of Sweden who has lived in the U.S. for the better part of 15 years.
 
Annika has done so much for the tour already, explained Mallon, and she hasn't gotten half the attention she deserves. So that's going to be the big question - if she does win the Grand Slam, are people just going to go, Well, you know, here she goes again. Or is she going to get to the level of idolatry that she basically deserves.
 
I don't know. I hope so. I think she deserved it after The Colonial, but then she's won so many times since then and people are blase about it - which is really sad.
 
Sorenstam hasnt won more majors because, she surmises, she stumbles over herself trying to get the victory. Of course, she has won nine, more than just about anyone in LPGA history. But the first eight years, she was stuck on the number 2 ' both U.S. Opens. She has a reason ' and she doesnt want to repeat that reason any longer.
 
I think sometimes I get in my way because I want it so badly, she says. A lot of times I come into an event and feel as ready as I can be, and then I might not find the rhythm and then I try even harder and it gets worse. It's almost like I dig a deeper hole. But the more experience I get, I think I learn how to react in those particular situations and I definitely know how to get out of it.
 
So now begins her quest for victory No. 68. And major No. 10. And, for Grand Slam No. 1. But despite all her athletic achievements, many people still forget one very important point ' that despite it all, she is still a human being.
 
She's still a person, says Rosie Jones. She's still a girl that's playing golf, and she has her good days and her bad days.
 
You know, you just have to have belief in yourself, just like all of us have to get where we can play and we can play against anybody. She just happens to play better than most all the time. I don't think it's beyond anybody to be able to do that, but she's got great talent, great motivation and a lot of determination to get where she wants to go.
 
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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


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    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

    After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

    Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.


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    Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

    The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


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    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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    Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

    Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

    They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

    It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

    “I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

    The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.