LPGA Must Pray for Annika to Hang Em Up
The LPGA rank and file must be longing for that day when Sorenstam finally hangs em up. She keeps hinting that that day may be soon, though she just turned 34 on Oct. 10. The sisterhood keeps silently waiting - at least that is what I would do if I were in their spikes.
All the right things keep coming from their mouths ' Were so fortunate to have her; Shes such a credit to the LPGA, etc, etc. You know what they want to say? How about, For Petes sake, when is she going to retire? Someone trot out the cake and lets have the going-away party tomorrow, already!!
You wonder if Annika hasnt broken the spirits of some of these promising debutants. For so long they play such exceptional golf. Then along comes Sorenstam, for one, two, three holes ' whoop whoop, a little lucky break here, a solid shot there, and what do ya know, shes done it again! Thirty-six times in the last five years shes done something very similar, and the women are flat getting tired of it.
Grace Park was the latest unfortunate. She had a wonderful round of 62 the first day of the Samsung World Championship, reserved for the LPGAs best players. She backed that up with a 67 the next day and was still ahead by three shots on the back nine Sunday.
But just as certainly as death, taxes and falsehoods in a presidential campaign, here comes Annika. She plodded along slowly but surely, never quite catching up, but never falling too far behind, either.
Then it happened so quickly ' she chipped in for an eagle on 15, followed with a gorgeous 4-iron for birdie for 17 ' and before anyone could say the LPGAs greatest player, she had won another.
Park, who had played an exceptional tournament, sounded as if she had just about had it. Shes 25 now, but she has seen this act all too often in her young career. You get ahead ' far, far ahead ' but it is seldom enough. Seems like you have to go lights out until the very end ' the final putt on the final hole of the final round. Sixty-eight holes of excellence, she already knows too well, just wont cut it.
I just knew that, you know, when you got the No. 1 player just behind you, you expect her to come back, said a downcast Park. You expect her to hang in there. And she did what she had to do, and I didn't.
Downcast? Disappointed? Disheartened? That doesnt begin to tell the story when youre trying to match up to the strengths of a Sorenstam. Park looked deep inside, and she could only come up with one descriptive phrase, one harsh reality that the whole tour has had to face when compared to Annika.
That I'm the biggest loser, said Park.
Loser? Yes, loser, she said ' capital L. Actually she has enjoyed an excellent year. But Sorenstam, it must be rememered, makes a lot of people feel that way. Annika is extremely polite, courteous to a fault ' but her golf game has a peculiar way of making a lot of womenfolk start grousing under their breaths.
This year has been very frustrating because I've come so close, Park said. Obviously, I'm very frustrated and upset with myself and disappointed. You know, I haven't felt this badly in a long time. I'm playing good golf, but just not getting it done. I don't know how many runner ups this is. It's getting a little frustrating.
For the record, Park finished second five times in 2003 ' one a playoff loss to Sorenstam in a major, the McDonalds LPGA Classic. This year the runnerup finishes have now stretched to six. Some day all those seconds may turn into wins - but that may be after Annika is gone.
Sorenstam has finished second three times herself, four times in 2003 ' but she has 12 wins to offset that. Park has two ' and 11 seconds.
Park doesnt do a very good job of hiding her feelings. Really - no comment. I don't have a comment. I fell apart and didn't get it done, and that's it, she said. She might well have been speaking for the whole womens tour.
Poor Annika ' she tries her best to win, she usually succeeds ' but she knows what she is doing is quite irksome to the ladies who must be content with second place. And she wishes she could be a bit tidier with her wins. But sometimes she just cant help but do it late on the final day.
You know, I didn't wait until the end on purpose, Sorenstam offered Sunday. I mean, I tried to get off to a hot start. It really didn't happen.
Poor Grace must silently be praying for the day ' and in the near future, if at all possible ' when this woman stashes the clubs and gets on with child-bearing or cooking or traveling or whatever. Annika has said numerous times that she doesnt plan on playing forever, you know. The rest of the ladies must wish she would stick to that promise.
Email your thoughts to George White
Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.
Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.
''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''
They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.
''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''
Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.
''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''
Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.
Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.
Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.