Sorenstam Deserves Shot at Mens Tour

By George WhiteJanuary 27, 2003, 5:00 pm
Annika gets her wish now. The B.C. Open has offered her a sponsors exemption to its PGA Tour event. No doubt others will follow. She will choose one, she says, and then tee it up to test herself against the men.
Statistics tell us she loops her drives about 265 yards. That puts her in the ballpark of the boys, as long as its a relatively compact ballpark. There were 195 men who did better last year, but at least she would be ranked. Distance alone doesnt figure to knock her out of the competition.
Last year she hit better than 80 percent of the LPGAs fairways, which if traded tit-for-tat to the PGA Tours fairways, would have trailed only Fred Funk. She hit 79.8 percent of the greens, which by far and away would have led the mens tour ' the best of the men at hitting greens was Tiger Woods at 74 percent. Her putting was a bit dicey ' she finished 39th on the LPGA with a figure of 29.66. That would only place her 81st on the PGA Tour.
Unfortunately, thats about all we have to go by. Those are LPGA statistics placed up against PGA Tour statistics, and thats not very fair. The only stats that translate from one tour to the other is the driving distance ' where Annika gives up a decided amount of ground ' and the fairways hit ' where she is right on target. Actually, because everyone begins the hole with the ball perched up perfectly on a tee, this is probably the only applicable stat. Even the fairways hit category may be deceiving. Sorenstam is probably as accurate as any male with her driver, but theres little doubt that the PGA Tour has the tighter fairways.
Of course, Sorenstam probably wouldnt have hit almost 80 percent of the greens if she were playing courses that were 5-600 yards longer, as the mens tour are. But, Distance isnt that important if its narrow, she insists. Id like to see really thick rough that is punishing, even to chip it out.
She would be using more club - by two or three - on each swat from the fairway to the green, and the longer club she would have to use would affect her accuracy a little. Then the chipping and putting game would come into play, and Annika rates only average on her short game.
Of course, one area that cant be reduced to statistics is something called heart. And its something that Sorenstam possesses in multiples. She would surely rate in the mens top 10 in that category ' call it will to win or pride or whatever. She has proven that she has it, and very few who play the game can equal her reliance on it.
Reduced to cold statistics, Sorenstam doesnt appear to have much of a chance. But these things are rarely decided by cold statistics.
I would love to play, Annika said in an unguarded moment last week. I have nothing to lose, I think it would be a great challenge.
She then remembered whom she was ' golfs version of the ice maiden ' and reverted back to form. She wasnt interested in playing multiple events on the PGA Tour - only once, she said. I think it is important that it is the right venue, the timing needs to be right, she remarked later. And ' If Im going to do it, Im going to do it at the right golf course, something that will fit my game.
Dont you believe it. Annika Sorenstam would dearly love to test herself against the men. Yes, she could bring irreparable damage to the womens game if she bombed out. But she has won the right to have the chance. She won 13 times worldwide last year, 11 on the LPGA Tour. If she picks the right course ' B.C. Open? ' and she makes the cut, I, for one, will be there cheering, You go, girl!!
Related Links:
  • Annika Sorenstam's Bio
  • LPGA Tour Statistics
  • Getty Images

    Highlights: Woods shoots Saturday 69 at API

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 17, 2018, 8:40 pm

    Tiger Woods made six birdies Sunday, including one at the home hole, to shoot 3-under 69 and move to 7 under par for the week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    When he walked off the golf course, he was four off the 11-under pace set by Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Bryson DeChambeau, all of whom were still on the course.

    "I'm going to have to shoot a low one tomorrow, and probably get a little bit of help," Woods told Golf Channel's Steve Sands in a post-round interview. "But my responsibility is to go out there and shoot a low one first."

    Woods didn't bogey the first hole on Saturday like he did the day prior - but he did drop at a shot at the par-3 second when he failed to get up and down from the bunker.

    Luckily, it wouldn't take him long to get that stroke back. One hole later, at the dogleg-left, par-4 third, Woods ripped a 2-iron off the tee, hit a less-than-stellar approach long and right, and poured in this 38-footer for birdie to get back to even par on the day.

    He followed with another at the par-5 fourth, smoking a drive 313 yards uphill, short-siding himself with his second shot, and playing this deft pitch to set up a tap-in 4.

    After a par save from the bunker at 5, Woods missed the fairway right at the par-5 sixth, laid up with his second, spun a wedge to 15 feet with his third, and rolled in this third birdie of the day to move to 6 under for the week.

    Woods' momentum was slowed by a bogey at 8, the product of an errant tee shot, and a missed birdie try at 9 left Tiger to make the turn in 1 under-35, minus-5 for the week.

    He quickly returned to 6 under for the championship when he hit an approach from 186 to inside 10 feet at the par-4 11th and walked in the putt:

    Following four straight pars, Woods for the second day in a row made an unlikely birdie at the par-5 16th after missing the fairway to the right and declining to layup.

    Woods would drop one more shot coming in when his ball fried in the front bunker at 17, leading to a bogey, but this closing birdie at 18, his sixth of the day, got him into the clubhouse 3 under for the round and 7 under for the week. It also elicited a rare straight-down fist pump.

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    Pettersen’s husband, Christian Ringvold, confirmed the news with Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz.

    Pettersen, 36, who married Ringvold in January of 2017, is due in the fall. The 15-time LPGA winner and two-time major champion has yet to make her first start this year. She’s an eight-time Solheim Cup veteran.

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    Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

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    Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

    Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

    As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

    Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

    This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

    The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.