Sorenstams Season Transcends Wins

By George WhiteDecember 31, 2003, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: This is the final part of a series of articles highlighting the top stories of 2003.
 
2003 Stories of the YearNever has six wins on the LPGA Tour seemed so insignificant. But in a year in which Annika Sorenstam did so much, six wins dont nearly tell the story.
 
What did she accomplish? Well, one of the most important things was that those six wins included the McDonalds LPGA Championship and the Weetabix Womens British Open ' the two victories which completed the career Grand Slam. Now she has won all of the current womens majors at least once.
 
Another accomplishment was her appearance at the PGA Tours Bank of America Colonial ' the first time a woman had participated in a mens event since Babe Didricksen Zaharias did it 58 years ago.
 
Finally, she was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Acceptance into the Hall of Fame means I've gained approval from those I deeply respect, Sorenstam said simply. It was the culmination of 10 years of work in the profession, 10 years of victories, but also 10 years of giving back to the game.
 
It was a remarkable year across the entire breadth of her achievements. She actually collected more wins in 2001 and 2002 ' she had eights wins in 2001 and a remarkable 11 last year, 13 worldwide. This year, however, was non-paralleled in the extent of her many achievements.
 
It's been an incredible year in so many ways, said Sorenstam. If you measure a year in the amount of victories, yeah, last year was more - you could say I won more tournaments. but that's not the only thing that counts.
 
The experiences I had this year, and obviously Colonial, that is the greatest thing that will ever happen to me golf-wise. Winning two majors that I had not won before, giving me the career Grand Slam, Solheim Cup in my home country, in Europe, to win - and then here (at the Hall of Fame ceremony).
 
I don't know why all of the pieces are falling together; maybe I shouldn't ask why. I just want to enjoy it and be thankful because I really am. But it's definitely the most memorable year that I've had.
 
Sorenstam played in just 17 LPGA events in a year in which the womens tour decreased its schedule by five events. She previously had averaged 20-23 events a year. But in decreasing her schedule, she dipped below the 70 rounds needed to win the Vare Trophy, though she had a stroke average of nearly a stroke better than the winner, Se Ri Pak.
 
Yeah, I mean, to be honest, I am very disappointed that I won't win the Vare Trophy, she said. I always considered that one of the highest awards to win throughout the year. I think it shows a lot of consistency and you know, I am over it now.
 
(But) I am excited about Player-of-the-Year and the money title.
 
Those two awards somehat make up for the Vare Trophy slap. They help make the omission more palatable and are fitting honors to cap a fantastic year.
 
I was a little worried earlier in the year figuring how do I top 2002, she confessed. I knew it was going to be tough to win more tournaments. But with the experience at Colonial, winning two majors, Solheim Cup, Skins game ' (at the) end of this year I felt like I have done everything and I am excited to have had the opportunity, so I do think that this year is more memorable than 2002.
 
Nothing was more memorable than her week at the Colonial in May. She shot 71 the first day and 74 the next, and though she did miss the cut by four shots, she shot lower than 11 men. She faced a veritable sea of media every day she was in Fort Worth ' approximately 700.
 
It's got to be the Colonial, for sure, she said in discussing her greatest thrill of 2003. I mean, it was just such an incredible week leading up to it then afterwards, I still think about it. I am out there today and people talk about the Colonial. It was such a wonderful week, I will always remember that one
 
The pressure at Colonial, wooh, doesn't get any more than that. To be able to handle myself in these tough situations, it really helped me.
 
As much as anything, Sorenstam allowed her guard to slip a little and showed she is anything but an emotionless Swede.
 
It was a special moment, she said. I think people saw me as being human, that I have feelings. I think a lot of times they don't think I do because I wear sunglasses, you can't see my eyes and I am - people think that I am acting very cool on this tour, even though I have emotions inside. At the Colonial it was just so much, that's just the way I reacted then. I think people saw that.
 
Sorenstam played in two Skins games against the men, including the one at the end of the year against Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples and Mark OMeara. She finished runner-up to Couples in that one, holing a 40-yard bunker shot for eagle in what was one of the most dramatic shots in this 21-year-old series.
 
Sorenstam, at the age of 33, isnt too sure how much longer this life will appeal to her. She would like to start a family and she only has a certain time to think about having children. She seems to have achieved all her goals, and there is some speculation she is nearing the end of an abbreviated ' but very successful - career. She hasnt quashed such speculation, but she hasnt set a date for it to end, either.
 
I'm going to play as long as I enjoy it, she said, as long as I'm motivated to practice and the adrenaline is pumping and I'm excited to go out there. I will do it if there are more goals I have to achieve.
 
But I have also said that I have other interests, and golf is not the only thing that I enjoy. But it doesn't mean that I'm going to walk away from golf totally. This is just the highlight of my career and next year - I hope to always top it every year. This year I felt, Do I have to win 14 tournaments this year to make it a better year (than her 13 in 2002)? And in the end, you run out of tournaments. That pressure, I feel it's very tough. A lot of that comes from myself. I'm very hard on myself.
 
So what is there left to accomplish?
 
You know, I do like to win more majors, she said after a moments reflection. I do believe it's possible to win four in a row, same year, that's what I am going to try to do next year. I am going to go out full force and see what happens.
 
After that I am going to see how I feel, you know, to be on top and to continue to play well. Youve got to practice a lot. There's a lot of sacrifice and the question is how much more do I want to do that? I think it's coming to a point where I have achieved what I really want. There are other things in life that I haven't achieved that I want to give the time to do it.
 
So I have not set a deadline or a time or a date - as long as I enjoy it I want to continue. But it's tough to motivate myself every year and every day because that's what it takes to be on top and to continue to stay there.
 
Related Links:
  • No. 1: Sorenstam's Season Transcends Wins
  • No. 2: Tiger Goes Majorless in 2003
  • No. 3: What a Year for Watson
  • No. 4: Player of Year Down to the Wire
  • No. 5: Elders Knock Kids Off Tour Perch
  • Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

    By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

    Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

    ''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


    Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

    Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

    ''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

    Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

    ''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

    Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.