World Waits - At Least Some Do

By George WhiteMay 5, 2005, 4:00 pm
So, after nearly six months, its finally come down to this ' Annika Sorenstam is going to go for the record this week. Shes won every tournament shes entered for such a long time now. Finally, shes playing in her sixth, and while most of her golfing buddies feel she hasnt gotten nearly what she deserves, she comes knocking on the door of the Michelob Ultra Open.
On Nov. 5, 2004, it all started when Sorenstam had a ridiculously easy time of it at the Mizuno Classic by beating the field by nine shots. Since it was played in Japan, not too many on this side of the Pacific noticed. Sorenstam opened with a 63 and quickly defused all suspense. So easy, this winning of golf tournaments
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam will try to win for the sixth straight time this week at Kingsmill.
Since that day, Sorenstam has won every time she has gone to the post. She, of course, has been idle for long periods of time. She didnt play after her second victory, at the ADT Championship Nov. 21, until March 6 of this year when she won the MasterCard Classic. That one was in Mexico, incidentally. And that was almost 3 months since her previous win.
Ho-hum now back to golf. Annikas schedule makes Tiger Woods seem like Dana Quigley. She plays a little, then she doesnt play, then she plays a little more. But one thing is almost always certain when she DOES play ' she wins.
Actually, the LPGA didnt start the season until the last week of February. Sorenstam missed the first two events, but the third one, she played. And, of course, she won. Sorenstam came from three shots down the start of Sunday to win it going away, taking home the hardware with a three-shot win.
Annika was getting serious about golf again ' she would play three consecutive weeks starting with that win at MasterCard. Week Number 2 came in Phoenix and Sorenstam had to go an extra hole to win it.
This was the one that very nearly got away. She was four shots down with only three to play. But leader Lorena Ochoa made double-bogey at the 16th and bogeyed the 17th, while Sorenstam got a clutch birdie at 18. In the playoff, Ochoa snap-hooked her tee shot into the water and this one was over.
That's why I practice, that's why I love this so much, she said afterwards. You know, you're always not going to win, but when you do, it just makes it so much sweeter. I'm still a little bit overwhelmed, but I would say I'm loving it.
There's only a slight part of me that thought it would be possible. But it does rank up here, of the things I've achieved You know, I've come from 10 behind, but then again, I had 18 holes to do it. Three holes is not a lot. But then again, I think today proved that you should never give up, just keep on grinding.
She left for Palm Springs just as soon as she calmed down, and the seasons first major ' the Kraft Nabisco Championship ' became her fifth victory in a row. She just won this one by eight shots, not making a bogey the last 53 holes of the tournament.
Now, almost a month after she won that event, shes trying to bump Nancy Lopez out of the record books. Lopez won her five in a row in six giddy weeks in the early summer of 1978. Annika has taken five months and three weeks to do it, but shes going to try for six.
Ironically, Sunday, when Sorenstam could get the record, is May 8. Lopez started her streak on May 12th in the opening round of the Greater Baltimore Classic.
I do believe things happen for a reason, said Annika. I believe in that type of stuff. I don't know if a good bounce is always a good sign, but hitting good shots and things going your way is always positive momentum.
There hasnt been a lot of attention paid to the try for six in a row, and the reason probably would be the length of time. Five or six months is a long time to sustain interest.
But if the fans are lackadaisical, Annika hasnt noticed. She says she is more than satisfied that her achievements get their requisite publicity, even if others in her organization arent so sure.
I think I get a lot of recognition in what I do, she says. I think people understand my success on the golf course. I mean, I feel it in my home country (Sweden.) I feel it here. I feel it among my friends. I feel it amongst you guys (the media.)
Sometimes maybe I take certain things for granted - you know, I win another tournament, but when I go home I really sit and enjoy it. I really look back at each tournament and I say, That was a good job.
I think that's very important. I don't want to just come here and go and forget about it. There's a lot of hard work behind every tournament. And I don't want to forget that.
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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.