Annika and the Colonial Timeline

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 18, 2003, 4:00 pm
This week, Annika Sorenstam will become the first woman since Babe Zahrias, in the 1945 Tucson Open, to compete in a PGA Tour event. This is a timeline of events that led to her historic participation at the Bank of America Colonial in Ft. Worth, Texas.
 
Dec. 11, 2002:
Suzy Whaley, a 36-year-old golf pro from Connecticut, announces she will enter the 2003 Greater Hartford Open, July 24-27, which would make her the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event in 58 years. Whaley earned a spot in the field by winning a qualifying event against men -- while playing from the front tees -- in September of 2002.
 
Annika Sorenstam & Vince CelliniJan. 20, 2003:
Annika Sorenstam, who won 13 times around the world in 2002, appears on The Golf Channel's 'Golf Talk' with Vince Cellini. Sorenstam tells host Vince Cellini, 'If I got an invite I would love to play (in a PGA Tour event), regularly, no. But once in a while, yeah.'
 
Jan. 22 :
At a media event benefitting her sponsor, Callaway, at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Sorenstam reiterates she would consider playing in a PGA Tour event: 'I have nothing to lose...I think it would be a great challenge,' she said.
 
Jan. 26:
Sorenstam is offered a sponsor's exemption to the B.C. Open, a $3 million PGA Tour event, July 17-20 in Endicott, N.Y.
 
Jan. 30:
According to a report in the Arizona Republic, Sorenstam is to be offered a sponsor's exemption in the following month's Chrysler Classic of Tucson.
 
Feb. 12:
After much speculation, an official press release announces that Sorenstam will play in the Bank of America Colonial, May 22-25. In the release, Annika says, 'There were many invitations, but the golf course and schedule of the Colonial were ideal. For all the well-wishers who want to know why I would accept such a challenge, the answer is simple: I am curious to see if I can compete in a PGA Tour event.'
 
Feb. 12:
At the Buick Invitational, Phil Mickelson predicts Sorenstam would make the cut and finish 'around 20th' at the Colonial.
 
Feb. 19:
In the wake of Sorenstam's acceptance of a sponsor's exemption to the Colonial, Brian Kontak, a 31-year-old mini tour player, tells The Golf Channel that he plans to try to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open.
 
Feb. 20:
At the Nissan Open, Colonial's defending champion Nick Price expresses his displeasure over Sorenstam's playing to Steve Sands, saying it reeks of publicity and adding that Ben Hogan would be rolling over in his grave.'
 
Feb. 25:
On Fox's 'The Best Damn Sports Show Period,' Kontak appears and discusses his plans to play in the U.S. Women's Open and states his opinion on Sorenstam.
 
Mar. 13:
CBS' '60 Minutes' with Leslie Stahl airs a feature profiling Sorenstam.
 
Mar. 14:
Sorenstam, LPGA T&CP member Suzy Whaley and other LPGA players are featured in an NBC 'Nightly News' segment chronicling the evolution and advancement of women's golf.
 
Mar. 19:
Reports say Atlanta Braves players Chipper Jones and John Smotz joined Sorenstam and Tiger Woods for a round at Woods' home course in Isleworth, just outside of Orlando. According to Smoltz, Woods had the best score that day with a 66, with Smoltz next at 74. Sorenstam was two shots behind Smoltz, and Jones, who's been battling a thumb injury since early in spring training, declined to give his score from that day.
 
Mar. 29:
Price comments: 'What really irritates me more than anything else is it's happening at the tournament where I'm the defending champion.'
 
Apr. 2:
Sorenstam appears on NBC's 'Tonight Show with Jay Leno.'
 
Apr. 6:
The third time's the charm for Sorenstam when she wins The Office Depot Championship Hosted by Amy Alcott -- her first LPGA victory of the season -- by 4 strokes over Se Ri Pak.
 
Apr. 20:
Sorenstam is featured on NBC's 'Today' after spending time with co-host Matt Lauer at her home course in Orlando.
 
Apr. 28:
Sorenstam appears on Fox's 'The Best Damn Sports Show Period' with Tom Arnold and John Salley.
 
May 9:
Sorenstam pledges to donate half of whatever she earns at the Bank of America Colonial to the LPGA Corning Classic -- which is being played the week of the Colonial -- charities.
 
May 11:
Sorenstam records a nine-stroke victory in Tokyo at the Nichirei Cup World Ladies Golf Tournament, her final event before the Colonial.
 
May 11:
As he leaves the locker room at Quail Hollow late Sunday afternoon, Vijay Singh tells the Associated Press that Sorenstam has no business playing in the Colonial next week and reportedly says, 'I hope she misses the cut,' and that on the odd chance he gets paired with her, he'll withdraw.
 
May 13:
GOLF Magazine's June 2003 issue hits newstands on this day. Sorenstam becomes the first woman in 26 years, since Judy Rankin, to appear on the cover.
 
May 13:
Singh says he was sorry if his comments about Sorenstam playing on the PGA Tour came across as a personal attack. 'If it was an attack on Annika at all, I would like to apologize to her,' Singh said after a practice round for the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. 'It was not put that way. It came out the wrong way.'
 
May 14:
Woods, speaking from the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open, says Sorenstam should play in four or five men's tournaments and not just the Colonial.
 
May 14:
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem urged critics to 'just relax' and not worry about Sorenstam playing in a men's event. Finchem also cautioned fans not to be 'too hard' on those who criticize the No. 1 female golfer for accepting the invitation.
 
May 15:
Speaking on a conference call to promote next month's ShopRite LPGA Classic, Sorenstam says she was surprised at the stir created by her decision to play in the PGA Tour event. Without ever mentioning his name, Sorenstam brushed off Singh's comments about her playing in the Colonial, saying he was entitled to his opinion. She also said she thinks she can win the tournament. 'I believe so, if all the stars are lined up right,' she said.
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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.