Annika Looks to End Drought

By Golf Channel NewsroomJune 5, 2006, 4:00 pm
McDonaldAnnika Sorenstam remains stuck on the number 9, as in the number of major-championship victories she has compiled. But she now is in familiar territory ' at the McDonalds LPGA Championship where she has won three times in a row.
 
Sorenstams play has been a formidable barrier for the players of the LPGA to surmount, the Swede ringing up 67 victories. This year, though, Sorenstam has not been quite as sharp as in previous years. She recently missed her first cut in a non-major since her rookie year in 1994. And, after winning her first outing of the 2006 season, she has gone seven tournaments without a victory ' a most unlikely occurrence for a person with her legendary capabilities.
 
Recently a group of former tour pros who are now Golf Channel analysts gathered to discuss Sorenstams chances, as well as several of other topics concerning McDonalds.
 
Annika just is not as sharp as she has been over the last four years, said Dottie Pepper. She is driving the ball significantly more crooked this year, and the ball is farther from the hole as a result. She has also been missing more five and six-footers than over the recent past.
 
In other words, shes more like everyone else, but she still has the there she is again factor when her name goes on the leader board. She compartmentalizes and manages her time better than anyone on Tour.
 
And Kay Cockerill says Sorenstam is still a dangerous competitor.
 
Annika, who has defied all the odds against suffering the bad bounces, balls avoiding the hole and general frustrations of competitive golf, is experiencing these things right now, she said. Annika is the only player to have won the LPGA Championship three straight times and she, unbelievably, is trying to win it four times straight. It doesnt seem that her game is in the type of top form necessary to do that, but again, she has pulled off so many amazing feats that you can never count her out.
 
Peter Oosterhuis feels the same.
 
Im sure everyone is surprised by Annikas play this year, he said. She has set such high standards that anything less than domination is a shock. Being a multiple-win defending champion should only remind Annika of her greatness and help her find her best form.
 
The favorites, if not Sorenstam? Cockerill says that Lorena Ochoa impresses her.
 
Lorena Ochoa is one of the hottest golfers right now, man or woman, she says. The fact that she is in serious contention almost every week tells me that she is more and more comfortable with that position. A major championship would be the next logical step in her career, and she certainly has the heart and the game to do it.
 
And one name is not being mentioned among the list of favorites. Laura Davies is nowhere on the radar, Cockerill says. Laura is sorely missed as a regular contender in the majors.
 
One word of note, however, is that Laura finished T-3 at last years LPGA Championship. So maybe theres something about Bulle Rock (in Maryland, the site of McDonalds) that will get her game turned around.
 
Pepper looks at two of the bright young stars of the tour, young women who impressed with their over-all play last year.
 
Paula Creamer would do well to get back to what she did last yearplay golf and put the marketing stuff on hold. Her focus on the course seems to be suffering a bit because of a lot of outside influences that were not so prevalent last year.
 
Morgan Pressel now is not saddled with high school studies and graduationtime to really kick things into high gear.
 
Sixteen-year-old Michelle Wie is a definite threat. And Pepper believes Wie has an advantage in that she entered the mens U.S. Open qualifying the week of McDonalds.
 
Because of her status as a non-LPGA member, Michelle has the advantage of being able to play and practice the week prior to the event without penalty, Pepper says. Mental fatigue could be something to watch for as the week goes by. She will be under the microscope for a bunch of days in a row.
 
Of course, said Cockerill, Michelle is and seemingly will consistently be a factor each time she tees it up in an LPGA tournament. It will be fun and interesting to see if Michelle will win this year on the LPGA Tour and if her first win comes at a major.
 
I think that experience (of playing in the mens Open qualifier) will help Michelle much more than hurt her. Open qualifying with the men will be a very challenging endeavor and whether or not she makes it, it will help make the pressure of the LPGA Championship easier to handle.
 
Bulle Rock certainly may play a role in the eventual winner. The course favors players that have great course management and distance control with their irons, believes Pepper. Youre got have enough power to hit a reasonable iron into some tough par-4 hole locations: Sorenstam, (Karrie) Webb and Ochoa.
 
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  • The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

    Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

    Lexi Thompson:

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    Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

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    Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

    By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

    Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

    Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

    Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

    “Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

    Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

    “When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

    Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

    “Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

    In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

    “Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

    Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

    “The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

    Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

    “Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

    Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

    Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

    LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

    Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

    Christina Kim:

    LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

    LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

    LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

    LPGA pro Jennie Lee:

    Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

    Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

    ''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''


    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


    Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

    ''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

    Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

    ''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

    Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.