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.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Tournament Name
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    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.”

    Getty Images

    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.