Annika Sorenstam Press Conference Transcript
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I just --I can't believe it. It is a dream come true. I really don't know why all this is happening to me but I am very, very thankful. I mean, this is what a golfer can dream about. I am a lucky one and it feels great.
Q. Obviously last week was a dramatic emotional week. This weeks a dramatic emotional week. Can you compare the two of them?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: It is tough to compare. I mean, because this golf course is so different compared to last week. This one I don't think I have ever been so patient, which is what the key was this week. I was just trying to hit one shot at a time. I knew every hole is going to be difficult. It is a challenge that I didn't really look ahead. Last week was more of an easy golf course that I knew I can make birdie the next hole ago and I never felt the pressure that I did this week. I didn't shoot 59 this week, but through the circumstances and this golf course, this really ranks up there by a 59. Just to finish the way I did, I mean, it was such a race. Just looking at the leaderboard one shot moves you up 10 places and one shot moves you down 10 places. I knew I just have to be patient and I am just -- I am really happy I was.
Q. When you were on, I guess it was 11 when the leaderboard finally showed that you were alone at 5, did you see that and then, I mean, you made the subsequent birdie, bogey, birdie, I am wondering if you saw right when you had gotten the lead solo?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I didn't see the leaderboard on No. 11. I did see though that I was tied with Pat after 9 and then I saw it on No. 12. So in between there I didn't see anything.
Q. The bogey on 12, the first putt, tentative putt?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yeah, you can say so (laughs). I had 30 feet and hit it eight feet short and it is -- that is the way I react in these conditions, when I get nervous I get very tentative. I felt like I hit the putt but it just went nowhere. When I get nervous I lose my feel and that happened there and it happened on a few putts coming in. Luckily it didn't cost me anything but that one really cost me.
Q. At the start of the day you were one back and all kinds of people had an opportunity to win this. You were you say you were trying to stay patient. Does that mean you weren't thinking I have to shot a 70 today or I need to shoot 68? Dottie said she thought 67 would have won it for her today. Were you not thinking about that at all?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: No, not at all. I did not have a score in mind at all when I started the day. I was just trying to pretend that it was an 18-hole golf course and I had to go out and play the best I could today. I tried to do the very best I could on every shot; not think about the previous hole and not think about the next hole. I was just trying to stay so much in the present and not -- I mean I always look at the leader boards. I look at it three or four times a hole, but today I said it doesn't matter what the leaderboard is. You still got to do it. That is what I kept doing. I took a little peak at it, but other than that I was just kind of focusing on each hole and you know, I played eight holes, and I said, it is 10 more. Then I went to the next, I said, now it is just nine. I just kept counting down just because I wanted to give it all on every hole and not think about too much overall the whole tournament.
Q. This is the major you have been looking for a while. How satisfied are you?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I am very, very -- I mean I am so happy I am -- you know, when I have been home I have been putting and thinking this putt is going to win, you know, the Nabisco Championship, this 2-putt here, these are the thoughts I have had all winter. I have come here and I have played and I have walked along the 18th here and I knew there is a little spot there and I wanted my name on it. Those are the fantasies that you have. But I knew one day that that is what I wanted and I can't believe it happened this year. But I knew I had a chance obviously today going into the round. I said it is in my hands, just take the opportunity and things were just going my way. Like I said, I don't know why it is happening so much at this time, but I am very thankful.
Q. Coming off last week and the sensational week and the media attention and then going right into the first major of the season, was there any special thing you did to mentally prepare for this or to put yourself at ease or anything special that you did to scope out this week?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, I didn't really prepare the way I wanted to coming into this event because of the last two weeks. I was exhausted coming home on Sunday. I rested Monday and Tuesday. I did miss out on my practice round this week. So I really didn't feel like I had what I wanted to prepare. What I had going for me was I was playing well. Confidence was there. I knew the course. I have been here so many times. That is what I just keep telling myself, you know, you have been here, you have done it and you can do it. That is just what I kept telling myself. And I mean today I actually wrote a little note on my visor, I just want to look at it all day long. I just kept reminding myself. It's in Swedish. To translate it: Don't be afraid or just go for it kind of thing.
Q. Do you think that Tiger Woods will now be known as the male Annika?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Oh, I don't think so. But thank you.
Q. You have openly said that what Karrie has done the past two years has motivated you and that you came into this year wanting to overtake her. Do you think that you have caught her?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I haven't looked at her ranking, but I am just so happy the way I played. I beat her the last seven, eight times I played with her so, that gives me an edge, I know, and I have come out with such great starts this year; now I want to keep playing. I think by the end of the year we will see.
Q. You haven't won a major since for four years?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: 96.
Q. What part of your game was struggling and at any point did you think you were sort of letting yourself down and squandering any of your talent?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, I think right after 1996 you know, when I won two U.S. opens in a row, it felt so easy. I didn't have any expectations going into the Open. It just kind have happened. So when I came into 1997 I think I had too much of an attitude like this is going to be okay. And then you know, I shot myself in the foot the first day and there went the next major. After that I struggled a little bit because I wanted it so badly. I started out with a bad round in every major. I had to kind of catch up and it was too much to catch up. I think the last two years I have been more focused on what I had to do. I have been thinking more about what you know, each round and each shot and not get too much ahead of myself. And when it comes to my golf game, I have always felt like I had the game that was needed. I am not the longest hitter out here but I can hit a lot of fairways. And I hit a lot of greens. So I knew I could do it. But sometimes my short game has kind of let me down a little bit and that is what I have practiced a lot on this winter because I knew that is just going to be the key. I know I am going to hit a lot of greens but I have to make the putts to score low and that is what I have done the last few weeks. It is so nice to see. I mean, I have putted so many times and the confidence is really coming back.
Q. Did you find yourself having to hold down your emotions coming down the stretch? Were you starting to get emotional 16, 17 or was it not until 18?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Oh, definitely. I mean, I was in a spot where I wanted to be. I was telling myself that all day long, you are in the spot where you want to be. But just stay patient and let's just play this hole, hit one shot at a time. I mean I sounded like a broken record out there. My caddie has probably heard enough of me. That is just the way it was. It was repeating, let's hit one shot, hit the green, make the putt. That is what I have done all day. It is never over until it is over. I mean, even though I walked on this little -- the bridge on 18, I had two shots and it might sound like a lot, but under these circumstances it is not a lot. So was just trying to stay calm and just think about what I had to do.
Q. I don't mean to jump around too much, but after you know, what is next and -- well, literally the next two weeks, I guess, you guys have off. What will you do?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I am not going to do anything. I am just going to relax. I am not going to do anything. I am going to go home just take care of myself; take care of my husband; my cats and just I am not going to touch my golf clubs. I feel exhausted. I think I need a break. So that is probably the first four, five days and then I might go to the gym and just slowly get into golf, but then, you know, then it is L.A. and when you are on the road like this you want to continue, so I know I will practice the week before and I am going to continue. I mean, I am having a lot of fun and I don't see why I shouldn't keep working.
Q. Will you stay here in the desert?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yes.
Q. You said yesterday you had caught a cold. I noticed on the putting green you were coughing a little bit. People who have colds aren't supposed to jump into Lakes.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: (Laughs).
Q. Did you ever think about not doing that?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I'd do anything to win here. I just think I am just so tired and my immune system has probably gone somewhere else but that is okay. This means a lot to me and I got two weeks to recover and it if it takes all year, that is fine. This is the tournament that I wanted so I will go into any lake for it.
Q. This fitness regime, how much swimming has it included?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I don't know if you can tell on my dive, but I have been diving. I have been swimming a little bit. It is actually part of my routine, but this is the best swim I have had in a long time.
Q. Talk a little bit how important David is to you and to helping you achieve your ambitions and so on?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yeah, I mean, Dave does everything for me literally outside the golf course. He is very supportive, but I mean he does everything so I can prepare, everything so I can practice, even though I won and I made the last putt, he is behind it too. He has heard me complain. He has heard me be happy. I mean, he has seen me work. He knows what my goals are and he has never been in the way. He has always been so supportive. I mean we live for my golf, and I am just very happy that he wants to do that because it means a lot to me, but when we do it together too it is kind of a team thing a little bit. So this victory here, this week and the last two weeks, I mean, he deserves a lot of credit himself.
Q. What were your evenings like this week? Last week I know you were spent some time at your sister's house, you cooked. Did you cook this week?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I cooked a little bit. My dad stayed with us this week, so I have had a chance to be with him a little bit. The evenings, you know we haven't done too much. I haven't really felt too good so it has been early evenings but we always sit in the jacuzzi and always talk about the day and do some crosswords just to kind of get my mind off golf. Just a way of being together because I won't see him for a while. He is going back to Sweden, so it was just nice to have him close to me this week: He has been here for two weeks.
Q. Janice Moodie mentioned your situp routine. How many do you do a day?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: It varies. But I do a lot of it situps.
Q. A couple of hundred a day?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I do a lot more than 100. I do a lot of crunches. I do a lot of medicine ball. I do a little more than 500. I do between 500 and 1,000. It varies. Like I said, some are tougher than others, but I do a lot of situps. I do about 750 to be honest.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Zero. I can't do more than 10 pushups. I can go home and practice (laughs) I work out during tournaments, yeah. I didn't do it this morning, no. This week I haven't done too much. I haven't felt so good, but I just think having a strong back in golf is good and situps is -- it is something that you know, I know Tiger does a lot of situps and I have challenged him but he hasn't said yes yet. So maybe he is home doing some.
Q. If you had to come up with one or two words to describe yourself what would they be?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I am sorry what was the last part.
Q. Because I am running out of adjectives.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I am very, very stubborn. I am very competitive.
Full Coverage of the Nabisco Championship
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas
He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.
Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.
Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.
In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.
Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.
Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.
Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic
Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double
Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open
Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open
Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row
Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow
Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship
The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ
Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year
And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season
Photo Galleries: Best of ...
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com counted down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below. And click here for the full collection of articles.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.
The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.
They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.
Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.
Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.
Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.
''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''
The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.
In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''
Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.
Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia
Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.
Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.
Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.
Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.
It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.
The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.