Annika Sorenstam Press Conference
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yeah, I am happy to be here today. It has been a rough few days, but I feel much better now with a little rest behind me and just happy to be out playing a little bit, swing a little bit. This is the tournament that I have been waiting for so now it is here so I am really excited about that.
Q. Why has it been a rough few days? What has it been like for you?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, it has been, first of all, a lot of golf, a lot of tough golf playing in the last group. It is a lot of pressure, a lot of excitement. I was actually quite tired after Tucson; then coming into Phoenix and shooting such a low score on Friday I could not have asked for -- it was just incredible. There was so much pressure and so much -- I mean, I was overwhelmed, just emotionally I have been tired; then to finish up to win on Sunday in Phoenix it was just emotionally draining. I am very happy but it took so much out of me. I just needed to rest a few days.
Q. Do you feel like you will be able to get your energy back since you have been on the go so much?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Oh, yeah. Like I said, I have been looking forward to this tournament for so long that I mean, I am going to have all the energy that I need tomorrow. I will be pumped up.
Q. I think you are 50 under par your last two tournaments. What have you been doing right?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I am making a lot of putts. I am hitting a lot of good shots too which gives me a lot of birdie opportunities. I am just -- it has been so solid overall from tee-to-green, and then I am making the putts. I had one or two 3-putts in 8 rounds which is unusual for me. I am holding those birdie putts between eight and ten feet which I have lot of those and now they are going in and I am making birdies. I haven't made a lot of mistakes. I haven't been in trouble. That is the way I have been able to score.
Q. Do you recall was it that long ago you were worried about your putting, does that it even seem that was you?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I was a little worried a few years ago, but now I am really happy. I am excited. I feel very comfortable with the putter in my hand right now. I look forward going up to the green and making the putt. Before I didn't want to get up to the green because I knew what was going to happen. Now it is like give me the chance, I want to make it.
Q. A couple of years ago when David Duval shot his 59, he later said it took him a couple of months to understand you know, to really have an impact on him as to what had happened and how many people were still coming up to him later. Have you had a lot of reaction from people you have just met and do you think it has really kind of sunk in at this point or is it going to take a little while?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: It has definitely not sunk in yet, and I think I must agree with David, it seems like it is going to take a few months. I have always dreamed about shooting 54 and here I was very close, and I didn't really know what to expect and how to feel. When people asked for my signature they want me to put 59 and it is a little unusual but I love it obviously. But it is going to take a while to sink in.
Q. How was this different than the 61 that you set as the previous record?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I mean, it is only two shots, but it is so much more than just two shots. I can't even describe it, the difference. I remember it's a special feeling on Friday last week, I mean, I felt like I was so much in control. I hit every green and I made, you know, 13 birdies. When I shot 61 at Sara Lee in Tennessee, I remember holing a few shots. It was a little more luck. Here it was just simple golf, fairway green, make the putt. It was just kinds of the dream round that I have in my head.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: When I came down the end I needed to birdie every hole.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I shot 7-under on the back, so I kind of recovered more than at Moon Valley I started 8-under on the back so then it was the opposite.
Q. Now that you have had a couple of days to think about it, can you articulate your mindset at all during that -- during that round as far as something that felt different, something that you were able to draw and might be able to draw on again?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: What comes to my mind is just how easy it felt in the sense I wasn't worrying about anything. I would stand on the tee; I would just swing it. I would stand on the fairway, I was just trying to hit the green. I wasn't worrying where the ball was going; same thing on my putting, I wasn't worrying about my second putt. I was just looking at the hole and that is what I was concerned about. Just it -- like I was so free in my mind, there was no excess or whatever you call it around me. It was this is what I was doing. I know in the past I would think so much around the course: What happens if I hit it there; where is the best place to play. This is just a matter of hitting it the way I want to hit it.
Q. Having said that and being able to draw on that, you know, you sort of experienced a lull regarding the majors the last couple of years, and will you be able to -- I know you talked about maybe that you put too much pressure on yourself and maybe you thought your way right out of it, but I don't know, can you -- I am thinking you can't use that as an excuse anymore.....
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: No excuses. The majors mean a lot to me and the last few years I have come into them with a lot of -- with high expectations wanting to them so badly. I felt the same way this year, but I think I have learned a little bit the last few years that I am just going to try and stay calm; not try to win the tournament the first day which is what I have done in the past. I have been putting too much pressure on myself too early instead of just trying to play steady golf and hopefully I am in contention on Sunday. That is what I want to be in. I want to have a chance on Sunday. If I can just keep my nerves and it is almost like you are in the starting block and I start too early. I have to wait for the gun to go.
Q. If you can allow yourself a little reflection, if you might be able to put into perspective what shooting 59 would mean for the LPGA, for women's golf?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, I think we will find out, but obviously it's got a lot of attention and I just saw the cover on Golf Week, Golf World, that is a great start. I think it gives publicity to the Tour. I think it gives some credibility to the players out here. We can play -- I hope people -- there are other players out here that I think can do the same. Who knows when it will be, but there is some good golf out here.
Q. Is this a golf course, this particular golf course that you feel like you should have played better on or should have won on or if it is your game, since you are spending more time out here obviously you had a chance to -- have you snuck over and played a few extra rounds here?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I have to admit I have come over here a few times. Not because we have this tournament here but because I really love this golf course. I think it's a fabulous course. Especially the last few holes, some great golf holes. I do think the course fits my game well. It demands accuracy off the tee. It demands good iron shots into the greens also. And I have done good here in the past. What I can recall in 1996 I finished second. I lost to Patty Sheehan by one single shot. That has been haunting me a little bit. I know I can play out here. It is, I think the last two years I have got off to shaky starts, that I always had to play catchup. And this year I am just -- hopefully I will get off to a good start and after that I won't have to catch up so much.
Q. Karrie was in here yesterday talking about the two of you and kind of like a rivalry going. She says when she is out there she wants to beat you as badly as she thinks you want to beat her. Is that the case?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I don't know how much she wants to beat me, but I want to beat her. It has been that way for a while. I really admire Karrie in many ways. First of all, she is a wonderful player and I mean, the way she has played the last two years, I mean, it is just -- you knew that if you beat her you really played good golf. That is what has motivated me. That is -- you knew you'd come out and you knew you had a challenge. It pushed me. I am happy it did because I put a lot of hours in; now it is paying off. I just thank Karrie.
Q. Where is the score card? Are you going to get it back? What are you going to do with it if you do?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I don't know where the score card is but I'd like to get it back. I will frame it and put it in my house.
Q. After Karrie started playing well a couple of years ago, did you feel like you were getting at all complacent? Did you feel like you slacked off a little bit?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I think I slacked off a little bit in the end of 1999, maybe end of 1998 a little bit just because things were just -- things were just going my way. I did practice a lot, but I won a lot of tournaments in 1996, 1997 and it felt real easy at the time. Then Karrie came in just in another gear and that is when I kind of woke up and realized that and I think it was good because after 1999 when I finished fourth on the money list, I was not happy. That kind of pushed me and that is what I needed.
Q. Can you talk about your off-season work regimen, how much work did you do in off the season and what did you focus on?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I focused a lot on my putting. I knew that is what I needed to get better, especially after I left Daytona Beach, Tour Championship, I told myself I am going home to putt and putt and putt. That is what I have done. I figured there is nothing wrong with me; I should be able to putt; it's just a matter of putting in the time and then be able to do it when I come to the course. I figured if I have a lot of practice hours behind me, that should help me when I come into a tournament. And I got off to a good start in Hawaii which is what I needed just to see the confidence and then after that it has been great. I am seeing putts. I am seeing lines and now all I want to do is putt. So it has changed a little bit.
Q. Last year there was mention of Karrie versus Tiger, exhibition perhaps, would you like to take him on or another of your 59s like Duval or Dave Gossett for a made for television money, no object, will that fit into your diary and which course would suit you to take them on?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Give me a tight course, something with tight fairways. I don't mind rough. But I love to play the guys. I enjoy every year when we play in this kind of mixed event. I love playing with the guys. I think it is fun to see how they do things and how they play. I am always up for a challenge, so pick a course that is quite narrow. Distance I don't mind but if you hit it straight I think I have a little advantage there. Not the distance but the accuracy.
Q. Last week we talked a little bit about the fitness aspect of your off-season. Was there anything last week coming down the stretch that you had in your physical, mental reserves that you didn't have in previous years?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I think that is very tough to measure but I do think by, you know, I worked out a lot. I don't get tired as easily and I think if I wasn't in as good shape I probably would have gotten really tired after that Friday. But thanks to the workout, I think, I want to believe that it helped me to be able to win the tournament.
Q. What is a 59 worth in an intimidation factor, anything?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I hope a lot.
Q. Seriously, does it mean anything, you think, or you just hope so?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: You have got to ask the other players.
Full Coverage of the Nabisco Championship
PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation
Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.
The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.
The statement reads:
The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.
Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.
The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.
The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.
The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.
Good time to hang up on viewer call-ins
Golf announced the most massive layoff in the industry’s history on Monday morning.
Armchair referees around the world were given their pink slips.
It’s a glorious jettisoning of unsolicited help.
Goodbye and good riddance.
The USGA and R&A’s announcement of a new set of protocols Monday will end the practice of viewer call-ins and emails in the reporting of rules infractions.
“What we have heard from players and committees is ‘Let’s leave the rules and administration of the event to the players and those responsible for running the tournament,’” said Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules and amateur status.
The protocols, formed by a working group that included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and the PGA of America, also establish the use of rules officials to monitor the televised broadcasts of events.
Additionally, the protocols will eliminate the two-shot penalty when a player signs an incorrect scorecard because the player was unaware of a violation.
Yes, I can hear you folks saying armchair rules officials help make sure every meaningful infraction comes to light. I hear you saying they make the game better, more honest, by helping reduce the possibility somebody violates the rules to win.
But at what cost?
The chaos and mayhem armchair referees create can ruin the spirit of fair play every bit as much as an unreported violation. The chaos and mayhem armchair rules officials create can be as much a threat to fair play as the violations themselves.
The Rules of Golf are devised to protect the integrity of the game, but perfectly good rules can be undermined by the manner and timeliness of their enforcement.
We have seen the intervention of armchair referees go beyond the ruin of fair play in how a tournament should be conducted. We have seen it threaten the credibility of the game in the eyes of fans who can’t fathom the stupidity of a sport that cannot separate common-sense enforcement from absolute devotion to the letter of the law.
In other sports, video review’s timely use helps officials get it right. In golf, video review too often makes it feel like the sport is getting it wrong, because timeliness matters in the spirit of fair play, because the retroactive nature of some punishments are as egregious as the violations themselves.
We saw that with Lexi Thompson at the ANA Inspiration this year.
Yes, she deserved a two-shot penalty for improperly marking her ball, but she didn’t deserve the two-shot penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. She had no idea she was signing an incorrect scorecard.
We nearly saw the ruin of the U.S. Open at Oakmont last year, with Dustin Johnson’s victory clouded by the timing of a video review that left us all uncertain if the tournament was playing out under an incorrect scoreboard.
“What these protocols are put in place for, really, is to make sure there are measures to identify the facts as soon as possible, in real time, so if there is an issue to be dealt with, that it can be handled quickly and decisively,” Pagel said.
We have pounded the USGA for making the game more complicated and less enjoyable than it ought to be, for creating controversy where common sense should prevail, so let’s applaud executive director Mike Davis, as well as the R&A, for putting common sense in play.
Yes, this isn’t a perfect answer to handling rules violations.
There are trap doors in the protocols that we are bound to see the game stumble into, because the game is so complex, but this is more than a good faith effort to make the game better.
This is good governance.
And compared to the glacial pace of major rules change of the past, this is swift.
This is the USGA and R&A leading a charge.
We’re seeing that with the radical modernization of the Rules of Golf scheduled to take effect in 2019. We saw it with the release of Decision 34/3-10 three weeks after Thompson’s loss at the ANA, with the decision limiting video review to “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standards. We’re hearing it with Davis’ recent comments about the “horrible” impact distance is having on the game, leading us to wonder if the USGA is in some way gearing up to take on the golf ball.
Yes, the new video review protocols aren’t a panacea. Rules officials will still miss violations that should have been caught. There will be questions about level playing fields, about the fairness of stars getting more video review scrutiny than the rank and file. There will be questions about whether viewer complaints were relayed to rules officials.
Golf, they say, isn’t a game of perfect, and neither is rules enforcement, though these protocols make too much sense to be pilloried. They should be applauded. They should solve a lot more problems than they create.
Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change
Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.
David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.
“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.
Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.
“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”
Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.
The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.
Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.
Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:
1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.
2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.
While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”
PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes
The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:
The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.
We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.