LPGA Tour Top 5 in 2004

By Golf Channel NewsroomNovember 16, 2004, 5:00 pm
The 2004 LPGA season was an historic one. Annika Sorenstam earned her 50th career tour victory. Se Ri Pak qualified for the Hall of Fame. And scoring records fell by the wayside. But many of the most memorable moments came by way of The Comeback. From Doolan trumping Sorenstam to Sorenstam trumping Park, here are the top 5 tournaments this season.
No. 5 -- Evian Masters

04 Evian MastersWendy Doolan did to Annika Sorenstam at this years Evian Masters what Sorenstam had done so many times to so many others. Doolan started the final round in France trailing Sorenstam by Wendy Doolanfive shots. The 35-year-old Australian, who had only two career LPGA victories to her credit ' compared to Annikas 52, then played a five-hole stretch in the middle of her final round in 7 under par. It was almost as if Doolan and Sorenstam had swapped identities, as Annika played her first 15 holes in 2 over. Heading to the 16th, Sorenstam found herself four down, before birdieing her final three holes. But it wasnt enough. Doolan overcame a bogey at 16 with a closing birdie at the last for a 65 and a one-stroke victory over the defending champion.
There were a lot of birdies and eagles there in a few holes and I'll cherish that for a long time, Doolan said. Every win is a special win and that's why we are out here practicing hard each week and when it came down to it, I made the putt that matters.
No. 4 -- Samsung World Championship

Sorenstam turned the table at the Samsung World Championship ' not on Doolan, but rather on her newest rival, Grace Park. This time, it was Sorenstam who was three down to start the final round of an Annika Sorenstamevent. And this time, it was Sorenstam who would storm back to win. Park, who was very proud of the fact that, dating back to her amateur days, she had never blown a lead when entering the final round, overcame a rocky start on Sunday to maintain a three-stroke advantage after 12 holes at Bighorn. Then Sorenstam went into overdrive, while Park broke down. Sorenstam pitched in for eagle at the par-5 15th, and then birdied 17. Park, on the other hand, bogeyed 13, 17 and 18. When the dust settled, it was Sorenstam who was up by three ' with no holes left to play. It was another memorable comeback victory for Annika, and a bitterly disappointing defeat for Park, who remarked, Im the biggest loser.
It's a wonderful day, said Sorenstam, who won for the 54th time on the LPGA Tour. I'm very pleased with the way I played today. To win this championship again means a lot to me.
No. 3 -- Weetabix Womens British Open

04 Weetabix WomenAnother remarkable come-from-behind victory ' this one authored by Karen Stupples. It wasnt the deficit overcome, however, which was so impressive; it was the manner in which she came back to Karen Stuppleswin. Stupples kick-started the 2004 LPGA season with a record victory at the Welchs/Frys Championship. She shot 22-under 258 that week in Tucson and would again showcase that firepower to capture her first major championship. Rachel Teske and Heather Bowie sat on the third-round lead at Sunningdale, but Stupples, who was one back, ripped that right out from under them immediately on Sunday. Stupples eagled the par-5 first, and then holed a 5-iron for double eagle at the par-5 second. She stalled with six pars and one bogey over her next seven holes, only to ignite once again as soon as she made the turn. She made five birdies to one bogey on the back side for an 8-under 64. Amazingly, it wasnt even the lowest round of the championship. Finlands Minea Blomqvist posted a 10-under 62 Saturday to become the first-ever player ' male or female ' to break 63 in a major. The record belonged to the Fin, but the trophy went to the Englishwoman, who finished five clear of second place.
I knew I needed to get off to a good start, said Stupples, who even shocked herself with her beginning. It just shows you never to give up and you should always keep fighting for your dreams because you never know what is going to happen. If you work hard enough and try hard enough, good things will happen for you.
No. 2 -- U.S. Womens Open

2004 U.S. WomenCertain tournaments define certain players ' for better or for worse. The 2004 U.S. Womens Open will forever define Meg Mallon ' for the better. Mallon was already an Open champion when she arrived Meg Mallonat the Orchards Golf Club, but that victory came way back in 91. She had since recorded 11 top-5 finishes in majors, but only one of those was a win. After three rounds in her home state of Massachusetts, she was in good standing to get another good finish. Still, she needed something special to break through and claim victory. And her putter was special, indeed, on Sunday. Trailing overnight leader Jennifer Rosales by three, and deadlocked with Annika Sorenstam and Kelly Robbins to start the final round, Mallon needed only 25 putts in winning her fourth career major. Her closing 65 was the lowest final round by a champion in the 59-year history of the event, and good enough for a two-shot win over Sorenstam. Mallons round included a 50-foot birdie at the fourth to get her going and a 25-foot par save at the 15th to keep her in command. Not even a late Annika rally was enough to catch the 41-year-old, who felt fated to win with many of her family members watching in the gallery.
My brothers and sister were here today and it was a family effort,' said Mallon. I couldn't even look at them all day today because I knew they were getting emotional, as was I.
No. 1 -- Kraft Nabisco Championship

The biggest question entering the 2004 LPGA season was: Can Annika Sorenstam win the single-season Grand Slam? That question was answered early with a resounding No. The years first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, was contested just four tournaments Grace Parkinto the season. And after opening 71-76, the Soren Slam was and void. Annikas absence ' she didnt miss the cut; just wasnt in contention ' left center stage for a pair of youthful talents. Grace Park and Aree Song shared the lead through 54 holes at Mission Hills Country Club. Park, who had one win in each of her first four seasons on tour, was in search of her first major. Song, an accomplished amateur, was a rookie on tour, having made the cut in each of her first four Kraft Nabisco appearances prior to turning professional. It was the veteran who seemed in control as the two headed down the stretch on Sunday. Park birdied four consecutive holes to take a two-stroke advantage with just six holes to play. It was still that way when the two reached the 485-yard, par-5 18th. Song, who was trying to become the youngest woman to ever win a major, played aggressively, roping a 7-wood within 30 feet of the hole. Park, meanwhile, took the conservative route, laying up short of the water with her second shot and then hitting her third to 6 feet. Needing eagle to have any chance of forcing a playoff, Song drilled the lengthy effort right in the center of the cup and pumped her fist in the air and shouted, 'Yes! Yes! Yes!' Inwardly stunned, Park twice backed off her winning opportunity before finally converting the biggest putt of her life.
'My knees, my arms, my whole body was shaking,' said Park. Right in the heart. I made it. I did it.
Related Links:
  • Top-5 Champions Tour Moments
  • Top-5 European Tour Moments
  • Getty Images

    Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

    By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

    After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

     There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

    It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

    It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

    “The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

    In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

    Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

    Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

    “You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

    Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

    Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

    If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

    For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

    Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

    Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

    While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

    When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

    Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

    After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

    The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

    That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

    The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

    While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

    Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

    Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

    “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

    The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

    Getty Images

    Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

    John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

    That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

    Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

    Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

    Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

    The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

    Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

    "I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

    Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

    Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

    Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.