Sorenstam to Play at Colonial

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 12, 2003, 5:00 pm
Annika Sorenstam will play in the Bank of America Colonial May 22-25, fthe first woman to play in a mens tournament since Babe Zaharias competed in the Los Angeles Open in 1945.
 
Sorenstam's husband, David Esch, confirmed his wife's decision early Wednesday morning. Esch said the details were worked out over the phone late Tuesday night.
 
Last week there was speculation that the club's members didn't want to be the first men's tournament for Sorenstam. But that position shifted abruptly over the weekend when it became apparent that the tournament's new title sponsor, The Bank of America, wanted Sorenstam to play in the tournament.
 
The official press release came out late Wednesday morning. 'Our tournament has historically recognized and supported exceptional players who otherwise would not qualify for our invitational event,' remarked tournament chairman Dee Finley. Annikas accomplishments show that she is certainly deserving. The Colonial Country Club and our board of governors are excited that Annika has accepted our invitation to play.
 
Sorenstam said, 'All the attention and speculation are flattering, and I appreciate that the Bank of America Colonial golf tournament is giving me this opportunity to compete in a PGA Tour event. There were many invitations, but the golf course and schedule of the Colonial were ideal. For all the well-wishers who want to know why I would accept such a challenge, the answer is simple: I am curious to see if I can compete in a PGA Tour event.
 
Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, is listed at 7,080 yards and is
believed to be one of the tour's best suited courses to Sorenstam's game
which is predicated on precision. The course is tree-lined, tight and usually
runs hard and fast.
 
Corpening pointed out that part of the club's initial reluctance to have
Sorenstam play there was what he called the 'spectacle' that arose at
Colonial in 1997. That year their tournament was the first time Tiger Woods
and Fuzzy Zoeller got together after Zoeller's widely circulated off-color
remarks about Woods earlier in the season following Woods' first Masters
victory.
 
Phil Mickelson, for one, welcomes Sorenstam to the competition.
 
'Most of the guys hit 2-iron or 3-wood off those tees and Annika will hit driver,' she said. 'So they are about the same. I don't think their is much of a disadvantage at all. And the fairways are always fast, so it's not like you have to fly it a long way.
 
'I think it's a perfect venue for her.'
 
Sorenstam won 13 times worldwide in 2002 and is clearly the best woman golfer
in the world at the moment.
 
LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw was supportive of Sorenstam's decision.
 
As I have always said, Annika is one of the greatest players the game of golf has ever seen,' said Votaw, 'She has given fans around the world reason to stand up and take notice, as she has shattered record after record and collected more trophies in the past 10 years than anyone ever imagined possible. It is wonderful that the Bank of America Colonial wants to also showcase Annikas immense talent'to share with fans, sponsors and players alike how very special her game and drive to succeed are. We completely support Annikas decision to accept an invitation to compete at the Bank of America Colonial.
 
Regardless of what may be written in the weeks and months to come, this is Annika vs. Annika. Its about Annika challenging herself and breaking down barriers'never stopping in her quest to improve and test her abilities. This sends an empowering and inspiring message to young women and girls everywhere, to set new goals, to have no boundaries or limitations and to be the very best they can be.
 
This same week on the LPGA Tour, the LPGA Corning Classic will celebrate its 25th anniversary. For the past 25 years, it has been a favorite stop on the tour because of its fabulous fans, fantastic community support and a dedicated corporate sponsor in Corning Inc. Certainly fans of the LPGA Corning Classic will miss seeing Annika compete, but they will enjoy a strong field of the very best women golf professionals in the world. I am confident, however, that Annika will make it a priority to participate in the LPGA Corning Classic in 2004, her first full season as an LPGA Tour Hall of Fame member, or in future years.
 
This will be an historic event in golf. No woman has played in a regular
men's PGA Tour event since Zaharias in 1945. Zaharias competed twice in LA, missing the cut the first time before making the first cut in 45. She consequently missed the 54-hole cut. The PGA Tour does not have 54-hole cuts any longer.
 
The Colonial is played at the same time as the Corning Classic on the LPGA Tour. However, Sorenstam has not played there for several years.
 
Kraig Kann and Brian Hewitt contributed to this report
 
Discussion Boards: Annika on the PGA Tour
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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry