Tiger on Annika Its Great But

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 12, 2003, 5:00 pm
Annika Sorenstam announced Wednesday that she will be the first woman in 58 years to compete on the PGA Tour when she plays in the Bank of America Colonial in May.
 
I think she just wants to find out how good she really is, said Tiger Woods.
 
Sorenstam told The Golf Channel in an exclusive interview that was exactly the reason shes crossing the gender barrier.
 
Plain and simple, I want to see how good I am, she said. I love different challenges and I think this is a great motivation for me.
 
It all boils down to that Im curious. I love to play with the guys. We used to have a lot of mixed tournaments at the end of the year, and now we dont. Here, I get a chance to play with all of them.
 
Woods and Phil Mickelson were among the PGA Tour players who were asked to express the opinions on a female playing on the mens primary tour.
 
I'm curious as anybody to see how the best LPGA player of today, and possibly of all time, will play against the men, Mickelson said.
 
As is Sorenstam.
 
She said she and husband, David Esch, first started talking about playing in a mens event late last year. Then, in the wake of Suzy Whaley qualifying for the Greater Hartford Open in July, Sorenstam was asked in January if she would accept an invitation to a PGA Tour event.
 
She said yes, and the offers began to flow.
 
After that everything was going so crazy and I got invites from everywhere ' totally unexpectedly, she said.
 
Sorenstam, who won 13 times around the world in 2002, picked the Colonial because of its premium on accuracy. The course is 7,080 yards (par 70) with only two par-5s.
 
I think that Colonial is a wonderful course for her to do it on because the holes have a lot of dog-legs. A lot of the men have to hit irons (off the tee), and we might be able to hit from the same spot as Annika, or she might be able to hit from the same spot as us into the greens, said Mickelson, who won the event in 2000.
 
Mickelson also said he expects Sorenstam to make the cut and probably finish around 20th.'
 
How will he fare?
 
I hope 19th or better, he said with a laugh before adding, She's the greatest player on the LPGA Tour. It's not like she's a slouch. She's one of the best ball-strikers in the game today, and putters. I don't see it as being derogatory to finish behind her at all.
 
While Mickelson may compete in Ft. Worth, Texas, May 22-25, Woods will likely skip the event.
 
The worlds No. 1 hasnt made the trip down Hogans Alley since 1997.
 
I think it all depends on the golf course and how they set it up. If they set up the pins in the corners like when I played there in '97, they are hard to get to, they really are, Woods said.
 
Woods, who teamed with Sorenstam in winning the 2001 Battle at Bighorn, wouldnt predict how Sorenstam would fare, but said: I think it's great she's playing, butit will only be great for women's golf if she plays well. I think if she goes out there and puts up two high scores, then I think it's going to be more detrimental than it's going to be any good.
 
Sorenstam, however, is trying not to focus on the pressure.
 
I dont really know what to expect -- thats one of the reasons Im curious, she said. Its going to be such a different experience that I hope I can just hit the middle of the clubface on the first tee.
 
Sorenstam would be the first female since Babe Zaharias in the 1945 Los Angeles Open to compete in a PGA Tour event. Zaharias made the 36-hole cut before shooting 79 in the third round and not qualifying for the final round.
 
Colonial hosted the 1991 U.S. Womens Open. Sorenstam did not play that year, and said shes not sure if she will play in any other mens tournaments.
 
I havent really thought about anything other than this particular event, she said. Im going to take one step at a time.
 
This is really overwhelming. This is becoming like my fifth major.
 
Related Links
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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x