Sorenstams Shockwave

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the GOLFCHANNEL.com editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
 
SAY IT AIN'T SO...: In a press conference last Tuesday, Annika Sorenstam announced that she would be retiring at the end of the 2008 season. Widely regarded as the greatest women's golfer of all-time, the Hall of Famer's resume includes 72 LPGA Tour victories to date, including 10 majors and the career grand slam.
 
BackspinIt was a shocking announcement from the 37-year-old Swede, who stated she is looking forward to focusing more on her business and personal life. Yes, it would have been great to see Annika battle with Lorena for a few more years, but she is leaving on her terms - something very few athletes get to do. On the bright side, she won't be retired until the end of the season, so enjoy her while you still can. We sure will.
 

...AND BACK TO THE GOLF COURSE: World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa won her sixth title of the year Sunday, firing a 1-under par 71 to capture the LPGA Sybase Classic for the third consecutive year. Bad weather shortened play to just 54 holes, as Ochoa had to grind out the victory, winning by just one stroke over five other players.
 
Backspin In a week that began with all the talk focused on Sorenstam's retirement, the 26-year-old Mexican star stole back the spotlight. Last week in this space, we said the ball was in Lorena's court, and Ochoa responded by topping Sorenstam by five strokes, cementing her spot atop the women's game just when Annika looked to be building momentum. Expect this back-and-forth battle between these two superstars to only get better as summer rolls on.
 

A WIN IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE: Ryuji Imada grabbed his first PGA TOUR victory in a playoff Sunday at the AT&T Classic, after Kenny Perry found the water on the 73rd hole of play. The 32-year-old Imada has been a runner-up three times on the PGA TOUR, including twice already this season and once at this very event a year ago when he found the water in sudden death.
 
Backspin It had to feel good to grab his first TOUR win in the same state he attended college. The University of Georgia alum was perhaps most excited afterwards, knowing the win would bring an invite to an even more prestigious tournament held in Georgia each spring, saying, 'I know I get invited to the Masters now. I always dreamed of playing there since I was a kid. I cant wait to see what its like.' Two childhood dreams realized in one day - not bad.
 

PLAYERS HANGOVER: It was a relatively quiet week on the PGA TOUR. Just one week removed from THE PLAYERS Championship, many of the big names in golf took the week off. The highest ranked player in the AT&T Classic field this past week was 15th-ranked Stewart Cink.
 
Backspin Despite the lack of the 'big names,' the weekend was not lacking in interesting storylines. Fan favorites like Camilo Villegas and Kenny Perry were in contention late; there was even a Shark sighting, as Greg Norman made a rare PGA TOUR start (missed the cut, though, after an opening-round 80); heck, even Matt Kuchar made an appearance on the leaderboard with a T-25 finish. That said, we eagerly anticipate the return of some star power. Like say, I guy named Lefty this week.
 

BEAN THERE, DONE THAT: Andy Bean, winless since the 2006 season on the Champions Tour, hung on for victory at the Regions Charity Classic in Alabama. Loren Roberts finished just one stroke back.
 
Backspin Bean's win, while newsworthy, was just an appetizer for this week's Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. Some of the top names on the senior circuit - Bernhard Langer, Scott Hoch, Tom Watson, Fred Funk - have already won this season and should provide for a great start for the first major of the year on the Champions Tour.
 

BEAM ME UP!: David Mathis claimed the Nationwide Tour's BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greer, S.C., winning by three strokes over Roger Tambellini. It was the 34-year-old Mathis' first Nationwide Tour title.
 
Backspin At one of the more noteworthy events on the Nationwide Tour, Mathis' victory - along with the $121,500 first-place check - all but guarantees his PGA TOUR card for next season. Said the obviously thrilled Mathis, 'It's awesome. Man, I'm just so thankful.' Oh, and he also picked up the keys to a brand new BMW X5.
 

ANTE UP: Next year's World Series of Golf, to be held in Las Vegas, will have a $200,000 entry fee, with a $1.5 million payout for the winner.
 
Backspin This event evokes images of the closing scene from the classic golf flick Caddyshack. No word yet on whether or not they will hold the tournament at Bushwood Country Club or if Ty Webb, Al Czervik, Danny Noonan or Judge Smails will be entering the field.
 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: A fellow by the name of Wayne Gretzky won the pro-am portion of the BMW Charity Pro-Am, partnering with professional Chris Nallen to shoot scores of 59-59-60-62; The USGA announced another corporate partnership - the fourth it has signed in the past 18 months, after going 113 years without one.
 
Backspin You would think this would be big news in the Gretzky household, but hardly. The Great One's wife, Janet Jones-Gretzky, has already been the low celebrity in this event - twice!; Pete Bevacqua, the USGA's chief business officer, vowed, however, the following, 'When you walk on site (Torrey Pines), it is pure. It is logo-free, other than the USGA logo and our championship logo.
 

Related Links:
  • Sorenstam: 'I'm Stepping Away'
  • Full Coverage - AT&T Classic
  • Full Coverage - Sybase Classic
  • More Headlines
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    CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

    1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
    2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
    T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
    T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
    T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
    T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
    T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
    T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
    T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
    T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
    T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
    T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
    T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
    T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
    T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
    T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
    T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
    T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
    T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
    T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
    T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
    T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
    T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
    T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
    T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
    T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
    T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
    T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
    T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
    T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
    T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
    T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
    T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
    T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
    T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
    T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
    T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
    T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
    T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
    T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
    T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
    T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
    T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
    T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
    T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
    T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
    T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
    T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
    T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
    T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
    T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
    T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
    T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
    T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
    T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
    T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
    T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
    T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
    T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
    T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
    T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
    T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
    T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
    T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
    T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
    T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
    T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
    T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
    T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
    T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
    T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
    T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
    T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
    T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
    75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
    76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
    77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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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.