Annika Looking for Historic Victory

By Lpga Tour MediaOctober 10, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Samsung World ChampionshipThis could be a very special week for Annika Sorenstam. The No. 1 player in women's golf turns 36 today and would like nothing more than to extend her birthday celebration all week and cap it off with a win at the Samsung World Championship.
 
However, it would not just be any other win on Sorenstam's already impressive resume. It would be an LPGA-record sixth win at the same tournament, as Sorenstam previously took home top honors at the Samsung World Championship in 1995, 1996, 2002, 2004 and 2005.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam will be eyeing a record sixth win at the Samsung World Championship.
Sorenstam and fellow LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame member Mickey Wright are the only players in LPGA history to win the same tournament five times. In addition to her five Samsung World Championship titles, Sorenstam has also won the Mizuno Classic (2001-05) five times. Wright won the Sea Island Open in 1957, 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1963.
 
A win would be Sorenstam's third straight in the event and that would be the fourth time in her illustrious career that she has won a tournament three consecutive years. In addition to the Mizuno Classic, Sorenstam won the McDonald's LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola from 2003-05 and the Michelob Light Classic from 1997-99.
 
The potential of a special week for Sorenstam does not end there with a potential sixth Samsung World Championship title or a successful three-peat. A win would be Sorenstam's 70th of her career and that would put her even more with elite company in the LPGA record books. Only two players'Wright with 82 and Kathy Whitworth with 88'have more wins, but this week presents an opportunity for Sorenstam to join them as only the third player in LPGA history to reach the 70-win plateau.
 
In the past two years that the Samsung World Championship has been contested at BIGHORN Golf Club,
 
Sorenstam is a combined 36-under-par and has won by a collective 11 shots. In addition, seven of her last eight rounds have been in the 60s, so she is a deserving favorite even though her rivals have closed the gap on her dominance this year.
 
Both Lorena Ochoa and Karrie Webb have won four times this year, and both of them want to prevent Sorenstam from making more LPGA history.
 
Ochoa enters the week buoyed by a win in her home country of Mexico at the Corona Morelia Championship where she joined Sorenstam as only the second player in LPGA history to surpass the $2 million mark in season earnings.
 
With four wins and five runner-ups, Ochoa sits atop the ADT Official Money List with $2,124,122 and has a good chance to become the first person not named Sorenstam or Webb to win the ADT Official Money List title in 12 years.
 
Like Ochoa, Webb has four wins this year after failing to record a win last year for the first time during her professional career. She is sandwiched between Ochoa and Sorenstam on the ADT Official Money List and won the last tournament she played, the Longs Drugs Challenge by one shot over Sorenstam. A strong finish to the end of the year and Webb could very easily walk away with the season-ending spoils.
 
Ochoa and Webb both have their goals within their sights, but to reach them they are going to have to blow out the candles on Sorenstam's cake so her wishes of making even more LPGA history don't come true this week.
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.