Time Off a Welcome Reprieve
If anyone deserves time off, its Annika Sorenstam. After the incredible year she had - winning eight events and breaking countless records throughout the season ' its time to hang up the clubs for a while. Im going to have a long break,' she said. 'Im just going to be home, spend time with my husband, relax, and have fun.
Im not going to touch a club for a while, said Sorenstam after revealing plans to do a little skiing in January. I think that would be important, just to relax. I want to work out and enjoy life a little bit. You know, go out with friends and do the things that you cant do as much when youre on the road. I dont want to think too much ahead.
Lorie Kane, Marisa Baena and Meg Mallon are all looking forward to spending time with family and friends. All three have plans to relax in their homelands. In fact, most players are just looking forward to being home for a while.
We never live at home anyway, so it will be nice to stay in one place for more than a week, Janice Moodie said.
Im going home to P.E.I. (Prince Edward Island), Canada, to spend time with my family, Kane commented. In January Ill return to Titusville (Fla.), start hitting balls and doing some strength training and stretching.
Sorenstam, among others, will have to muddle through the month of December before enjoying the much-awaited break. She has commitments that will keep her busy until Christmas.
Annika, Emilee Klein and myself are doing a junior clinic in Orlando Dec. 9th, Janice Moodie said. Were going to stay active with stuff like that.
Annika has undoubtedly raised the bar on physical fitness this year. She's aware that her competition has taken notice and knows they will follow suit.
I know Karrie and the other players are going to go home and practice this winter,' she said. 'Theyre not going to give it (next season) to me, so I have to continue on this level and keep working hard and try to get better. Mallon and Kane are two such players. Both are both focusing on strength training during the off-season. Baena, the perky player whom you cant help but like, is planning on returning home to Colombia and working out so she can be competitive with Sorenstam next year.
Dorothy Delasin has also made overtones that she will be more fit in the 2002 season. Delasin is already eyeing a spot on the 2002 Solheim Cup team and has plans to win a major. Plans like these indicate that she will be doing more practicing than relaxing.
Not everyone enjoys working out and Sophie Gustafson falls into this category. Its a necessary evil for her, not something she relishes in the least. Gustafson will return to her homeland to relax and be with friends and begrudgingly workout.
I wont be playing golf, the delightful Swede said of her plans. Perhaps a ski trip ... but thats about it. Gustafson will return to competition in February to defend the title she captured in Australia.
With eight tournaments to defend next year, Sorenstams strict workout schedule will remain a major part of the determined Swedes life. There are no plans to change the routine she implemented last winter, which includes three-mile runs, countless crunches, stretching and weightlifting, since it produced the desired results this year.
Karrie Webb isnt planning to change much in her routine for next year either. Pleased with her performance this year, she has no plans to revamp herself physically this winter, a la Annika, but workouts will still be a part of her routine. Im going to stick to it ' as far as working out. Ive been doing it for a couple of years,' she said.
Webb, winner of two majors and the season-ending Tyco/ADT Championship, has no immediate plans to rest. Shes scheduled to play in an event in December before calling it quits this year, and then its off to her homeland. I am going home to Australia for Christmas, which I do normally every year,' she said. 'Ill probably work with my coach down there, just because Ive had a few weeks off now.
Two-and-a-half months off gives Webb ample time to return to her home in south Florida and enjoy a couple of relaxing weeks before returning to competition in Australia. Ill have a few weeks over here practicing, then, Ill head back to Australia again, work with my coach for a week or so, play the Australian tournaments in February,' she said.
Sorenstam, winner of this seasons money title, the Vare Trophy and Player of the Year, admitted she met every goal she set for herself in 2001 - leaving us to ponder what she has in store for next season.
Sorenstam was giving no clues.
Im not setting any goals right now. I just want to let my mind be free, enjoy what happened this year.
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.
While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.
As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.
Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.
And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.
And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.
McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.
The Ryder Cup topped his list.
Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.
When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.
“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.
Or similar assertions from TV analysts.
“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.
And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.
The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.
Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.
And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.
Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.
The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.
The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.
More bulletin board material, too.
Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.
The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.
It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.
The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”
Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.