No 3 Remarkable Just Routine

By Mercer BaggsDecember 29, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Stories of the Year - #3Editor's note: TheGolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 stories from the 2005 golf season. This is Story No. 3.
 
Somewhere out there Annika Sorenstam is reflecting on her accomplishments of this past season. Or perhaps shes already done that. Maybe shes already outlining her goals for 2006.
 
Regardless, she will have a difficult time matching her most recent results, which is just fine with her ' she needs the motivation.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam has won 43 LPGA Tour events over the last five seasons.
You see, achievement is like a drug to Sorenstam. She craves it, she needs it. But shes experienced it so many times now that shes almost built up immunity to it.
 
She needs more and more, if just to feel the same level of satisfaction shes felt over the last few years. In crude terms, shes an achievement junkie.
 
For me, its really self-satisfaction, Sorenstam said at this years ADT Championship. Its the contentment I get out it.
 
Its not enough for her to win the most tournaments each year, or to win a major championship, or the money title, or player of the year honors.
 
Shes done all of that for five years running now. She needs new experiences, new achievements, new goals ' something to keep her going, something to keep her working as hard as or even harder than she has.
 
If I just went out there and wasnt specific on my goals, or if I wasnt pushing myself higher, I think it would be tough for me to go out there and practice, she said.
 
This aint easy. If shes going to keep pushing herself ' her mind and her body, at the age of 35, with all that shes already accomplished, there must be more to be had.
 
Like winning the single season Grand Slam. Or Kathy Whitworths career wins record.
 
Sorenstam began this year with the goal of accomplishing the former, and, in the process, working her way closer to the latter.
 
Her season began promisingly with a victory in her first start, and then another in her second, and yet another in her third. That third triumph was actually her fifth in a row, dating back to last season, which tied her with Nancy Lopez for the most consecutive tournaments won in tour history.
 
It also came at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Sorenstam won the seasons first major by eight strokes. The Grand Slam was no longer hypothetical; it was possible.
 
After two more wins in four more starts, Sorenstam entered the McDonalds LPGA Championship as the two-time defending champion. She left as the first player since Patty Berg (1937-39 Titleholders Championship) to win the same major three straight years.
 
The Grand Slam was no longer possible; it was probable.
 
Sorenstam was the overwhelming favorite to win the U.S. Womens Open at Cherry Hills. But three closing bogeys in the second round put her out of contention early. She finished at 12 over, in a tie for 23rd place.
 
There may have been a post-Grand Slam hangover, because she won only once in her next six starts. But, just as she did a year ago, she won three of her final four events, defending her titles in the Samsung World Championship, Mizuno Classic and ADT Championship.
 
The final numbers: 10 LPGA Tour wins (in 20 starts); two majors; $2,588,240; one money title; one scoring title; one player of the year trophy.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Sorenstam is only 22 wins behind Kathy Whitworth on the all-time list.
Its not my best year, but its probably top 4 for sure. I dont know; Im so spoiled in years, Sorenstam said.
 
Yes, I won a lot of tournaments. But I just feels like its been a good year from everything that Ive gone through the last year. Its not just about the victories.
 
Things have been wonderful, almost too good inside the ropes for Sorenstam over the past few years. Off the course, however, theres been turmoil.
 
Her marriage was on the rocks most of last season, and she filed for divorce in February.
 
Last year was a big blur, she said about a season in which she won eight times. I really dont know how I survived a lot of it and how I was able to focus once I was inside the ropes. This year, I had a little more energy.
 
Golf has been my savior, theres no doubt about it. Its great to have something that you enjoy to fall back on. Ive spent my time thinking about golf. Ive added a few tournaments. Its been very helpful.
 
As Sorenstam sat and made these statements on the eve of the season finale, it was hard to believe that three years ago, at the same tournament, she was contemplating retirement, talking about her outside interests and the possibility of becoming a mother.
 
But no longer.
 
A few years ago, things were looking a little different and I had some different plans and some different goals, she said. Then it took a little bit of a spin and I had to adjust, and here I am a few years later ' a different outlook on life and some different goals at the moment, and right now Im focusing my life on golf. Thats what I have.
 
Three years ago, Sorenstam was also talking about one day winning 50 tournaments. She now has 66. And now Whitworths all-time record of 88 is within reach.
 
If you think of the last few years, then its realistic, she said. I dont know if I can keep up the high level of golf. I need to do this for another three, four or five years. I dont know if I could do that. One of the reasons is obviously to push the body so hard. Another reason is, do I want to continue on this pace, that level, week after week?
 
But continue she will, because, as she stated, golf is her life at the moment.
 
Next season will likely be much like this one. She will try to win as many events as possible. She will try and win all four major championships. She will try and win everything there is to win.
 
And she will keep challenging herself and pushing herself and seeing just how great she can be. Because that is who Annika Sorenstam is.
 
Its not like I have to do this, she said. This is something that I put on myself, and I enjoy the challenge and like to see if I can have a final destination. I like to see if I can do the journey, you know what I mean?
 
Related Links:
  • The Year in Review
  • Annika Sorenstam's Bio
  • Kraft Nabisco Championship Coverage
  • McDonald's LPGA Championship Coverage
  • U.S. Women's Open Coverage
  • Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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