Annika Sorenstam - April 19, 2012

By Morning Drive TeamApril 19, 2012, 12:23 pm

National Golf Day is very important in the effort of promoting the game to lawmakers who can pass legislation and direct money towards the growth of the game of golf in the United States. It is wonderful to see such an organized effort to give the game of golf a better profile in the eyes of people who can really improve the state of the game at least on a financial level.

Yani Tseng is part of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and Annika was honored to write about Yani for that issue of the magazine. It is truly inspiring to see what Yani has been able to accomplish on the golf course and she has so much potential to inspire young women and really make an impact on the game of golf.

Annika said that she was unsure if she was ready to win when she first joined the LPGA Tour in the early 1990’s. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1995 for her first LPGA Tour win, she was caught a bit off guard because although she had practiced many times with the goal of winning the U.S. Women’s Open, she did not know when or if it would happen and then once it did happen, she was unsure if she would ever win again.

There are a number of players in both men’s and women’s golf who are very talented but have never won. She has played with a number of the women players in this category and she would watch them and be very surprised that they were unable to go the distance and win. When she looks back at her career, she acknowledged that the ones that got away from her have as much prominence as the ones where she was able to win.

Kevin Na made a 16 in the 2011 Valero Texas Open on the 9th hole but he has been able to exact some revenge this year as he took a chainsaw to some branches on that hole. Annika said that when it comes to revenge that she would want to exact, she said that the revenge would not involve cutting down branches but rather filling in a pond where she has had problems hitting the ball in the water.

Ian Poulter posted a number of old pictures from when he was a kid on Twitter on Thursday morning from China where he is playing in the Volvo China Open. Annika, Jason, and Gary all thought that the pictures were very amusing.

Annika said that she likes the Wednesday start to the LPGA LOTTE Championship this week in Hawaii. It is great for the LPGA Tour to have their rounds shown in prime time in the United States and the Saturday finish is helpful as well. She is very impressed with the strong attitude of I.K. Kim after her missed putt to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship and was also impressed with her first round 71 in Hawaii.

Scoring conditions were not easy in the first round in Hawaii due to a lot of wind but a lot of big names started with very solid rounds although some including Michelle Wie did not get off to a good start as she shot 78 on her home course. When comparing Wie with Lexi Thompson, Annika acknowledged that she agrees with many people right now that Lexi will end up having a bigger impact on women’s golf over the next five years than Wie will.

Michelle Wie continues to struggle with her putting and as a result she is putting a lot of pressure on her long game. Annika struggled with her putting early in her career and as a result she spent months working only on her putting and she went on to have one of her best seasons following that training.

You have to find balance in the game of golf and that involves still feeling nervous on the first tee and having the butterflies in your stomach while maintaining confidence that you can play well. If you do not have the nerves on the first tee, you begin to wonder if you still have the passion to play the game.

People handle success differently and what she likes about Graeme McDowell is that he is honest about his feelings and about what he wants to do. She was so proud to see him have so much success in 2010 because she is a fan of his and knows him from Lake Nona. It is one thing to work on your golf game and it is another thing to work on what to do after you hoist the big trophy.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


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''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


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The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.