Annika Sorenstam - April 26, 2012

By Morning Drive TeamApril 26, 2012, 12:12 pm

When asked about who is the best male or female player without a Major, Annika said Ai Miyazato as she has won 8 times on the LPGA Tour and has had a great deal of success in her native Japan. She is not a long hitter but she takes advantage of the strengths that she does have in her golf game and Annika would like to see Miyazato earn her first Major win soon.

She is surprised that Luke Donald and Lee Westwood have never won a Major and she is also surprised that you can be World #1 without winning a Major. She said that there is a part of her that thinks that you should not or cannot be World #1 if you have never won a Major. Donald is a very consistent player and given that fact, Annika thinks that Donald is more likely than Westwood to earn his first Major win.

Jessica Korda and Angela Stanford are the only Americans to win in the first seven tournaments of the 2012 LPGA Tour and it is always important for the LPGA Tour that Americans are successful because the tour is based in the United States. That being said, she would love to see Europeans win on the 2012 LPGA Tour and with a lot of events left in the season, there are plenty of opportunities for Americans and Europeans to win this year.

Yani Tseng is the player who is dominating the LPGA Tour right now but because you see several American players being marketed aggressively, many would think that they are challenging Yani for dominance when in reality they are not.

If she could draft a player based who has the brightest future and the biggest potential to win Majors and other tournaments, Annika said Rory McIlroy because of what he has already accomplished and because of all of the great qualities he has as a golfer and as a person. She also mentioned Yani Tseng but Annika added that women on average tend to have shorter careers than the men so she mentioned Rory in part because it is more likely that he will have a longer career and more chances to win. Bubba Watson is a third player that Annika mentioned as she is excited about his potential after winning The Masters.

Lexi Thompson is conducting a contest to pick her prom date where you have be a member of the military between the ages of 18-20. When Annika was asked about the prom, she said that Sweden does not have a tradition like the prom. Annika also said that she thinks that what Lexi is doing with this contest is a great idea.

On the question of a Major hangover, Annika said that winning a Major Championship may not change the person but it certainly changes one’s life as the demands on your time increase significantly. Bubba Watson has already talked about those demands and when you are a Major Champion, you have an obligation to fulfilling at least some of those new demands. She certainly knows from personal experience what it is like to live up to the obligations of being a Major Champion.

Major Champions run the gamut from Tiger Woods who has won numerous Majors and Trevor Immelman who has not won since the 2008 Masters. It is a real challenge to maintain the drive and the hunger to win after winning that first Major and she hopes that Bubba Watson will be able to keep that hunger to win more.

It is exciting to see Seve Ballesteros’ son Javier enter his first pro event at the same course where his father Seve made his pro debut in 1974. She was not initially aware that Javier was such a great player but she is very impressed and excited about what he is doing.

When asked about the idea of Augusta National hosting a women’s tournament, Annika started by saying that when the Augusta National agreed to host men’s and women’s golf in the 1996 Olympics, it was a very exciting idea and it was unfortunate that it ultimately did not happen. She has been fortunate enough to play Augusta National in the past and of course she would support the idea of a women’s event there because it would be a sign of how far the women’s game has come. When asked if a tournament at Augusta National could bring her out of retirement, Annika jokingly asked if there were pro-am spots before indicating that no, an event there would not get her out of retirement.

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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.