Looking at the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play, Annika began by saying that many people – including Annika herself- were expecting Luke Donald to have a strong week and she was a bit surprised that the World #1 played the way he did and lost 5&4 to Ernie Els. In Match Play, all you can do is play the best golf you can and that can result in a win or a loss. It is much tougher to take a Match Play loss if you played poorly than if you played well and your opponent simply played better.
When you are leading in Match Play late in the round, it is tempting to start worrying about your score instead of your game and that really stress you out. The worst thing you can do when you are leading late is to start counting down the remaining holes because if you do that, you are vulnerable to getting caught and losing.
Tiger Woods has been working on so much over the last year and there were some swings that did not look good to her. Tiger’s position at the top of his swing looked very different and some of the shots he hit were unbelievably erratic. It is odd to see this from Tiger this week because his swing looked great at Pebble Beach. But still, a win is a win in Match Play and Tiger lives to see another round. He has a lot of work to do and seems to want it more than anybody but what Tiger needs to do is play more and to continue to work and she does not have any doubt that he will do that. The key to a successful swing is the ability to repeat it and Tiger does not seem to be able to repeat his swing often enough.
She wished that she had an update on the Olympic Course Designer announcement but she is waiting on news just like everyone else. She is not sure when she will hear something about this but she will let Erik and Gary know when she does.
Next week, she will be participating in a Ladies’ Day at The Honda Classic in West Palm Beach. There will be a lot of great people there and she looks forward to taking part and meeting with folks who are very interested in being involved with golf and the PGA TOUR.
She is heading to Phoenix, Arizona to take part in an event called Escape for Good which is a gathering a lot of athletes including herself, Mia Hamm, Andre Agassi, and others and it is a chance for the athletes to raise a lot of money for a lot of different charities.
When asked about her interest in appearing on “Dancing With The Stars” after Tony Dovolani expressed his interest in having her on the show, Annika said that a year ago she received a call from the show to be involved and she turned down that offer because she was pregnant. Now that she is not pregnant, she said that she would be interested and also said that when she and her husband were dating, they took dance lessons. She would be interested in being involved but it will come down to whether or not the show wants to have her participate.
When she watched Tiger during his match with Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, she saw Tiger do what great players do: turn a bad round into a not so bad round. As a result, he was able to pull off a 1UP win and now he is in the second round against Nick Watney who defeated Darren Clarke in the first round.
On the question of whether or not she would like to see more Match Play events, Annika said that she enjoys the format as a player and as a fan but she would not necessarily want to see more events like this. This format may be better for the LPGA Tour than the PGA TOUR because of the volatility and the likelihood of upsets. The timing of this event is also important because the earlier the event, the more likely people will pay attention to it. If you have this kind of event only once or twice a year, you are more likely to have the participation of all of or at least most of the best players in the world which is also important to the success of the event.
The kind of match play player which gives her the most trouble is someone who is slow and very deliberate with their game but also someone who is very chatty on the course gives her problems as well. It is wise to focus on your own game in this format and not get too emotional over individual shots and individual moments. She is also someone who likes to walk ahead of her opponent in this format.
When you are leading a match, you are more generous when it comes to conceding putts to her opponent but when you are tied or behind, you are not generous at all. When she was the Assistant Captain for the European Solheim Cup team, she did not advise the players to use forms of gamesmanship because she does not feel that is a good part of the format.