Annika Sorenstam - June 21, 2012

By Morning Drive TeamJune 21, 2012, 12:08 pm

Annika was playing in the CVS Caremark Charity Classic earlier this week in Rhode Island and was paired with Peter Jacobsen in the team event. There were top players from the LPGA Tour as well and it was a lot of fun although she and Jacobsen did not play as well as they wanted. She had never seen the course before and she had a wonderful time as it had the feel of a PGA TOUR event.

She really enjoyed watching Peter Jacobsen perform his impressions of various players including Craig Stadler, Colin Montgomerie, and even an LPGA Tour player. His impressions were very funny and she spent a great deal of time laughing. The event has raised millions of dollars for charity over the years and she enjoyed getting to be part of such a special event.

Lorena Ochoa has said that she is very happy to be raising a family and being away from the LPGA Tour. They played golf together recently and Lorena said that she enjoys playing with friends but when they played together, Lorena played incredibly well and Annika would not be surprised if Lorena did not return to competition on a regular basis.

When asked about Yani Tseng’s recent struggles including her T59 in the Wegmans LPGA Championship, Annika said that she is concerned and she has spoken with Yani about various things but she cannot see why Yani should feel a lack of confidence. She is the top ranked player in the game and just like everyone else she is going to have peaks and valleys in terms of performance. The key is being able to get through those valleys and Annika feels that Yani will have no problem doing that.

Two of the most important features of The First Tee are the Nine Core Values and the Nine Healthy Habits which she is personally involved in. She considers the Nine Healthy Habits to be a back nine companion to the Nine Core Values and it is so important to try to establish strong and positive values in the lives of these kids in The First Tee as early as possible.

If she could offer advice to Webb Simpson after his U.S. Open win, she said she would tell him to enjoy this time because you never know if you will win another Major. Also, he should not add too many tournaments and other responsibilities to his schedule because if he does, it is likely that he will burn himself out and negatively impact his performance on the course in the future. She wants him to enjoy this time as much as he possibly can.

There were many surprises at The Olympic Club last week and one of them was the fact that both Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy missed the cut. She was at the U.S. Open last week and although she has never played the course, she knew how tough it was but it was still surprising that the two best players in the world did not play the weekend. She was also surprised to see Tiger Woods play the way he did on the weekend especially after he played so well at the Memorial Tournament and then in the first two rounds at The Olympic Club.

She was also very surprised to see what Jim Furyk did on the 16th tee during the final round and watching him that day, she felt that he seemed very uncomfortable on the back nine and that he was laboring to win the U.S. Open and unfortunately he was unable to get it down.

Tiger Woods is putting a lot of pressure on himself and his attitude is not the same that it used to be in that he seems to be getting way too upset over one bad shot where he used to overcome bad shots and be able to dominate over multiple tournaments. Tiger has become very mechanical in his work with Sean Foley and because he is so focused on his various elements of his swing, he ends up getting wrapped up in details and not focusing on the big picture.

ESPN ranked Annika 4th on the list of Greatest 40 Women Athletes of the Title IX Era and she is very humbled to receive that high ranking. She feels that she has not only achieved a great deal in her career but also that she has tried to encourage many other girls to compete in sports. Title IX has been very instrumental in providing opportunities to girls to compete in sports and she is a big supporter of what the law has done and she is looking forward to watching her own daughter compete in sports.

When she was at the CVS Caremark Charity Classic in Rhode Island, she was close to the Newport area where she won her third U.S. Women’s Open in 2006. Many fans came out to the tournament with flags and memories of that event and looking back, that particular win was incredibly special because it had been 10 years since her second U.S. Women’s Open win and she worked very hard to win that third one. The week was also very difficult as there were numerous fog delays and she also had to play in what would end up being the final 18-hole playoff in the history of the U.S. Women’s Open.

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Stenson one clear of loaded leaderboard at Bay Hill

By Nick MentaMarch 17, 2018, 10:10 pm

Four of the top 15 players in the world and two men with stellar amateur resumes will do battle Sunday to win Arnold Palmer Invitational. Here’s how things look through 54 holes at Bay Hill, where Tiger Woods sits five back at 7 under par.

Leaderboard: Henrik Stenson (-12), Bryson DeChambeau (-11), Rory McIlroy (-10), Justin Rose (-9), Ryan Moore (-9), Charley Hoffman (-8), Rickie Fowler (-8), Talor Gooch (-8), Ben An (-8)

What it means:  For the second straight day, Stenson (71) will go off in the final pairing with DeChambeau (72), after both players failed to separate themselves from the field in Round 3, shooting a combined 1 under. Stenson really should have a win at Bay Hill by now. He finished in the top-10 four years in a row from 2013-2016, with three top-5s. The closest he came to victory was in 2015, when he lost to Matt Every by one shot after being put on the clock and three-putting the 15th and 16th greens. If he’s finally going to close the deal Sunday, the world No. 15 will need to hold off challenges from three of the top 13 players in the OWGR – No. 5 Rose, No. 7 Fowler and No. 13 McIlroy – and two men who won both the NCAA individual championship and the U.S. Amateur – DeChambeau and Moore.

Round of the day: John Huh and Austin Cook both made the 1-over cut on the number and shot 66 Saturday to move into a tie for 18th at 5 under.

Best of the rest: McIlroy, Rose and Jason Day (-5) all signed for 67. McIlroy remains in search of his first worldwide win since he walked away from East Lake with the Tour Championship and the FedExCup in 2016.

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Biggest disappointment: Fowler was 11 under for the week but dropped three shots in his last two holes. He failed to get up and down from the front bunker at 17 and then had his ball almost fully bury in the lip of a greenside trap at 18. With only a small portion of the ball visible, Fowler took two to get out of the sand and two-putted his way to a double-bogey 6, dropping him to 2 under for the day and 8 under for the championship.

Shot of the day: Woods’ 210-yard 5-iron from the fairway bunker at the par-5 16th:

Quote of the day: "I'm going to have to shoot a low one tomorrow, and probably get a little bit of help. But my responsibility is to go out there and shoot a low one first." – Woods

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TT postscript: Many birdies, but not much momentum

By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 10:09 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – There were plenty of cheers for Tiger Woods during the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but there’s also still plenty of ground to make up on the leaders. Here are some thoughts and observations after walking and tracking on a steamy afternoon at Bay Hill:

• Let’s start with the good. Tiger birdied a third of the holes Saturday, including a 12-footer on the final green that nearly blew the roof off the place. On a day when he didn’t appear to be firing on all cylinders, it’s yet another encouraging sign that he’s able to put up circles by the handful on a course where he once dominated.

• There is, however, a reason that we’re not talking about a vintage Saturday charge from Woods. His six birdies were countered by three bogeys, including a wobbly effort on the second hole and another dropped shot on the 17th when his ball became plugged in a bunker. It added up to a 3-under 69, and at 7 under he trails Henrik Stenson by five shots heading into the final round.

• The unquestioned shot of the day came on the par-5 16th hole, where Woods found himself up against the lip in a fairway bunker. After initially pulling out a sand wedge to lay up, he went back to the bag and grabbed a mid-iron after deciding he had found a way to skirt the lip on the right side. His shot carried the grass face by inches before flying over a greenside creek and running out 15 feet behind the hole. While he failed to convert on the eagle putt, it’s a risk-reward shot that brought a smile to his face after the round. “I tried to pull it off, and I hit a good one,” he said.

• Heading into what’s likely his final competitive round before the Masters, Woods believes one of the strengths of his sudden resurgence has been his ability to once again rely on feel rather than swing thoughts. “I’m just playing shots, playing the holes, playing angles, where to miss the golf ball,” he said. “All these things are becoming more intuitive.”

• Woods was largely optimistic after the round, explaining that in his mind he both played well and scored well. But the strokes gained numbers indicate he actually lost nearly a half shot to the field around the greens after going only 1 for 4 on sand saves. He converted a tricky up-and-down on No. 5, but couldn’t make mid-range saves on Nos. 2 and 17 and failed to get up and down for birdie on the par-5 12th after a birdie on the previous hole.

• Ever the numbers guy, Woods expected to be trailing by five or six shots after posting 7 under. The deficit is officially five, and while he still holds out hope of a ninth API victory he knows that a strong close may not be enough. “I’m going to have to shoot a low one tomorrow and probably get a little bit of help,” he said.

• Overall, it felt like a middling performance, and a round largely devoid of momentum. But that in and of itself is a testament to how far Woods has come in the last three weeks. Perhaps he’s become a victim of his own hype after a runner-up finish at Valspar turned him into the tournament favorite this week, to the point where anything short of a drought-breaking win will seem disappointing. But a largely solid 54-hole stretch that has him inside the top 10 heading into Sunday would have seemed like a Herculean achievement as recently as a month ago.

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Rose thrives in Tiger's group, shoots 67 at Bay Hill

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 10:05 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose has played plenty with Tiger Woods over the years.

Saturday’s round was just … louder.

The Englishman had a feeling that the third round might be a little different when he was waiting to be introduced on the first hole at Bay Hill.

“Hurry up, Justin!” a fan hollered. “We want to see Tiger!”

That spectator was roundly booed, and Rose proceeded to stripe his fairway wood down the center. In fact, even with the decidedly pro-Tiger crowds, Rose barely missed a shot in shooting a 67 that put him just three shots back of Henrik Stenson.

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“It focused your mind,” he said afterward. “I was definitely more nervous today – it took me a hole or two to settle into my round 100 percent, just because there’s more energy out there on the course.

“But for me, Ryder Cups and major championships, those are the types of atmospheres you’ve got to play well in and I enjoy it, so it focuses your mind.”

Rose beat Woods by two shots Saturday, 67-69, in their first Tour round together in five years.

“People are more into this comeback this time around, I think,” Rose said. “It’s fun to play out there, for sure.”  

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Lesson with Faxon gets McIlroy's putting on track

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 9:53 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Two tweaks have Rory McIlroy in position to earn his first PGA Tour title in 18 months.

The first was to McIlroy’s long game.

One of the game’s preeminent ball-strikers and most prodigious drivers, he has struggled over the past few weeks, including a missed cut at last week’s Valspar Championship.

The fix was “a feeling” with his backswing. He said that he’s trying to feel as though he’s making a three-quarter backswing, because when he’s too long he misses both ways.

“I’m just bunting it around,” he said with a smile, but actually he’s ranked first in driving distance this week.

The second fix was to his maligned putting stroke.

Ranked 124th on Tour in putting, McIlroy met with former PGA Tour player and putting savant Brad Faxon for a few hours Monday at the Bear’s Club in South Florida.

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“I didn’t really hit many putts,” McIlroy said. “It was more of a psychology lesson than anything else.”

The goal was to making McIlroy’s putting more instinctive and reactive, instead of being bogged down with mechanics.

It has worked so far. Through three rounds, he is ranked second in strokes gained-putting, gaining more than seven-and-a-half shots on the field on the greens.

McIlroy’s third-round 67 put him in the penultimate group, just two shots back of Henrik Stenson.

“I can’t really ask for much more,” McIlroy said.