Annika Sorenstam - October 6, 2011

By Morning Drive TeamOctober 6, 2011, 12:14 pm

Speaking on Tiger’s return at the Open, she does not know what to expect from him this week although she hopes that he begins playing well again. Practice is a very different thing from playing competitively so it will be interesting to see if he can take his game from Medalist to tournaments. Unlike Tiger, she remained with the same instructor for most of her playing life and they worked together on the evolution of her swing and her game. The hardest thing about returning after a long break from competition is getting into the mode of hitting a certain shot when it requires it and pulling it off. She and Tiger talked for the first time last month after losing touch with each other for about two years. She was a little surprised to see Tiger sign with Rolex although she said that Rolex is a world class company (she endorses Rolex) who knows what they are doing and that this may be the most positive Tiger-related news in the last two years. She is travelling a lot and with her two little kids which can be very exhausting but she enjoys the work that she is doing and is having a lot of fun.

The finish to the Solheim Cup this year was incredibly exciting and it marked the first time in a long time that she was back in competitive mode (she was an assistant captain). Watching and not being able to hit the shots was a very different feeling than being able to play in the matches. A lot of LPGA tournament sponsors overseas want limited fields and she supports keeping the fields the way they are. Also, it is a long way to travel to these events and by having limited overseas events it is hoped that that will eventually lead to more domestic events. The LPGA Tour bought the Futures Tour and if they are able to strengthen that tour the way the PGA TOUR has been able to strengthen the Nationwide Tour, it will provide a lot of excitement and a great future for the LPGA Tour.

She was recently in Harlem for an event with The First Tee and her foundation which promoted healthy habits for these kids. It was a lot of fun to spend time with the kids and she ate lunch with them and even participated in some jump rope. She feels that you can more effectively make an impact with various causes by being hands-on and that is what her foundation is all about. By being hands-on, you occasionally venture to some scary places but it also where you can meet some amazing people and witness amazing things happening. Providing access and inspiring kids to play golf go hand in hand in growing the game of golf worldwide. Golf has been a wonderful vehicle for her to get her and her foundation’s message out.

She thinks if Tiger shoots under par he will be happy and it will be a great start for him on a new course after a long layoff from competition. It is encouraging to hear that Tiger seems to have more trust in his own golf swing because if you are trying to focus on a target, you cannot be thinking about swing mechanics and be successful. It is also problematic if you are trying to experiment with your swing on the golf course because you need to have confidence in your routine and in your plan. Tiger is a hard worker and he wants to win.

Lexi Thompson will be a member of the LPGA Tour in 2012 at the age of 17 but Annika still feels that kids should be kids and be allowed to grow. She wants  to see Lexi play well and succeed now that she is a member. It is nothing personal with Lexi but from experience, she knows how important it is to be a kid and she also knows how difficult and complicated life on the professional tour can be. Parents need to be out on tour with their kids for the right reasons but in the case of Lexi, she NEEDS them out on tour because she has to be supervised and also the parents can prevent her from feeling lonely and lost. The Morning Drive crew then presented Annika with a birthday cake as her birthday is this Sunday.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.