Sorenstam Cruises to Evian Masters Title

By Sports NetworkJune 15, 2002, 4:00 pm
Evian-les-Bains, France - Annika Sorenstam carded a three-under 69 Saturday to cruise to a four-shot victory at the Evian Masters. Sorenstam finished at 19-under-par 269 for her fifth win of the season.
'I love this event,' said Sorenstam, who collected $315,000 for the win. 'It's kind of like the women's Masters for us. It's a beautiful setting, a first- class event, a top field. It's one of the biggest tournaments on our schedule.'
Maria Hjorth became the second player to match the course record this week with a round of eight-under 64. She finished alongside Mi Hyun Kim in a tie for second at 15-under-par 273.
Sorenstam enjoyed a four-shot lead at the start of the final round and never looked back. Her lead shrank to two shots after Kim collected three straight birdies from the third and Hjorth pulled within three late in the round but the outcome was never in doubt.
The Swede continued her dominating play with a three-foot birdie at the par-4 third at Evian Masters Golf Club to reach 17-under.
At the par-5 seventh, Sorenstam reached the green in two and two-putted for another birdie. She climbed to 19-under at the par-4 10th after she knocked her eight-iron inside seven feet of the hole.
Sorenstam three-putted for her only bogey of the round at the par-3 14th but regained the shot three holes later at the 17th.
The 31-year-old landed her tee shot within one foot of the cup. She tapped in for birdie to break the previous tournament record by two strokes.
Sorenstam earned her 36th career victory on the LPGA Tour and second at this event. In 2000 she ousted Karrie Webb in a playoff to win the tournament.
'I've won a lot, and I love to win,' said Sorenstam. 'I think the more I've won, I realize how much winning means to me. It never gets old.'
Last year Sorenstam achieved her fifth victory of the season at the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship in May. In 2002, Sorenstam waited until June to grab No. 5 but she feels her game is above the standards of the year before.
'With the way I'm playing now, I really feel like I'm playing better than last year,' said Sorenstam, who cemented a spot in this year's Solheim Cup with the win. 'I'm striking the ball better and I'm making more putts, so in turn I'm scoring better. That's what I'm looking for.'
Hjorth played a flawless round on the course by the lake. She had three birdies on the front side and added another five on the inward nine. Hjorth had a chance to set a new course record at the last but her birdie putt skimmed the hole.
'I just thought it would break more than it did,' said Hjorth. 'Maybe I hit it too firm to take the break. It was a good putt, it just didn't drop in.'
Laura Diaz fired a seven-under 65 to finish at 14-under-par 274. She was joined by Se Ri Pak, who earned her second LPGA Championship last week, in a tie for fourth.
Vicki Goetze-Ackerman was alone in sixth at 13-under-par 275. Grace Park, Karine Icher and Leta Lindley were one shot further back at 12-under-par 276.
Cristie Kerr struggled to a round of two-over 74. She finished alone in 10th at nine-under-par 279.
Full field scores from the Evian Masters
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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:

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Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to to submit your picks for this week's event.

Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

"The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

"You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

"But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."