A Battle Between Sorenstam Creamer


2004 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. --This being Donald Trumps place, Annika Sorenstam and Paula Creamer might as well have been inside the board room arguing their case.
Instead, their dispute took place on the 18th fairway at Trump International late Thursday night, the top two players on the LPGA Tour arguing over where Sorenstams tee shot crossed the hazard and whether she should have gone back to the tee for her next shot.
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam found herself in a rules dispute with playing partner Paula Creamer during the first round of the ADT Championship.
No one got fired.
And Creamer says there were no hard feelings, although she stared hard in Sorenstams direction when the Swede was talking to reporters, and the 19-year-old rookie later engaged in an animated conversation with LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens and rules official Janet Lindsay.
Even so, it might have been seedlings for a rivalry between the undisputed star in womens golf and a rising rookie who wasnt about to back down.
It was her word versus my word, Creamer said.
Were standing 220 yards away, and were talking about inches, Sorenstam said.
By the way, the leader after the first round of the season-ending ADT Championship was Hee-Won Han, who chipped in for birdie on the last hole for a 5-under 67.
Sorenstam was tied for the lead until a double bogey on the 18th hole, where she got the drop she wanted but still three-putted from 40 feet and wound up with a 69. Creamer two-putted for par on the last hole, played in the gloaming because the dispute took so long, and had a 68.
Round two is Friday, which will start with a tee shot, not a bell.
The dispute centered around Sorenstams tee shot on the 420-yard closing hole, with water down the entire right side and a bunker that feeds into the lake. Creamer hit the middle of the fairway. As evening clouds gathered, Sorenstam hit a 4-wood that the strong breeze carried slightly to the right.
There was no splash. They found the ball inside the red hazard line, plugged.
It came in as a little banana, Sorenstam said, reasoning that it had to cross the land before going beyond the red hazard line.
Creamer thought it was over the water during its entire flight, meaning Sorenstam would have had to hit her third shot from the tee. The walking scorer tried to get involved, saying he saw it hit land.
How could it trickle in if its in the sand? Creamer later said.
Another person in the gallery also said he saw it hit land, adding to the confusion.
I dont know if it was a banana ball, Creamer said. I think it did not cross up there. It was her word. Shes the player.
That was the conclusion reached by Lindsay, the rules official in the middle of the debate. In case of a tie, the decision goes to the player who hit the ball.
I dont think she was unhappy, Lindsay said of Sorenstam.
Sorenstam might rule the LPGA, but Creamer wasnt about to give her an inch.
I dont feel that it crossed (the hazard). Were never going to agree because she saw it differently, Creamer said. In my heart of hearts, I did not see it cross. Its her conscience. If she thinks it did, it did.
It wasnt their only dispute.
On the 16th green, after Sorenstam played a difficult chip from the side of a bunker to about 6 feet, the Swede asked if she could fix what appeared to be a pitch mark in the line of her putt. Creamer thought it was a scuff mark, made by spikes, that couldnt be repaired.
When Sorenstam called for a rules official, Creamer told her to go ahead and fix it, then turned her back as Sorenstam stooped down to make the repair. Sorenstam missed the putt.
Creamer already has made it clear she has designs on replacing Sorenstam at No. 1. She won twice this year, including an eight-shot victory at the Evian Masters in France, and further stated her case as a rising star with her play at the Solheim Cup.
Sorenstam already sent one message to the youngsters. She won by eight shots at the Samsung World Championship last month when 16-year-old Michelle Wie made her professional debut. The Swede is going for her 10th victory of the year at Trump International, and already has 65 career wins.
But the gloves came off in the gloaming at Trump International.
Asked if Creamer was satisfied with the drop, Sorenstam said, She didnt have to worry. She was in the fairway. It was probably the most fair thing.
Lost in the argument was a roller-coaster round for both of them.
Creamer started strong with four birdies on the first six holes, until she hit a hybrid club into the water on the par-3 seventh and made double bogey.
Sorenstam, the defending champion, was at 6 under and in the lead until she caught a buried lie in the slope of a bunker right of the 14th green, barely able to identify the ball. She blasted away, only to see the ball roll back into her footprint. She was lucky to get that one out, to about 45 feet, and had to made a 12-footer for double bogey.
Back she came, hitting 7-wood from 210 yards to 15 feet for eagle to restore her lead.
Then came the bogey on the 16th, and the final hole that could serve as the beginning of some interesting times.
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