Notes Lukewarm Reaction Annikas Nice Gesture

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Although the British Open is now open to women, don't get the idea the Royal & Ancient rolled out the red carpet.
 
Because there was difficulty comparing handicaps between genders and the length of courses they play, the R&A decreed that only women who finished among the top five in the LPGA majors would be eligible for the first stage of 18-hole qualifying. If they get through that, they can go to the 36-hole final stage.
 
The news didn't generate much of interest on the LPGA Tour.

Sophie Gustafson is the biggest hitter in women's golf. She played the Casio World Open in Japan two years ago and was leading after nine holes, but eventually missed the cut. Because of her power, the Swede would be among the few with a realistic chance at Open qualifying.
 
``The British would be fun to play, but the first stage would be too much hassle for me to do,'' Gustafson said in an e-mail interview. ``I have my own schedule I'm trying to manage, and going to England for 18 holes of golf to maybe get into the (final) qualifying wouldn't excite me very much.''
 
Michelle Wie's father said she might try it, but only if it fits into their schedule.
 
``If we're flying back from Asia or somewhere,'' B.J. Wie said.
 
Annika Sorenstam has shown no interest in competing on the men's tour since she played at Colonial two years ago. She also questioned the distances women would have to travel.
 
``Maybe somebody from Britain will go,'' Sorenstam said. ``They don't have to travel far.''
 
Gustafson said more women might be interested if it were 36 holes and played the week before the British Open. But even then, she said women would have to be motivated to tee it up against the men.
 
``I guess what it boils down to is that the women who are eligible to actually qualify have their own agenda, and trying to get to the 36-hole qualifying probably isn't very high on their list,'' she said. ``I think if you are Michelle Wie and can go and play wherever you like and don't have to worry about the money list ... it would be a fun thing to do.
 
``I just don't have a week to spare just to try to get into the 36-hole qualifying.''
 
PRICE IRRITATED
Nick Price watched the Presidents Cup and called it ``great theater.'' The only thing he regrets is International captain Gary Player telling reporters that Price didn't want to be his assistant.
 
``It was such a letdown not making the team that he'd like to be excused,'' Player said the day after his team was selected.
 
Rubbish, Price replied.
 
``He had four months to come to me and say, 'Nick, if you don't make the team, will you be my assistant?' `` Price said last week at Disney. ``Then I'm on holiday, and he tried to phone me the Sunday night before they announced the team. You wouldn't do that, would you?''
 
Price, who didn't play for two months after the British while spending time with his family, had already added the Texas Open to his schedule when Player called his managers.
 
``I read in a golf magazine that I snubbed the vice captaincy. Snubbed! My God, man, I wouldn't snub that,'' Price said. ``He made it out that he already asked me and I didn't want to do it.''
 
A TOUCH OF CLASS
Annika Sorenstam won the Samsung World Championship by eight shots, but Michelle Wie still got all the headlines over the way she was disqualified in her professional debut.
 
Some top players might have been offended by being ignored after such a great performance. But Sorenstam showed again why she's in a league of her own.
 
According to a Callaway Golf official, Sorenstam sent the 16-year-old player from Hawaii an e-mail the next day that essentially said she was sorry Wie was disqualified, that she got a raw deal that she should be proud of how she played.
 
NO GOOSE
The European tour Order of Merit is now a two-man battle between Colin Montgomerie and Michael Campbell, to be settled this week at the season-ending Volvo Masters in Spain.
 
Montgomerie will try for an eighth money title, and leads the U.S. Open champion by about $183,000. That means Campbell has to finish at least fifth to have any chance of winning.
 
Retief Goosen, meanwhile, took himself out of the race when he didn't play for three weeks while spending time with his family and resting a sore groin.
 
Goosen missed the American Express Championship, a $7.5 million event that would have at least kept him in contention for a third Order of Merit. By not playing -- Monty earned $353,666 with a tie for third at Harding Park -- Goosen now is nearly $400,000 behind and will play on the PGA Tour this week.
 
``It was a big event to miss. It probably cost me the Order of Merit,'' Goosen said. ``But you've got to spend some time with your family. I haven't seen them much over the last three months. I needed to have a break with the kids.''
 
Goosen plans to spend three months in South Africa after the season, and won't return to the United States until the Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa the last week in February.
 
That means missing the Mercedes Championships at Kapalua, a tough decision for a guy who once said there was no better way to start the season than holding a drink with a flower in it.
 
``But with kids, it's 35 hours traveling from South Africa to get there, and that's not what we wanted,'' he said.
 
DIVOTS
Harrison Frazar considered taking a drop from right of the 14th fairway in the final round at Disney because his stance barely put him on the cart path. But uncertain his foot was on cement, he called over to his playing partner, Justin Rose, to make sure. Frazar opted against the drop, and after hitting a good layup on the par-5 hole, spotted a reporter and said with a laugh, ``I wanted to make sure because I didn't want the media to report it.'' He was alluding to a Sports Illustrated writer waiting one day to report an infraction against Michelle Wie, leading to her disqualification at Bighorn. ... Tom Pernice took only 95 putts in the Funai Classic at Disney, but he took 17 of those over the final nine holes. ... Tiger Woods' wife was not at either tournament this year when he missed the cut.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Fourteen of the 32 players who won PGA Tour events last year are outside the top 50 on this year's money list.
 
FINAL WORD
``My blackjack playing has been bad. I figure by not playing there, I probably saved myself $50,000.'' -- Mark Calcavecchia, who skipped the PGA Tour event in Las Vegas for the first time in 10 years.