So Much for Lorena Slam


Well, so much for a Grand Slam in professional golf this year.
Oops, sorry about that, Trevor. Yes the same Trevor Immelman who birdied the last three holes in Memphis Sunday to muscle his way into a playoff eventually won by Justin Leonard, still has a theoretical chance for the calendar slam on the mens side.
If he wins the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines next Sunday, please deposit this column in the circular file.
Meanwhile, Im feeling a little melancholy for the fact that Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam tied for third'not first'after 72 holes of the McDonalds LPGA at Bulle Rock north of Baltimore Sunday.
No disrespect meant to Swedens long-hitting Maria Hjorth and Taiwans 19-year-old Yani Tseng. Theirs was a tense four-hole playoff in which Tseng finally prevailed with a short birdie putt to become the second youngest woman to win an LPGA major. It was also her first win of any kind on the LPGA.
Its just that an Ochoa victory would have marked her third straight win in a major and gotten her halfway to the 2008 Grand Slam. The attendant publicity would have resulted in a windfall of media attention for womens golf. Similarly, a Sorenstam triumph would have framed the debate in womens golf for the rest of the season:
Ochoa or Sorenstam?
Both finished one shot out of the overtime.
The lesson Ochoa will learn (we hope) is to never let the Golf Gods hear you say out loud in public that a golf round was easy. Thats the word she used after cruising to a 65 Friday and the 36-hole lead. It was an honest mistake by an honest person.
But next time, Lorena, try something like this: Gosh, I felt really comfortable out there today. Golf is never easy. But things were really going my way today.
We, the media, probably wont be as happy with couched phraseology. But the Golf Gods are pretty sensitive even when the hubris they hear is unintentional.
Ochoa struggled on the weekend, shooting scores of 72 and 71. Nothing I can do now, she said when it was over. I did my best. It wasnt my time.
Sorenstam could have joined Hjorth and Tseng in the playoff had she birdied the 72nd hole. If her putting had measured up to her ball-striking at Bulle Rock, she would have won going away.
I left a lot of shots out there, she said when it was over. Its a tough time.
And its probably her last time in this event. Not long ago Sorenstam announced she will leave the LPGA at the end of the year. Sounds like she isnt coming back.
I cant imagine an LPGA leaderboard without Annikas name on it, said LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens Sunday.
Nor can most of the rest of us.
And More.....
Finally, a few observations on the mens side as U.S. Open week approaches:
  • I am less skeptical now about the condition of Tiger Woods surgically-repaired left knee. It could turn out to be that the act of walking 72 holes takes more out of him than the act of swinging the club. But the fact that he was walking and playing Sunday at Torrey Pines, reportedly pain-free, was a very good sign.
  • I am waiting to hear Adam Scotts version of the report GOLF CHANNEL aired Sunday regarding the condition of the little finger on his right hand. One source, deeply embedded in the Scott camp, told GOLF CHANNEL the finger was broken three weeks ago in an incident that involved a car door slamming. More details, said the source, will have to come from Scott. Scott is still entered to play at Torrey Pines.
  • Vijay Singh wilted in the Sunday heat of Memphis early on the back nine and has never played especially well at Torrey Pines South, the site of this weeks national championship. If he comes up big at Torrey Pines, it will be proof-positive that the course is entirely different at the U.S. Open than it is at the Buick Invitational earlier in the year.
  • Englishman Luke Donald is on a hot streak that started a few Sundays ago at Wentworth in England. He once lost in a playoff to John Daly at the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines. Of all the non-bombers, Donald and Justin Leonard are at the top of my list for Torrey Pines. No European has won the U.S. Open since Tony Jacklin way back in 1970. The conventional wisdom is that only long hitters have a chance at Torrey Pines. But if the course runs as firm and fast as USGA set-up guy Mike Davis is saying, it could let players like Leonard, Donald and former U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk into the mix.
  • Boo Weekley has enough game to win the U.S. Open. And wouldnt that be the story of the year in golf?
    Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
    Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - McDonald's LPGA Championship
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Open