Press Pass Debating Tiger Annika

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Press PassEach week, Golf Channel experts and analysts will offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf. This week, the Press Pass debates Tiger Woods' win streak, Annika Sorenstam's chances at a record, potential Hall of Fame inductees, and the worst playing conditions.
 
Hot Topic
How long can Tiger Woods continue his winning streak and when do you think it come to an end?
 
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Senior Writer, GolfChannel.com:
What? Do I look like Nostradamus? I will not predict he will break it and I will not predict he wont. But what I will do is hope for a Masters playoff between Phil and Tiger with Tiger looking to break Byron Nelsons consecutive win streak with a victory. Think a few people would be watching that baby?
 
Rich Lerner Rich Lerner - Reporter, Golf Channel:
Eleven is possible, with the toughest hurdle being Riviera, where he's never won (He has played the Nissan Open nine times as a professional and twice as an amateur without winning).
 
Kraig Kann Kraig Kann - Host, Golf Channel:
As long as he stays hot. I actually think he cares more about this than we might think. Kapalua was no lock, but contention in the Buick Invitational has been as close to a guarentee as you could get. I say he wins this week, but the next few opportunities will be tough. Match-Play and Nissan haven't been so special. So good luck to Tiger... he'll need some.
 
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer, GolfChannel.com:
Having won three of the last four Buick Invitational events, he's got a good chance at reaching eight straight PGA TOUR wins. But I don't see him winning the following event, the Nissan Open.
 
Hot Topic
Annika Sorenstam has dispelled rumors of her retirement. Will she break Kathy Whitworths record of 88 LPGA Tour wins (she currently has 69)?
 
Hewitt:
I think it all depends on how soon she starts having a family. That may be sooner than we think. If and when it happens, it will all depend on how children affect her outlook on golf. That being said, if the Whitworth record is something Sorenstam wants, its something she will get.
 
Lerner:
Annika would need four wins a year for five years and that seems within reach so, yes, she'll break the record.
 
Kann:
Annika's run at Kathy Whitworth requires 20 wins. Four a year for five years? Sure. But if Annika says she wants a family ( I know she's dispelling retirement rumors) then she might not make it. This is a tough question because it's all about what she decides to do with her life. Bottom line... if she wants the record, she'll get it. If not, she'll leave us knowing it was hers if she wanted it.
 
Baggs:
I think a lot of that will depend on this year. Annika was quoted in a Swedish newspaper as saying that she didn't work as hard in 2006 as she had in previous seasons -- and she only won three times (her lowest total since '99). It's getting tougher and tougher to win on the LPGA Tour. If she can rekindle a competitive fire this season, she can put a serious dent in her 19-victory deficit to Whitworth. If she's lost that drive, however, she may never catch her.
 
Hot Topic
Of the current players on the Hall of Fame ballot, who would you vote in and why?
 
Hewitt:
I not only would, but already have voted for Lanny Wadkins, Curtis Strange, Hubert Green and Craig Wood. I could have voted for as many as six. These were the four I chose this time around. Wadkins (21 wins and one major) was fearless. Strange (17 wins and two majors) was tough as nails in his prime. Green (19 Tour wins and two majors) is still underrated. And Wood (21 wins and two majors) has been, sadly, forgotten.
 
Lerner:
Curtis Strange for back-to-back U.S. Opens, Lanny Wadkins and Hubert Green because others with comparable numbers like Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw are in, and perhaps even Tony Lema, because his numbers, had he not died tragically in a plane crash, project to being worthy of consideration. Further, Lee Trevino told me Lema was as good as he'd seen and should be in the Hall.
 
Kann:
Asking me to vote on Henry Picard or Denny Shute isn't something I feel confident about. Just as asking me to vote on Warren Spahn in baseball or Deacon Jones in football. Sure they have great numbers, but when it comes to players I never saw play, I bow out. Among the names that strike me, I'd lean on Curtis Strange. The back-to-back U.S. Opens is amazing - and he was dominant during that time. His career win totals are very strong in an era of many greats. Didn't Ben Crenshaw find his way in with two majors? I'd give Curtis a nod. And Hubert Green deserves some serious consideration, in my book.
 
Baggs:
Of the guys on the list who played primarily in the '80s and '90s (the Era which I'm most familiar), I would cast my vote for only one: Curtis Strange, who won 17 times on TOUR including back-to-back U.S. Open titles. Guys like Fred Couples and Davis Love III are still one major away from serious consideration.
 
Hot Topic
The final round of the Bob Hope was played in intense winds. What is the toughest condition under which to play: intense wind; steady rain; freezing cold; oppressive heat?
 
Hewitt:
Intense wind. It affects putting more than most people realize. And nothing will break a players swing down more quickly than a swirling wind that makes it so much harder to commit to every shot. No swing. No confidence. Steady rain is the second worst. Caddies need to be octopi.
 
Lerner
High winds make putting brutally difficult and considering they blew Tiger to an 81 in the '02 British at Muirfield, the ferocious winds would seem to be hardest with which to deal.
 
Kann:
To me, heat's not that bad. Heck, me and my college buddies head to the desert each August and play 36 or 45 a day in 110-degree weather, and I'd play 36 a day in the summer in Orlando if my children were in school. Freezing cold doesn't affect me ... because I won't go out of my house to test it! Steady rain, I've played in ... and I think players are able to handle it better than brutal wind. One shot that goes 30 yards off line in a stiff wind and your confidence tags along for the ride. To me, the wind is the toughest. Not just ball striking but putting. If you don't take my word for it, take Lucas Glover's.
 
Baggs:
For tour players, it's probably the intense wind. For me, it's the freezing cold. I'm just as poor a player under perfect conditions as I am in the wind and rain. And having grown up in the South, heat is no problem. But I can't stand the cold. And anything below 60 is cold to me.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Buick Invitational