Sorenstam to Play Men in Skins Game


The Skins Game will have the No. 1 player, even though Tiger Woods is taking this year off.
Annika Sorenstam, who became the first woman in 58 years on the PGA Tour by playing at Colonial, will cap off her remarkable season as the first LPGA Tour player to compete in the Skins Game.
Joining her at Trilogy Golf Club in La Quinta, Calif., will be defending champion Mark O'Meara, Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson, who predicted Sorenstam would finish 20th at the Colonial (she missed the cut).
O'Meara won last year with eight skins worth $405,000 of the $1 million purse. He made nine birdies over 18 holes, which doesn't bode well for Sorenstam. When she missed the cut at Colonial (71-74), she made only two birdies.
Still, her presence figures to be a big boost for a silly-season event that has lost some of its charm over the last 20 years.
'It will create some excitement,'' O'Meara said last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship. 'If you can't have Tiger Woods, why not have Annika Sorenstam? We're fortunate to have her play.''
Sorenstam said she will not play another PGA Tour event, but two months ago embraced the idea of a special event like the Skins Game.
O'Meara and Couples did not play at Colonial. Mickelson tied for 13th at Colonial, and he tied for 58th at the Greater Hartford Open, where Connecticut club pro Suzy Whaley missed the cut.
'I don't know her very well, but from everything I've heard she's a nice lady and obviously a fantastic player,'' O'Meara said. 'The way she handled everything at Colonial, to perform at that level, showed what a great champion she is.''
Any predictions?
'I hope she doesn't beat me up too bad,'' O'Meara said.
FOOTBALL SEASON: Having played four of the last five tournaments, U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk is ready for some time off.
He won't play again until the American Express Championship the first weekend in October, and believes this might be the first time he has taken a four-week break when it wasn't injury-related.
The first weekend off might be the best.
Furyk will be at the Ohio State-San Diego State game Saturday, then he goes to Pittsburgh to watch the Steelers open the season against the Baltimore Ravens. Then it's off to Philadelphia to watch the Eagles play Tampa Bay in the Monday Night Football opener.
TOUGH WAITE: Grant Waite missed the cut at the Deutsche Bank Championship by two shots, a noble effort considering what he had to endure for the chance to play.
PGA Tour officials called him about 4 p.m. Thursday and told him there would be a spot open for him. They knew this because Alex Cejka was spotted that day playing at the BMW International Open in Germany.
He forgot to withdraw from the Deutsche Bank.
Cejka had a Friday afternoon tee time at the TPC of Boston, but it wasn't as simple as placing Waite in his spot.
Since Cejka had not officially withdrawn, Waite had to be on the course by 7 a.m. in case someone else withdrew because he was next on the list of alternates.
Waite booked a 7 p.m. flight out of Orlando, Fla., which was delayed two hours. He made it to his hotel in Providence, R.I., by 2:30 a.m. Friday.
The good news: By the time his plane left Orlando, tour officials had contacted Cejka in Germany, and Waite was allowed to take his spot.
'That took a lot of the stress off,'' Waite said.
Turns out Nick Price withdrew Friday with a wrist injury and was replaced by the next alternate _ Michael Clark, who was on the flight from Orlando with Waite.
Clark, too, missed the cut.
Why go to so much trouble? Waite, who won the '93 Kemper Open, is not exempt for the first time in his career.
'Any opportunity to play is a privilege,'' Waite said.
SHARKS AND TRACTORS: Now that Greg Norman is not playing in the Presidents Cup, he says he will play only one more PGA Tour event this year, the John Deere Classic.
Why the John Deere?
His longtime caddie, Tony Navarro, is from the area and the Shark figured he owed him one year in his hometown.
'I thought it was the right thing to do,'' Norman said. 'His dad works for John Deere, so why not? Plus, the dates have changed. It's a little later in the year.''
COLLEGE DAYS: Adam Scott turned pro at 19, but unlike some of his peers who turned pro when they were teenagers (Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Ty Tryon), the Aussie made it through a year of college.
Scott was an All-American as a freshman at UNLV in 1999, played the fall semester and then left school.
'I just felt like it was time to move on,'' he said.
He was never there for the academics.
Asked if he ever found the library on campus, Scott smiled and said, 'The what?''
Still, he loved everything about being in Las Vegas. He was so impressed with the program and facilities that 'I took my recruiting trip after I signed.''
The first stop was Shadow Creek, where he met Michael Jordan. He also met Tiger Woods, who was in Vegas working out with his trainer.
Scott lived in Las Vegas until joining the European tour, and now has homes in Australia and London.
DIVOTS: Darren Clarke has tried to cut back on cigars during his rounds, but he gave in Sunday during the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship for a good reason - he ran out of cigarettes. ... Tiger Woods' streak of consecutive cuts will go to 112 at the American Express Championship, which has no cut. He can tie the record of 113 set by Byron Nelson in the 1940s at Disney, where he is a two-time winner. ... Butch Harmon says he hasn't worked with Woods since before the U.S. Open, but at least he has more time to work with his other clients, such as Clarke and Adam Scott, who have won the last two weeks on the PGA Tour.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Tom Carter, who earned a promotion to the PGA Tour by winning three times on the Nationwide Tour, makes his debut this week in the Canadian Open. Two of his Nationwide victories came in events played in Canada.
FINAL WORD: 'They were clapping for my bad shots. I think they were just happy to see golf.'' - Jim Furyk, on the PGA Tour's return to the Boston area.
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