Following his play in Australia, she thinks that Tiger Woods will play well at Chevron this week and feels that he is showing a lot of progress and he is swinging as well as she has seen in a long time. She is surprised that the Chevron World Challenge is only 18 players and that the field is not stronger which she thinks will help Tiger. Over the past few months, Tiger has been wearing a different kind of shoe which he feels helps his swing and the way he plays. Annika was not really sold on what Tiger said about his new shoes but agreed that athletes train in bare feet to improve strength. She finds it interesting but is not sold on the significance of the shoes in his swing.
When it comes to who is currently the best player in the world, she is not yet sold on Rory McIlroy but thinks that he will definitely have a good chance to challenge Luke Donald for the World #1 spot. He is very young and has been growing with his game and she is confident in his potential. Luke Donald is definitely the #1 player as seen by his consistency as well as the quality of his wins. She does think the World #1 needs to be a Major Champion and Rory fills that bill.
Robert Allenby and Geoff Ogilvy have been involved in a bit of a verbal (and almost physical) feud in Australia since the Presidents Cup and Annika thinks that the whole dispute is actually pretty funny. She is amused by what Allenby is complaining about as it relates to team play. If a player had said something like that about her in the Solheim Cup, she would have addressed the person privately but not publicly on the issue. The kinds of things that Allenby said does not do anything to create friends among the Presidents Cup team and as a result, he is not in the best position when it comes to the idea of being a member of future Presidents Cup teams.
In looking ahead to 2012 for Tiger Woods, Annika thinks that it will be a better year for him than 2011 because he is healthy again, he has had more time to practice and work on his swing, and his personal life is finally coming under a bit more control. All of those things will contribute to him having a much better year. He has a long way to go to get back to the top but just winning again will be a good thing for him. The intimidation factor that Tiger brought to tournaments is not the same and the younger players have said as much publicly. Also, the younger players do not really know what that factor felt like. He may need a few great years just to get close to that intimidation factor again. Tiger is saying that his swing is much stronger in the wind now and he will have a chance to test the swing in the first round at Sherwood CC. Confidence is everything in golf, especially with the golf swing. He is swinging better and if he can go out and play well in tough conditions, that will build confidence in every area of his game.
Annika went through LPGA Tour Q-School and she said that it is very difficult when you have a dream and that dream is on the line in a place like Q-School where if you make it, you have a job the next year as well as new sponsors and opportunities and if you don’t make it, you don’t have any of those things. The pressure is different at Q-School than it is at Majors because at Majors your career and livelihood is not on the line. 17-year-old Ginger Howard is trying to earn her LPGA Tour card this week and she is taking on a big challenge. She would be a great addition to the LPGA Tour if she were able to qualify this week in Daytona Beach.
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