Sorenstam Mahan named AJGA National Chairmen
Former National Chairmen include Phil Mickelson, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, Justin Leonard, Davis Love III, Betsy Rawls, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Watson.
During her tenure on the LPGA, Sorenstam amassed an astounding 72 wins, the third most all-time by a member of the Tour. Of those 72 victories, 10 were LPGA major championships. An eight-time LPGA Tour Player of the Year, Annika made eight appearances in the Solheim Cup on the European squad, earning a record of 22-11-4.
“I am very honored to become the National Chairman for the AJGA, who I feel runs the best junior golf tour in the world,” Sorenstam said. “The AJGA provides incredible opportunities for juniors in golf, and also great life lessons off the course. My Foundation hosts a tournament each year and we look forward to inspiring kids with the AJGA for many years to come.”
Sorenstam has proven herself to be a benevolent ambassador of the game of golf by taking on duties such as USGA Ambassador and Advisor to the LPGA Board of Directors. She has worked in her role as Olympic Global Ambassador to further the game by successfully lobbying to have golf added as an Olympic sport. In 2009, Annika teamed up with the AJGA to conduct the Annika Invitational, a 54-hole, invitation-only event for the best female junior golfers from the United States and abroad. As host of the event, Sorenstam took a hands-on approach. From speaking engagements to conducting a clinic for the juniors to hosting educational events for the tournament participants, she was involved with every element of the tournament.
Aside from her work at AJGA tournaments, Sorenstam supports AJGA youth development programs. She has committed to endowing an ACE Grant, which will continue to support junior golfers into perpetuity. The ACE Grant is a financial assistance program aimed at providing top-flight golf opportunities to juniors with the talent, but without the resources to play a national junior golf schedule.
Mahan, who turned professional in 2003, is ending an impressive year highlighted by victories at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the World Golf Championships – Bridgestone Invitational, as well as an appearance on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. His 2010 success has helped him ascend to No. 15 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
'The AJGA had a major impact on my development as a golfer, and it was only 11 years ago that I was the Rolex Junior Player of the Year,' Mahan said. 'I want other young players to have those same opportunities, which is why I have been giving back to the organization the last few years. I am happy to be able to serve with Annika Sorenstam as the National Chairmen, because it provides more avenues to help today's junior golfers.'
Despite the rigors of a full-time touring schedule, Mahan has remained true to his roots. The 1999 Rolex Junior Player of the Year teamed up with Under Armour in 2009 to create the Under Armour Hunter Mahan Championship, held in his hometown of McKinney, Texas. The 54-hole stroke play event has been held at TPC Craig Ranch for two years, with Hunter serving not only as the namesake of the tournament, but also a hands-on host who takes time to put on a clinic for the juniors.
His involvement with the AJGA doesn’t stop there. He also supports the AJGA’s ACE Grant through a charitable giving program set up through the Ryder Cup. Throughout his involvement with the program, Mahan has also committed to endow an ACE Grant, guaranteeing financial assistance for future generations of golf.
OB tee shot, bunker trouble dooms Rahm to MC
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The key to surviving Carnoustie is avoiding the bunkers.
Jon Rahm found three bunkers to close out the front nine Friday, the start of a triple bogey-double-bogey run that led to a second-round 78 and missed cut at The Open.
“All of them were as bad a lie as they could have been,” he said. “Besides that, things didn’t happen. I can’t give an explanation, really. I don’t know.”
Rahm’s troubles started on the seventh hole, a par 4 with a steady left-to-right wind. Out of bounds loomed left, and Rahm, who primarily plays a cut shot, hadn’t missed left all week. This time, his ball didn’t curve, and the OB tee shot led to a triple.
“Whenever I start missing shots to the left,” he said, “it’s really hard for me to play.”
After a career-best fourth-place finish at the Masters, Rahm has now missed the cut in consecutive majors.
“Right now I’m not in any mental state to think about what happened, to be honest,” he said.
Three of world's top 5 MC; not 60-year-old Langer
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three of the top five players in the world missed the cut at The Open.
Bernhard Langer did not.
The 60-year-old, who is in the field via his victory in last year’s Senior Open Championship, shot even-par 71 on Friday. At 2 over through 36 holes, he safely made it under the plus-3 cut line.
"You know, I've played the Masters [this year], made the cut. I'm here and made the cut. I think it is an accomplishment," he said. "There's a lot of great players in the field, and I've beaten a lot of very good players that are a lot younger than me."
Langer had three birdies and three bogeys in the second round and said afterwards that he was “fighting myself” with his swing. He’s spent the last few days on the phone with his swing coach, Willy Hoffman, trying to find some comfort.
Despite his score, and his made cut, Langer the perfectionist wasn’t satisfied with the way he went about achieving his results.
"I wasn't happy with my ball-striking. My putting was good, but I was unlucky. I had like four lip-outs, no lip-ins. That part was good. But the ball-striking, I wasn't really comfortable with my swing," he said. "Just, it's always tough trying stuff in the middle of a round."
Langer, a two-time Masters champion, has never won The Open. He does, however, have six top-3 finishes in 30 prior starts.
As for finishing higher than some of the top-ranked players in the world, the World Golf Hall of Famer is taking it in stride.
"I'm not going to look and say, 'Oh, I beat Justin Rose or beat whatever.' But it just shows it's not easy. When some of the top 10 or top 20 in the world don't make the cut, it just shows that the setup is not easy," Langer said. "So I got the better half of the draw maybe, too, right? It wasn't much fun playing in the rain, I guess, this morning for five hours. I had to practice in the rain, but I think once I teed off, we never used umbrellas. So that was a blessing."
Kisner doubles 18, defends not laying up
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It was only fitting that Jean Van de Velde was there working as an on-course reporter on Friday as Kevin Kisner struggled his way up Carnoustie’s 18th fairway.
Rolling along with a two-stroke lead, Kisner’s 8-iron approach shot from an awkward lie in the rough from 160 yards squirted right and bounced into Barry Burn, the winding creek where Van de Velde’s title chances at the 1999 Open Championship began to erode.
Unlike Van de Velde, who made a triple bogey-7 and lost The Open in a playoff, Kisner’s double bogey only cost him the solo lead and he still has 36 holes to make his closing miscue a distant memory. That’s probably why the 34-year-old seemed at ease with his plight.
“It just came out like a high flop shot to the right. It was weird. I don't know if it caught something or what happened,” said Kisner, who was tied with Zach Johnson and Zander Lombard at 6 under par. “You never know out of that grass. It was in a different grass than usual. It was wet, green grass instead of the brown grass. So I hadn't really played from that too much.”
Like most in this week’s field Kisner also understands that rounds on what is widely considered the most difficult major championship venue can quickly unravel even with the most innocent of mistakes.
“To play 35 holes without a double I thought was pretty good,” he said. “I've kept the ball in play, done everything I wanted to do all the way up into that hole. Just one of those things that came out completely different than we expected. I'll live with that more than chipping out and laying up from 20 feet.”
Wind, not rain more a weekend factor at Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – After a half-day of rain in Round 2 of the 147th Open Championship, the weekend offers a much drier forecast.
Saturday at Carnoustie is projected to be mostly cloudy with a high of 62 degrees and only a 20 percent chance of rain.
Sunday calls for much warmer conditions, with temperatures rising upwards of 73 degrees under mostly cloudy skies.
Wind might be the only element the players have to factor in over the final 36 holes. While the winds will be relatively calm on Saturday, expected around 10-15 mph, they could increase to 25 mph in the final round.