Annikas storied career coming to a close

By Associated PressOctober 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
Kapalua LPGA ClassicKAPALUA, Hawaii ' Annika Sorenstams storied career is quickly coming to a close and the 72-time LPGA winner has no second thoughts about her decision to retire at the end of the season.
 
Once I make a decision I stick to it, Sorenstam said Wednesday as she prepared for the inaugural Kapalua LPGA Classic, the seasons final full-field event in the United States. This is a decision I made a long time ago. Its the right one and Im excited about my next chapter, and golf will always be part of my life.
 
Sorenstam, however, still has a lot of game left and acknowledges she feels healthy and strong. She has three wins this year and is third on the money list with $1,605,186. Shes coming off a 15th-place finish in the Samsung World Championship.
 
The Swede opened the season with a victory in Hawaii at Turtle Bay and finished fourth the following week at Ko Olina.
 
Looking back at the year, of course Im happy with the three wins, and playing some good golf, she said. It would be nice to finish a little better than the way I played the last few months.
 
Sorenstam is greeted with warm words from players and fans everywhere she goes. Its not that unusual for a player who has dominated for so long. But this time, Sorenstam is soaking in every moment and smile.
 
Ive been to so many places and just really enjoying the farewell tour and trying to say goodbye, she said. This tournament is the last, or one of the last for a lot of players.
 
Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa will play together in Thursdays opening round, along with Morgan Pressel, Kapaluas touring pro.
 
Every time I play with Annika, its very special, said Ochoa, who is having another stellar year with seven victories. I think you can always learn from her. And now that these are her last few tournaments, I think me and all of the people are trying to just enjoy her as much as we can.
 
The top-ranked Ochoa said her goal this year was to improve on her win total from 2007.
 
I won eight last year. So far, I have seven this year, so I need to get going, she said.
 
Ochoa has quickly been adding to her trophy collection, but has yet to win one in Hawaii. Shes come close, losing in a playoff at Turtle Bay two years ago.
 
This is the second time Ochoa has played Kapalua. She last played when she was 12 when she represented her native Mexico in the Americas Cup.
 
Ochoa doesnt remember a thing about that event, other than Mexico didnt win.
 
But Ochoa acknowledges her golf game is a little different now.
 
Pressel, who is seeking her first victory of the year, didnt seem phased by playing with the top two players in the world.
 
I love watching great players because thats what I want to be, said Pressel, who last year became the youngest major winner in LPGA history by claiming the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
 
The field of 132 also includes Yani Tseng, who tied for third last week and hoping to extend her lead in the rookie of the year race.
 
Not entered this week are Fields Open champion Paula Creamer and South Koreas In-Kyung Kim, who won last week at Danville, Calif., for her first tour victory. She closed with a 1-over 73 in gusty conditions for a three-stroke victory over Angela Stanford.
 
Kapalua is the only resort to host the PGA Tour and LPGA. The Mercedes-Benz Championship is played on the Plantation Course.
 
The Bay Course, designed by Arnold Palmer and Francis Duane, isnt as long, hilly and difficult as the Plantation. However, winds could make it challenging for players this week.
 
The scenic layout features fast, undulating greens, unforgiving rough and 60 bunkers.
 
The fairways are not necessarily extremely tight but you dont want to miss them, otherwise, youll be in a lot of trouble, Pressel said.
 
Sorenstam said the key will be the play around the greens. After Kapalua, Sorenstam will play in a few tournaments abroad before ending the season at the 32-player ADT Championship.
 
Im going to need a break after this, she said.
 
Retirement wont be any less hectic. Shell be busy with her wedding, golf course design work and her academy.
 
With so many other priorities and exciting things it will be different but fun in a different way, Sorenstam said. So you know, I would love to finish on a high and then just kind of sail through to the next thing.
 

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    Like father like son: Bring Your Child to Work Day

    By Jay CoffinApril 26, 2018, 7:51 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Today is Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day at Golf Channel, where everything is fun and games until your child promptly says something that embarrasses you beyond belief. It’s only happened six times today. So far.

    My daughter, 12, is in middle school and feels like she’s too big for this sort of shindig. But my son Brady, 11, was all in. The deal was that he could spend the day with me, I’d take him to McDonald’s for lunch, but he had to write a golf story of some sort for GolfChannel.com.

    Here is his unedited work, in all its glory:

    By BRADY COFFIN

    My name is Brady Coffin and I play golf. I started at the age of 4 years old. My two favorite golfers are Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods. They are really good golfers and every time I watch them they always give me tips.

    My dad Jay Coffin is the best editor of Golf Channel and always gave me tips when I first put the golf club in my hand. I had my very first par in Hilton Head when I was 7 years old. I am on the Drive, Chip and Putt commercial and I was in a movie where I played a young Ben Hogan. My favorite golf course is Royal Blue in the Bahamas.

    I have won many golf tournaments and I am going to play in another tournament next month. I have made a couple of birdies. I am going to play in the PGA Junior League this summer.

    At the Golf Channel I get to meet new people and play many games. One of the amazing people I met was Mr. Damon Hack. He is on the Morning Drive show and was very nice to me. Damon has been playing golf for 25 years and his favorite golfer growing up was Tiger Woods.

    He loves working at Golf Channel.

    “It gives me the opportunity to talk and write about the sport that I love. It’s a sport that I can play with my boys. It’s a sport that I can watch on television. It’s a sport that teaches great life lessons. I couldn’t ask for a better job,” Damon said to me.

    (P.S. I will be better than Jordan Spieth.)

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    Not the 'prettiest' 65, but Duval, Furyk will take it

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 7:44 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – Wearing a polo instead of a dress shirt, working with a caddie and not a producer, David Duval exited the scoring tent, walked toward the group of reporters waiting for him after their 65 and grumbled to teammate Jim Furyk, “The damn media.”

    Duval was joking – we think – since he now is one of us on the dark side, a successful and respected TV analyst, after an injury-shortened career in which he battled Tiger Woods, rose to world No. 1, won a major and then experienced such a miserable slump that it drove him into an entirely new line of work.

    Now 46, Duval doesn’t play much anymore, only 11 events in the past four years. His last made cut was in July 2015. Earlier this year, he teed it up at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but only because he and his wife, Susie, enjoy the vibe there. Competitively, he knew he didn’t stand a chance. He had moved back to Colorado, worked two out of the three weeks, and then couldn’t practice the other week because the weather didn’t cooperate. Not surprisingly, he shot three consecutive rounds of 76 or worse.

    And that could have been the extent of his season (save for his annual appearance at The Open), but he was drawn to the idea of the team format at the Zurich, to the idea of playing with Jim Furyk, with whom he’s been friends for the past 32 years, dating to their days in junior golf. So Duval reached out, asking the U.S. Ryder Cup captain if he wanted to team up, for old times’ sake.

    “This was about being with a friend, reuniting, having our wives together for a few days,” said Duval, who estimated that he’s played more than 100 practice rounds with Furyk over the years. “Expectation-wise, I don’t know what they are for me. I don’t get to participate out here and compete.”


    Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


    But Duval took this start seriously. He almost never travels with his clubs, but he brought them to the Masters, working with his old coach, Puggy Blackmon, between TV appearances and bouncing between Augusta Country Club and Augusta University’s practice facility.

    Without any on-camera work since then, he’s spent the past two weeks grinding, even bringing Blackmon to New Orleans for a range session, just like most of the other pros in the field.

    “It’s like a normal preparation,” he said. “Maybe not as much as it would be for a typical player, but a lot more than I’ve been able to do in the past.”

    Duval has no intentions of diving back into competitive golf full-time, but working as an analyst has given him a new perspective on the game he loves.

    “When you don’t play a lot and you don’t have that opportunity, you feel like you have to play perfectly,” he said. “Being on the other side of the desk, you see how many crappy golf shots really, truly get hit, and it’s like, look, you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to hit more good ones than bad ones and go from there.”

    That also sums up his and Furyk’s opening round here at the Zurich.

    Furyk joked before the event that they’re the rustiest team in the field, but playing best ball, they remained steady in a driving rainstorm, then ran off seven birdies to shoot 65 and sit in the top 10 when they finished their round.

    “It wasn’t necessarily the prettiest,” Duval said, “but it was solid. It wasn’t like we had 36 looks at birdie.”

    “We ham-and-egged it really good today,” Furyk added. “We got pretty much one of the best scores we could have out of the round.”

    The second round could be a different story, of course, with alternate shot. It’s a more nerve-wracking format – especially for two aging warriors without many competitive reps this year – and they figure to find some unusual parts of TPC Louisiana.

    But that’s a worry for Friday, because Duval was in the mood to savor his four birdies, his team score of 65 and his ideal start to a work week with his longtime friend.

    “I think it was good,” he said, breaking into a wry smile, “especially for me.”

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    Finau lifts team to opening 62 on improving ankle

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 6:24 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – Tony Finau continues to thrive on his injured ankle.

    Playing for the first time since the Masters, where he tied for 10th despite a high-ankle sprain, Finau matched partner Daniel Summerhays with six birdies to shoot a combined 10-under 62 in fourballs Thursday at the Zurich Classic.

    Finau still isn’t 100 percent – he said he's closer to 70 percent – even after two weeks of rest and physical therapy. During that time he worked with doctors at the University of Utah Orthopedic Center and also the training staff with the Utah Jazz. Before the Zurich, he had played only nine holes.


    Full-field scores from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


    “Sometimes simplicity is huge in this game,” he said. “There is not a lot of thoughts in my swing in the first place, so there can’t be that many thoughts when you don’t practice. It served me well today.”

    Partnering with Summerhays, his fellow Utah resident and a friend for more than a decade, they combined to make 12 birdies during an opening round that left them only two shots back of the early lead.

    Asked afterward how his ankle felt, Finau said: “Feeling a lot better after that 62. A great remedy for something hurting is some good golf.”  

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    Woods commits to Wells Fargo and The Players

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 26, 2018, 6:07 pm

    Tiger Woods will tee it up each of the next two weeks, having officially committed to both the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.

    Woods' commitment to next week's event in Charlotte was confirmed by multiple Golf Channel sources and first reported during Thursday's "Golf Central."

    The 42-year-old later took to Twitter to formally announce that he is ready for another back-to-back stretch:

    Woods has not played since a T-32 finish earlier this month at the Masters. A winner at Quail Hollow in 2007, Woods has not made the cut there since a fourth-place showing in 2009 and has not played Wells Fargo since 2012. He missed last year's PGA Championship at Quail Hollow because of injury.

    Woods' return to The Players will mark his first trip to TPC Sawgrass since 2015. He won on the Stadium Course in both 2001 and 2013. This will be Woods' second back-to-back of the season, having missed the cut at the Genesis Open before finishing 12th the following week at the Honda Classic.

    After starting the year ranked No. 656 in the world, Woods is up to No. 91 in the latest world rankings. He recorded three straight top-12 finishes during the Florida swing, including a runner-up finish alongside Patrick Reed at the Valspar Championship and a T-5 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.