Creamer Pressel Take Aim at Sorenstam

By Associated PressMarch 15, 2006, 5:00 pm
SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN, Ariz. -- Paula Creamer has identified her target as she prepares to tee off in the Safeway International.
 
Its Annika Sorenstam, the No. 1 woman golfer and two-time defending Safeway International champion.
 
I compare myself to the best players, the 2005 LPGA Rookie of the Year said before the event that starts Thursday at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club. And thats Annika right now. I look ahead of me, not behind me. And I think Annika has set standards that are very high.
 
You know that when she is in a tournament, she is going to be in contention. And, you know, I want to be where shes at.
 
Sorenstam has gone places no other woman has been. Last year, she won her eighth Rolex Player of the Year award, passing Kathy Whitworth for the most in LPGA history.
 
Five years ago, at Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix, Sorenstam became the only player in LPGA history to shoot a 59. Shes the only player to sweep the Player of the Year, scoring and money titles five times. Her scoring averages during the past five years have been the five best in LPGA history.
 
But Sorenstam, 35, is facing a bold challenge from a wave of talented youngsters. Many of them are in the Safeway International field, including the 19-year-old Creamer, 17-year-old Morgan Pressel and 20-year-old rookie Seon Hwa Lee, who finished a stroke behind Sorenstam last week at the MasterCard Classic in Huixquilucan, Mexico.
 
I just dont think there has been anybody out there thats been able to challenge Annika in the last couple of years, Creamer said. And now there are people.
 
Sorenstam said being pushed by tour newcomers is a great challenge, theres no doubt about it. I think the last few years weve had a lot of young and up-and-coming players that are very good. Its nice to see that they bring some attention to the tour.
This is a solid group, Sorenstam said. Theres a lot more younger players coming up, and theyve got strong games and theyre making a lot of noise.
 
Indeed, Creamer and Pressel were brought to the interview tent Tuesday to accommodate growing media demands.
 
Creamer won two events last year. The first victory, in the Sybase Classic, came four days before her high school graduation. At 18 years, 9 months and 17 days, she became the youngest winner of a multi-round event in history.
 
Two months later, Creamer won the Evian Masters and, at 18 years, 11 months and 18 days, she became the youngest player to reach $1 million in career earnings.
 
Creamers big year raised expectations'and pressure'as the season begins. Check out the cover of this years LPGA media guide, which features two golfers.
 
One is Creamer, with two career victories. The other is Sorenstam, who last week won her 67th tournament.
 
Could it be the start of a rivalry?
 
There really hadnt been anybody in a while to challenge her, Creamer said. I hope that Im that person that does that. I mean, thats what I feel like I have to do. And thats where I need to be. Shes in the spot that I want to be in.
 
Its a lofty perch. Fresh off a victory in her first LPGA tournament of the season, Sorenstam seems poised for a repeat of 2005, when she won 11 of the 21 events she entered and earned a tour-leading $2.59 million.
 
But thats not what Sorenstam is thinking as she goes after her third consecutive Safeway International victory. A week ago, she opened her season with a 1-stroke victory in the MasterCard Classic.
 
When you look back at 2005 and say, You know what? You won 10 times on the LPGA and once in Europe. You have to win 11 times to tie. That seems like too much pressure, Sorenstam said Wednesday. So I just want to start this year with a fresh line and just play what I can and see what happens.
 
Sorenstam isnt waiting for the kids to catch her. She said she tweaked her game during the winter, straightening her putting stroke and widening her stance.
 
Sorenstam also has moved on in her personal life after divorcing David Esch, her husband of eight years.
 
I am happier on the course, Sorenstam said. I am happier off the course. Obviously, thats a good balance to have.
 
Related Links:
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    Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

    By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

    There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

    The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

    Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

    If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

    “The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

    The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

    Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

    Getty Images

    Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

    There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

    Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

    While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

    Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Jordan Spieth

    6. Rickie Fowler

    7. Bubba Watson

    8. Webb Simpson

    ---

    9. Bryson DeChambeau

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

    On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

    Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari

    ---

    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Ross Fisher

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

    ---

    5. Ian Poulter

    6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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    Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

    Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

    The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



    The second is from Sunday night.



    And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

    Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.

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    Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

    After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.

    Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.


    Updated Official World Golf Ranking


    It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.

    Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.