Im Not a Social Golfer

By Associated PressOctober 1, 2008, 4:00 pm
2006 Samsung World ChampionshipHALF MOON BAY, Calif. ' Annika Sorenstam is headed into the stretch run of her final LPGA season still exuding the same competitive drive that has carried her this far.
 
Im not a social golfer, she said matter-of-factly Wednesday when asked about what shell do once through on tour.
 
Getting married, motherhood and some down time without clubs in hand will be more her style soon. Maybe a trip back here to relax and use the spa in the luxe Ritz-Carlton resort. Enjoy a little high-class food and wine.
 
But not just yet.
 
I try not to think about it, she said. I am still so competitive. This is what I have done for over 20 years. Ive done this for a very long time. Its just something thats in me.
 
Sorenstam, who turns 38 next Thursday, has won a record five Samsung World Championships ' and the Swede would like nothing more than to go out on top this week in her last one.
 
That will take beating two-time defending champion and world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa. Sorenstam would like to finish atop the money list in her last year, too, and as Player of the Year. Both of those things also would mean passing Ochoa.
 
And Sorenstam is realistic.
 
That challenge is a little tougher than I anticipated starting, Sorenstam said Wednesday following her pro-am round at the Samsung. I got off to a good start but havent played really well. Pretty much since my announcement, Ive been nonstop. Ive been traveling a lot, playing a lot of tournaments. The results havent been there to put me in that situation.
 
Sorenstam and Ochoa will be the favorites ' fan favorites, too ' when they tee off together Thursday in the first round of the elite, 20-player field on the 6,450-yard, par-72 Ocean Course at Half Moon Bay Golf Links. A year ago, Ochoa beat Mi Hyun Kim by four strokes in the event at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert. It was the seventh of her eight 2007 victories.
 
Ochoa, from Mexico, has seven tour titles this season and Sorenstam three. Both are seeking the $250,000 winners purse here.
 
Annika, of course, has played many years, said Ochoa, the winner Sunday in Alabama. I have so much respect for her. But I dont want her to beat me. Well see at the end of the season where we both are.
 
They each like the challenging course, with its five par-5s rather than the typical four and thick grass that makes for tough chipping.
 
I am hitting my driver good, said Ochoa, who recently spent time back home resting and tweaking her swing. Thats important this week. Im going to make sure I can get it in the right direction. I think hitting the fairways is probably going to be the most important thing.
 
That, and staying focused to avoid the distractions of the spectacular ocean views on the Northern California coast just south of San Francisco.
 
The good thing, if you hit a bad shot, its nice to look at the ocean and breathe, Ochoa said. Its beautiful.
 
Yani Tseng also should be high on the leaderboard. She is the leader for LPGA Rookie of the Year race and ranked No. 3 in the world. She is the youngest player in the field at 19, and clearly thrilled ' not to mention downright giddy ' to be among top players.
 
She and Ochoa often bet $50 for both most birdies and lowest round.
 
Im very happy to be betting with Lorena, Tseng said, chuckling. Last tournament we had two rounds together. I tell myself, This is very important. I want to beat her. Every time I make a par I just watch her and smile. We are good friends and we are going to bet until maybe we both retire.
 
So, Sorenstam isnt the only one targeting Ochoa this week ' and Ochoa realizes the depth in her sport is only increasing by the day and by the tournament.
 
Right now she is the No. 1 player in the world, said Paula Creamer, raised in nearby Pleasanton. Lorena is a very confident player, but there are so many people out there trying to challenge that. I think thats great. I dont think weve had that before in womens golf.
 
The tournament had been at Bighorn the past four years. This move gives Northern California consecutive weeks of womens golf. The Longs Drugs Challenge is next week in nearby Danville.
 
Half Moon Bay, designed by Arthur Hills in 1997, becomes the 15th course to host the Samsung.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' Samsung World Championship
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    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.)

    Getty Images

    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.”

    Getty Images

    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.”  

    Getty Images

    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.