Ochoa Annika Set for SoCal Battle

By Associated PressApril 2, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 Kraft Nabisco ChampionshipRANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Annika Sorenstam once showed up at Mission Hills wearing red shoes in the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, a bold commentary on her confidence more than any kind of fashion statement.
 
That was in 2002, and when she defended her title that day with a one-shot victory, there was no doubt who ruled womens golf.
 
Just like theres nos question now.
 
Those red shoes are now in a trophy case at her golf academy in Florida, and Sorenstam might want to slip them on, click her heels and wish she were home, which for her would be back at No. 1 in the world.
 
But she is seemingly miles away from Lorena Ochoa, evident not only in the world ranking but in conversation. During a 20-minute interview, Ochoa was asked four questions about Tiger Woods, none about Sorenstam.
 
Its almost as if Sorenstam no longer exists.
 
Ive come to the back nine of my career, Sorenstam said Wednesday on the eve of the LPGA Tours first major.
 
What she could use is a Sunday charge.
 
Sorenstam won the season-opener at Turtle Bay in Hawaii. She has broken par in all 14 rounds she has played this year. She feels good, looks fit and believes she can become the first four-time winner of the Kraft Nabisco.
 
But she hasnt made up any ground.
 
Ochoa waited until Singapore to make her 08 debut, then won by 11 shots. In what might be the strongest field of the year on the LPGA Tour last week outside Phoenix, Ochoa missed a half-dozen putts inside 10 feet and still won by seven.
 
Shes playing some spectacular golf right now, Sorenstam said. Im just focusing on the things I can control, and thats my own game things I want to achieve. If I achieve my goals, I think things will fall into place. A good season for me would be several wins, a few majors and just being the best player out here.
 
I have high expectations of myself, and I believe I can do it.
 
It all starts with a splash, the symbol of a major championship that has become among the most exciting in golf, and not just because the winner traditionally jumps into the lake surrounding the 18th green at Mission Hills.
 
A year ago, Morgan Pressel played the final 24 holes without a bogey and at 18 became the youngest major champion in LPGA history. Even more stunning was 2006, when Karrie Webb holed out for eagle with a pitching wedge on the 18th fairway, then defeated Ochoa on the first playoff hole with a birdie.
 
That was as close as Ochoa has come to winning what must feel like her home major.
 
She began playing Mission Hills as a teenager when she dominated college golf at Arizona. The support she feels in the Coachella Valley is second only to what she gets in her native Mexico, with so many family and friends in the gallery, along with fans from the area who make their presence known by waving the Mexican flag.
 
Tournament typically give players tickets for their family. Ochoa asked for 100.
 
Well see how many I can get, and Ill just pay the rest, she said with a laugh.
 
Ochoa was asked at the start of the year what came to mind when she heard Sorenstams name.
 
That shes coming after me, Ochoa said. I know Annika. I know she likes to win. Shes very strong and shes ready to play good. But Im prepared. I know I can be here. Its going to be a good year.
 
Ochoa has never jumped into the water that surrounds the 18th green, a tradition that began 20 years ago when Amy Alcott won.
 
The Kraft Nabisco has the smallest field among LPGA majors, with only 109 players, including select amateur. But it is opportunity for young and old, as Pressel showed last year, and as Laura Davies and Meg Mallon would love to experience for the first time.
 
Davies is 44, and a victory this week would give her the career Grand Slam and make her eligible for the World Golf Hall of Fame. Mallon turns 45 next week, and lacks only the Nabisco for the Grand Slam.
 
Even so, the focus is squarely on Ochoa, who captured her first major last summer at the Womens British Open and is heavily favored at Mission Hills, mainly because she has won twice this year by a combined 18 shots.
 
She likes being No. 1 and has no plans to leave, all of which makes Sorenstams chase even more difficult.
 
Her decline began at this tournament last year. Sorenstam tied for 30th, and a month later, learned she had disk problems in her back and neck and forced her out of golf for two months. She failed to win on the LPGA Tour for the first time as Ochoa got farther and farther away from her in the world ranking.
 
Its different to chase somebody than being chased, Sorenstam said. I was disappointed to lose the No. 1 spot that I had for a while, and I enjoyed being up there. With the injury, that was a huge setback for me. Im in a different situation today. Its not just me trying to chase Lorena. Its about me trying to play the golf I know how.
 
I know I have it in me, and Im just going to let it happen, she said. Im hitting the ball well. I won this year. I have all the ingredients I need.
 
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    Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

    After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

    Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    “The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told GolfChannel.com. “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

    Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

    Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

    His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

    “When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

    Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

    Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

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    Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

    By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

    The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

    Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

    Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

    He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

    There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

    In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

    So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

    The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

    Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

    When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

    Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.



    Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

    Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

    “The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

    This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

    The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

    It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

    “The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

    Pay per view does that.

    “You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

    If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

    Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

    Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

    Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

    By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

    AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

    District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

    Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

    Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

    Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

    LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

    By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

    LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

    View this post on Instagram

    Finally got it down lol

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

    Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

    View this post on Instagram

    How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.