Rookies Excited to Play with Annika

By Associated PressMay 20, 2003, 4:00 pm
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Dean Wilson is a journeyman who has spent most of his career on the Japanese Tour. Aaron Barber is an eight-year pro who didn't earn his first PGA Tour check until two months ago.
They will be in the most-watched group at the Colonial. And not because of anything they've done.
They're Annika Sorenstam's playing partners for the first two rounds at Colonial Country Club, where she will become the first woman in 58 years to play on the PGA Tour.
'It's a unique experience to be able to play with her in a tournament atmosphere like this,' said Wilson, who wore a 'Go Annika' button he bought for $3 at Colonial's pro shop.
Wilson and Barber look forward to competing with the world's No. 1 female player. The PGA Tour rookies insist they're not concerned about the extra attention from reporters and fans, or the chance Sorenstam could post better scores.
'Anybody can beat me when I play bad,' Wilson said.
Barber added: 'She is going to beat some people, there's no doubt. I'm worried about 113 people beating me every week.'
Their names were selected randomly by a computer. Like Sorenstam, Wilson and Barber were drawn out of the category of players who haven't won or finished in the top 125 on the money list.
Wilson and Barber, on tour after finally earning their cards through qualifying school last fall, met Sorenstam for the first time Tuesday. They were leaving their news conference as she was entering the same crowded interview room for hers.
They'll play together Thursday, when they start on the 10th tee at 8:58 a.m., the last morning trio on the course. Their second round begins on the first tee at 1:43 p.m. Friday.
'She will probably feel more pressure,' Barber said. 'After all, the spotlight's on her. I was surprised that we even had to do a press conference. We're just the two guys playing with her.'
Barber got into the tournament the same way as Sorenstam, on a sponsor's exemption.
Some PGA Tour players have criticized Sorenstam's decision to play. Defending Colonial champ Nick Price called her appearance a publicity stunt.
Barber and Wilson disagreed.
'She has every right to be in this tournament, and I'm all for her playing well,' Wilson said.
Barber said Sorenstam has 'earned this opportunity based on her resume.'
'She's very dominant on the LPGA Tour, and I think it's a way for her to test herself at a higher level,' he said.
Wilson, 33, won three times on the Japanese Tour in 2001, when he finished third on the money list. He had made only six PGA Tour starts before this season, and his best finish ever was two weeks ago, when he tied for seventh in the Wachovia Championship.
Barber, 30, turned pro in 1996. His only top-10 finish was a tie for fourth in March in Tucson, which was played opposite a World Golf Championship event. That was also his first tour paycheck ($132,000), and the first of three straight cuts he made before missing his last six.

Related Links:
  • ''Everything Annika'' Feature Page
  • Annika and the Colonial Timeline
  • Full Coverage of the Bank of America Colonial

    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 12:55 pm

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

    1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch.

    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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    Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

    Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

    “We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

    Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

    “It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

    It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

    Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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    McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

    McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

    But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

    Said Harmon:

    “Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

    “This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

    McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

    “Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

    McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.