Sorenstam Ponders PGA Tour

By Associated PressJanuary 22, 2003, 5:00 pm
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Annika Sorenstam has dominated her competition on the LPGA Tour the last two seasons. Her next challenge might be against the men.
Sorenstam said Wednesday she would relish the chance to play a PGA Tour event, provided she received a sponsor's exemption and the tournament was held on a golf course that suits her game.
'If I got an invite, I would say yes in a heartbeat,' she said at Bay Hill Club and Lodge during an appearance for Callaway Golf. 'It's a great challenge. It's not something I want to do regularly. But it would be a great learning experience.'
Her agent, Mark Steinberg of IMG, said the chances of that happening this year are 'very possible,' as long as it's the right tournament, the right course, and it fits her LPGA Tour schedule.
'I suspect that after today, there will be more than one tournament that is very interested,' he said. 'There are going to be several tournaments that will not even consider it. That would be my guess. But there will be quite a few that express some interest.'
Eric Mehl, tournament director of the 84 Lumber Classic of Pennsylvania, said it is too early to determine how the new event will use its sponsor's exemptions in September.
'It's definitely intriguing,' he said when told of Sorenstam's comments. 'We'll look to see what's best for the tournament.'
PGA Tour spokesman Bob Combs said the tour has no regulations against women playing, and that tournaments have the flexibility to use their exemptions to round out the field or to create interest.
He said it was 'conceivable' that a tournament would offer Sorenstam an exemption.
The topic came up when Sorenstam, who won 13 times around the world last year and set or tied nearly two dozen records, was asked about Suzy Whaley.
Whaley, a Connecticut club pro, won a PGA sectional from a shorter set of tees than the men and qualified for the Greater Hartford Open in late July. She will be the first woman to play on the PGA Tour in the modern era.
Whaley will have to play from the championship tees with the men.
'I think she's very brave,' Sorenstam said. 'She's doing this to show her daughters that anything is possible. I heard in an interview that she doesn't expect to break 90. At least she has a goal set, and she knows what's going to happen.'
Sorenstam doesn't think Whaley's score, no matter how high, would be a setback for women's golf. She pointed out that Whaley is primarily a teaching pro, not a touring professional who competes regularly.
The 32-year-old Swede has higher goals if she ever gets that chance.
'If I pick the right course, I think I would do well,' she said, adding that she could only compete if the course wasn't excessively long, had tight fairways and punishing rough, which she rarely gets into as the LPGA's best driver.
Hilton Head was offered as an example, although Sorenstam will be defending her title that week in the LPGA Takefugi Classic.
Sorenstam has some experience competing against the men. She teamed with Tiger Woods two years ago at Bighorn when they defeated David Duval and Karrie Webb in an alternate-shot match.
It wasn't the best plug for women's golf -- neither Sorenstam nor Webb could find the fairway on the final few holes, and Sorenstam putted one ball off the green.
Last month in Mexico, Sorenstam and Jack Nicklaus played to a tie against Duval and Lorena Ochoa in an 18-hole exhibition.
If she did play in a PGA Tour event, Sorenstam doesn't think the perception of women's golf would depend on her performance. She says women already face unfair comparisons to the men, from length off the tee to the amount of prize money.
'It would be more beneficial if I did well,' she said. 'If not, then I don't think it would change anything.'
Steinberg said she first broached the possibility during her 2002 season, when she won 10 times on the LPGA Tour and earned $2.8 million.
Still, Sorenstam said playing against the men is not a priority, and most of it is timing.
Along with Whaley qualifying for Hartford, 13-year-old Michelle Wie of Hawaii tried to qualify for the Sony Open last week. She shot a 73 from the back tees at Pearl Country Club, finishing six strokes out of a playoff.
'I'm interested,' Sorenstam said. 'Now you've got Suzy Whaley, and that's such a big deal. I don't think the timing is right. But I'm playing so well, I don't want to wait too long. It's not on my priority list, but if I have a chance, I'd love to do it.'
Related Links
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    How to watch The Open on TV and online

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

    You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

    Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

    In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

    Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

    (All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

    Monday, July 16

    GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

    GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

    GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

    Tuesday, July 17

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

    Wednesday, July 18

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

    Thursday, July 19

    GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

    GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

    Friday, July 20

    GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

    Saturday, July 21

    GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

    NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

    Sunday, July 22

    GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

    NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

    Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.

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    The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 8:30 am

    Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

    What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

    What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

    How old is it?

    It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

    Where is it played?

    There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

    Where will it be played this year?

    At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

    Who has won The Open on that course?

    Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

    Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

    Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

    Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

    This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

    Who has won this event the most?

    Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

    What about the Morrises?

    Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

    Have players from any particular country dominated?

    In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

    Who is this year's defending champion?

    That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

    What is the trophy called?

    The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

    Which Opens have been the most memorable?

    Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

    When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

    Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.

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    Thirty players have drivers tested by R&A

    By Tim RosaforteJuly 17, 2018, 1:00 am

    Thirty players, including seven major champions, arrived at the 147th Open and received a letter from the R&A notifying them to bring their respective drivers to the equipment standards office located on Carnoustie’s practice ground by 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

    Keegan Bradley, Brendan Steele and Brooks Koepka all confirmed that their drivers all passed the COR test (coefficient of restitution, or spring-like effect) administered by the R&A.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    This was the first time the R&A took measures that were not part of the distance insight project being done in conjunction with the USGA.

    The PGA Tour has been testing club for approximately five years but has not done random testing to this point.  The Tour’s rules department works in conjunction with manufacturers and tests clubs from manufacturer fans at tournaments on a voluntary basis. The USGA assists the PGA Tour in this process.