Annika Calm Amid Chaos

By Brian HewittNovember 21, 2008, 5:00 pm
2006 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. ' We were surprised earlier this year when Annika Sorenstam told us she would be stepping away from golf.
 
We were surprised Friday when Sorenstam couldnt find it in her Hall of Fame game to rally past the 36-hole cut of the ADT Championship at Trump International.
 
And we were surprised after her final round of her final tournament to learn that the LPGAs random drug testing program had selected perhaps the best player in the history of the womens game to provide a urine sample despite passing an LPGA drug test last month.
 
Pathetic, said Sorenstams fianc, Mike McGee, when he learned his wife-to-be was about to be tested. I dont know what theyre trying to prove.
 
Turns out, according to the LPGA, it wasnt trying to prove anything. Its drug testing protocol, according to general counsel Jill Pilgrim, doesnt give it any leeway.
 
If we dont follow that protocol, Pilgrim said, we are legally liable. So, she said, there was no consideration given to letting Sorenstam off the hook in this instance even though she passed another random drug test just last month. More specifically, Pilgrim explained, if a player who failed a drug test, found out another player ' even Annika Sorenstam in her last event ' was given a free pass on a test, that player would have a pretty good lawsuit.
 
Only time will tell whether this will develop into yet another public relations nightmare for the star-crossed LPGA.
 
But for now, this day and this week is all about the departure of Sorenstam who played in 303 events, posted 209 top-10s and won 72 times.
 
This week was, to use the word of IMG's Mark Steinberg, historic.
 
It just wasnt memorable, at least not on the golf course where Annika struggled with her short game, carded a 36-hole total of 5-over 149 and failed to advance in an event she has won four times previously
 
Sorenstams last LPGA event in the United States before stepping away to get married and start a family wasnt memorable on the course because it was so frustrating.
 
My wife and I are Swedish, said a man in the gallery. And we are here to support Annika. But we are not doing a very good job.
 
His observation came during Fridays front nine. Sorenstam made the turn in a ragged 3-over-par 39. At that point her standing in the ADT Championship was 5 over. And her chances of advancing to Saturdays third round were dimmer than the lights on Wall Street.
 
Steinberg, who is Sorenstams agent and the head of IMGs golf division, followed Annika outside the ropes this week. So did McGee, and her parents, Tom and Gunilla.
 
But nobody was more frustrated than Sorenstam herself. She struck the ball beautifully in Thursdays first round but carded a 2-over 74 because she needed 33 putts.
 
Fact is, she has struggled with her putter for the better part of two years now. And she needed to heat up with the flat stick Friday. If she had been a great putter, she would have won 20 more tournaments, said her long-time caddie, Terry McNamara. McNamara has been on Sorenstams bag since 1999. He and Annika are extremely close professionally and he meant his remark as a compliment.
 
Asked after Fridays round if he thought his daughter would return to professional golf one day, Tom Sorenstam ' somewhat surprisingly ' said, No.
 
But, he added, she has always surprised him.
 
For her part, Sorenstam was just short of eloquent.
 
A sampling of comments from her post-round press conference:
 
  • Whats been the coolest thing this week is all these people that showed up I just didnt know who they were.
     
  • (On her lack of tears) Its almost that a tear wants to come out, but its not really coming out. I think its because Im very happy with what Ive done. You know, Im content. Ive said all along I feel good.
     
    Finally, Annika mentioned that she will be giving the commencement address at the University of Arizona, where she played her college golf, in December for that schools winter graduation ceremony.
     
    I think its pretty ironic to finish the year giving a speech, something that I dreaded when I started playing, she said. So what can I say? Its coming around. Ive changed. The game has changed me, and Im glad.
     

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    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


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    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.