Fallout From Annikas Departure
He also prefers to begin this special holiday edition of The Comebacker with fallout from Annika Sorenstams last (at least for the foreseeable future) LPGA event and the fact that she was drug-tested at the ADT Championship.
So, without further ado:
Bette writes: Drug testing Annika after only one month was insane. Your suggestion to wait at least four weeks is a month; I say it should be at least two months. Sure going to miss her and her classy manner.
She will be missed, I fear, even more than the LPGA realizes at the moment.
J.J. writes: If the ratings were good, we wouldnt be discussing it.
Oh yes, we would.
Brian writes: What a great send-off for one of the worlds greatest players and ambassadors of the game. Shame on the LPGA. I think it's really sad that this is what it always comes down to. Happy retirement Annika. You deserve better. LPGA needs to get a life.'
The LPGA needs to get another Annika.
Kirk writes: I have and will continue to be a fan of the LPGA. The problem is simple. The tail is wagging the dog. Blevins makes a decision and does not stand firm in her decision. Many fans agreed with her decision regarding the language issue. Someone in the minority on this subject screams political correctness and Blevins crumbles. I attended the U.S. Women's Open at Interlachen this past summer. It is unbelievable how many of the participants do not assimilate to the culture that they play in. It is obvious it is a take the money and run attitude. When traveling, I assimilate to the local culture. This is as much out of respect as necessity. What language would you expect to speak on a street in a Far East country? What language would you expect to speak in Sweden? Last point and then I will close: I was offered the opportunity to play in a pro-am at an LPGA event. I asked the name of the professional. I knew she was not fluent in the English language. What would have been the sense? I passed. Se Ri Pak is a role model for many of these players. They need to look a little deeper than the money.'
Couple of things here: First, its Bivens, not Blevins. Second, Kirk, you are being a little harsh on the Asian women. Many of them are trying very hard to improve their English. And I still dont remember anybody criticizing Argentinas Angel Cabrera for not having a firm grasp of the English language after he won the U.S. Open at Oakmont in 2007.
Peter writes: In regards to the law, everybody must submit and succumb to the rule of law regardless of who it is. Secondly, I agree with your assessment of how the ADT prize money should or shouldn't be reflected in the years standings.
The latter was a reference to the suggestion that the $1 million first prize at ADT skews the final season money list too much. Half of the million should apply to the official money list; the other half should be paid out as a bonus.
Jim writes: Jill Pilgrim integrity? How about arrogance! At what point does common sense kick in? There are numerous reasons the LPGA is never on SportsCenter. They are not on anywhere else either, except for the Golf Channel. They are a joke. Quick, name all the Majors the LPGA has had in the last 25 years. Liability if they didn't test Annika? Please! Tell the LPGA to turn out the lights on the way out. Nobody cares. Ask the sponsors, the networks, or the fans. They insulted and embarrassed the classiest representative that tour has seen since Nancy Lopez.
Wow, a lot of vitriol here. Unfortunately for the LPGA, an awful lot of the e-mails coming into The Comebacker are in at least partial agreement.
Bill writes: I thought maybe it's time for the LPGA to lengthen their courses as per the PGA. Most of the courses they play are shorter than my home course at 6,100 yards and I'm just a hacker. It hard to watch a tournament when the last few holes of a course require short irons into accessible pins which is mostly the case except for the ADT Championship.
Bill, I think you are on the money here. The ladies are hitting it farther these days just like the men. No reason why their courses cant be longer, too.
Stephen writes: I have encountered personalities such as Bivens in my life and I think the main word that jumps out at me is negative. Why is she in charge? She seems so corporate and soulless and are those the main requirements for her job? Is she qualified in any way? From an outsider looking in she seems more or less like our departing President, really arrogant and really dumb.
Cant wait for the e-mails to fly back at The Comebacker after printing this one. Remember, dont kill the messenger.
Forrest writes: With all due respect to the Annika, random drug testing is good for golf, good for America. And random means random. These athletes are playing a game, with the chance to make a lot of money playing it, and if the toughest non-golf thing they have to do is pee in a bottle, they need to get over it. Golf owes Annika a lot, but she still owes the game.
There are, Forrest reminds us here, at least two sides to every story. That doesnt mean those sides are right, just that they exist.
W.J. writes: The problem is not that Annika Sorenstam was drug-tested after her last career event, but that she was drug-tested twice in a month or less, while other players were not tested even once. This tells me that the program that is used to select who will be tested is badly flawed. If it is not fixed, it is a program that is doomed to fail before it really gets started.
What part of random do you not understand? That having been asked, players tested should be exempt from more testing for a period of time (a week, a month) so they dont have to suffer the indignity of being tested two days in a row.
Nancy writes: Your examination of the LPGA and its woes are right on target, well written and well thought out. I commend you on this and your taking the time to express concerns in a positive manner. Negativity never really helps, but how can one say positively that with Ty Votaw the LPGA seemed to be going in the right direction, but since he stepped down, things have gone south. Do you think its a gender thing? Ye gads, I hope not.
I think Ty Votaw was a very good commissioner.
Vicki writes: Thank you for writing a thoughtful and non-sexist article about the LPGA's difficulties. The attitude of LPGA's leaders seems to be overly regulatory, not collaborative and defensive about their
decisions. I think they have a leadership model that doesn't serve the LPGA well in what should be a growth period for women (and minorities) in golf. Good grief. Why didn't an LPGA official reach out to Annika right away to explain and apologize for the inconvenience and do their best to make the testing procedure less of an issue? Either the current leadership is unaware of the mistakes or oblivious to the issues that now make the LPGA seem irrelevant and an impediment to progress. How sad.
Lots of women weighing in on these issues. The Comebacker feels thats a good thing.
Penrod writes: I look at the problems of the LPGA through the eyes of a septuagenarian. It seems, to me, that the 'powers that be' are more interested in showing their power than trying to get more interest in the game. They had a chance to get one of the more talented players in their fold but instead DQ'd her for not signing her card. Even though she was within 'spitten distance' from the tent and went back to sign the card. These nit-picking rules certainly do not increase the pleasure of watching a very talented group play a great game. While I can see the necessity for rules, please have a valid point to them. BTW, I doff my cap to the University of Arizona players who have represented their alma mater well. I do hope Annika changes her mind about retiring.
Septuagenarians are people in their 70s. People in their 70s have been around long enough to know that these things go in cycles.
Charley writes: They need to play better. They ought to be thankful for whatever they make. Too many missed short putts and limited up and down skills. No power game; very little ability to come from behind. Courses are too short. I've played Bulle Rock and from the regular men's tees the water on 18 is in play from the tee and the second shot plays long so the water is again in play for a mild hook. For them, in a major championship, the water is never in play. Something's wrong and it's no wonder they have attendance problems.
Another vote for longer courses for the women.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish
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.
Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him
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.
Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter
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.
Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose
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.
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.