Annika Unplugged - For a Brief Little Moment
Annika stopped by the Golf Channel offices earlier this month to chat with Peter Kessler on Golf Talk Live. For those of you who didnt tune in, you missed a woman who was very open in explaining her quiet celebrations over yet another golfing success, her fears over what can go wrong, the personal feelings of the rivalry with Karrie Webb, and her difficulties with charisma. As she opened up, she revealed what it is like in the shady world of womens golf ' shady because so many men never think its worthwhile to go there, but shady also because not many women are as totally forthcoming as Sorenstam was.
We learned that she received a personal note after she shot 59 this spring ' from Karrie Webb. It was a warm, sincere note from one woman to another, amongst two women who are pitted against each other in every way by the golfing public. Under such pressures its hardly possible for a close friendship to develop. But seeing the note, stuck in her locker following the magical round, brought a new appreciation of Webb from Sorenstam.
She has been very supportive, said Annika, realizing that there was no reason for the letter other than one woman bowing in submission ' at least for a day ' to another.
When I got that note and when I read it, I almost got tears because it has come from somebody who is that good of a player. She kind of respected what I did and let me know. I thought that was very ' that was first class.
That the two are the best players in womens golf is apparent. That the two are also rather private is apparent. So are 95 percent of us. We want our heroes to be large in every possible way, from hitting a 6-iron two feet from the cup to describing the shot with great verbiage. Sometimes its just a manner of being, like Tiger Woods or Fred Couples. Sometimes its a matter of speaking, like Fuzzy Zoeller or Paul Azinger. But sometimes ' by far the majority of the time ' its just a matter of stepping up and hitting the ball, and not really much else. Which is where Sorenstam and Webb fit it.
You know, if Karrie were kind of the clown and wanted to do the show, I would be all for it, Sorenstam said. I would be in the background cheering her on.
'But, as Ive always said, were here to play golf, and you can only be the one that you are. We both hear that a lot, that were so quiet and were quite boring. But I do what I love to do. I love to play the game. I feel very fortunate. Theres not a day in my life where I complain about what I do, because I just want to wake up and go play golf.
Sorenstam is not really that serious, of course. She related a funny little personal story about the World Championship in 1992, and some itching powder that was applied to Coach Pia Nelsons clothing. It would have been hilarious had Sorenstam reported that only she and Nelson were involved. But Annika dutifully added the we, indicating that maybe she was just one of several gals who pulled the prank. But ' hey, Annikas got a little humor in her.
Sorenstam is indeed driven. She has been driven for a long time. And she admitted it is important for her to excel, not just one who makes a decent check and shows up the next week after week after week.
Its ' its something Ive had inside for so long, she said. But its something thats grown in the last few years
I learned a lot about my golf game (since coming on Golf Talk Live before in 95). I learned a lot about myself, knowing what I could do, and that I enjoy pushing myself, seeing the challenges.
Thats what drives me today. I still get the butterflies on the first tee. I still get sweaty hands, and my heart pumps a lot going down the 18th. But I know what winning is all about now, and thats a feeling that I like.
What she said that was most priceless, however, is that she never takes winning for granted. She approaches each victory like it was her first one ' or at least she tries to. She sometimes has to rush out to the next tournament way too quickly. But at the end of the year, theres always a little personal time to think what she has accomplished. She sits and just reflects for a moment, all alone, by herself in her quiet time.
When I do have time off, I look at my trophies, she said. I look at my stats. Thats when I remember everything. Thats when it sinks in.
Actually, its those times alone, maybe just her and her husband, that grow more and more important as each year goes by. She says she truly enjoys being a homebody. I enjoy working in the garden, being a housewife. Its kind of nice to be home and take care of the house a little bit.
I do know that I dont want to travel when Im done playing. Itd be nice to be in one place and be at home and ' and just live life a little bit.
Sorenstam opened up just a bit and let the world peek in. It was Annika being Annika. The golfing miss could let the public see what its like being Annika Sorenstam. And what it is ' is something that's pretty special.
Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1
Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.
So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.
Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.
Jordan Spieth: 7/4
Xander Schauffele: 5/1
Kevin Kisner: 11/2
Tiger Woods: 14/1
Francesco Molinari: 14/1
Rory McIlroy: 14/1
Kevin Chappell: 20/1
Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1
Alex Noren: 25/1
Zach Johnson: 30/1
Justin Rose: 30/1
Matt Kuchar: 40/1
Webb Simpson: 50/1
Adam Scott: 80/1
Tony Finau: 80/1
Charley Hoffman: 100/1
Austin Cook: 100/1
Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.
One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.
McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.
“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”
McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.
“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”
Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.
Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.
“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”
One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.
After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.
“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”
Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.
This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.
“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”
Final-round tee times for the 147th Open Championship
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth begins his quest for a second consecutive claret jug and fourth major overall at 9:45 a.m. ET Sunday at Carnoustie, playing alongside Xander Schauffele. This marks the first time Schauffele has ever held a 54-hole lead in his career.
The Kevins – Kisner and Chappell – are in the penultimate group, 10 minutes earlier at 9:35 a.m. Kisner is tied with Spieth and Schauffele at 9 under par. Chappell is two shots back at 7 under.
But it’s the next group that has people interested the most. Tiger Woods is paired with Francesco Molinari at 9:25 a.m. Woods, in search of his 15th major championship and first in 10 years, shot a third-round 66 to vault into a tie for sixth place, four shots behind the lead. He began the day six shots behind. Molinari has two wins and two second-place finishes in his last four events.
Rory McIlroy was within striking distance of the lead but bogeyed two of the last three holes to drop into a sixth-place tie. He is paired with 2017 Open runner-up Matt Kuchar at 9:05 a.m.
3:00AM ET: Beau Hossler
3:10AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Rafa Cabrera Bello
3:20AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Si-Woo Kim
3:30AM ET: Luke List, Keegan Bradley
3:40AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
3:50AM ET: Tyrrell Hatton, Paul Dunne
4:00AM ET: Cameron Davis, Brooks Koepka
4:10AM ET: Brett Rumford, Kevin Na
4:20AM ET: Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey
4:30AM ET: Gavin Green, Ryan Fox
4:45AM ET: Shubhankar Sharma, Gary Woodland
4:55AM ET: Sam Locke (a), Masahiro Kawamura
5:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Rhys Enoch
5:15AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Jason Day
5:25AM ET: Adam Hadwin, Yuta Ikeda
5:35AM ET: Sung Kang, Brandon Stone
5:45AM ET: Thomas Pieters, Stewart Cink
5:55AM ET: Lee Westwood, Julian Suri
6:05AM ET: Tom Lewis, Marc Leishman
6:15AM ET: Ross Fisher, Jason Dufner
6:30AM ET: Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed
6:40AM ET: Phil Mickelson, Eddie Pepperell
6:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Bernhard Langer
7:00AM ET: Michael Kim, Patrick Cantlay
7:10AM ET: Shaun Norris, Lucas Herbert
7:20AM ET: Sean Crocker, Louis Oosthuizen
7:30AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Satoshi Kodaira
7:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Danny Willett
7:50AM ET: Haotong Li, Kyle Stanley
8:00AM ET: Chris Wood, Byeong Hun An
8:15AM ET: Erik Van Rooyen, Yusaku Miyazato
8:25AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
8:35AM ET: Adam Scott, Charley Hoffman
8:45AM ET: Justin Rose, Austin Cook
8:55AM ET: Tommy Fleetwood, Zach Johnson
9:05AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy
9:15AM ET: Webb Simpson, Alex Noren
9:25AM ET: Francesco Molinari, Tiger Woods
9:35AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Kevin Chappell
9:45AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele