Annika Wins First - Obviously Shes Behind
That quieted a lot of worry and gnashing of teeth from the general populace whove come to believe Sorenstam will win every time she enters ' or at the least, every other time. In her first tournament this year, she dawdled around to tie for third. In the next, she could do no better than finish second. The nerve of her!
But everyone can pipe down now. She has won again. She went through the field at the Office Depot to win by four strokes. For those who think her whole season rides on May 18-June 1, when she will tee it up with the men of the PGA Tour, she is again in step. She is batting one-for-three, and that is exactly where she was last year ' she won one of her first three, won her second in her fourth time out.
Actually, one-for-three is about what shes done the last three seasons. Shes played 70 times the last three years on the LPGA and won 24 times ' 73 and 25, if you count this season. She won two more times on the Ladies European Tour in three tries last year, so she won exactly half the time ' 13 victories in 26 events ' she entered.
It gets pretty amazing when you add in her runner-up or third-place finishes. In those 26 tournaments, she finished in the top three 20 times.
If Tiger Woods had done that well on the PGA Tour, he would have finished in the top three in 14 of the 18 tournaments he played. Battling an injured knee, Tiger finished in the top-three nine times ' 11 in you count the two European Tour events he played. That certainly isnt to be perceived as a slap at Woods, merely to emphasize what Sorenstam has done. She is in contention for the title week after week after week.
Its amazing, isnt it, when you consider the Se Ri Paks and Karrie Webbs that have to be accommodated, too.
You have to remember that the other players are getting better, said Sorenstam, so I am not the only one who is hungry.
Of course, to step on the first tee and think I have to win 14 times to have a better season ' thats a lot of pressure. I love to win, but my No. 1 goal is to be a better player. I can control that. I cant control what other players do or how they play.
Shes only 5-feet-6, small by modern-athlete standards. Gym workouts the last year have left her strong, though. Woman who want to compete with her have to get a lot stronger, or they will be left further and further behind. This train is leaving the station, and if you dont get on board now, the only thing youll see is the caboose.
We all have to work more hard, says Pak in her delightfully fractured English, because she is much stronger and everyone thinks about it (the conditioning) more. She is always consistent and she is mentally stronger on the course. At the same time, I work harder and have more confidence ' pretty good things.
Yes, indeed, pretty good things. But Sorenstam believes pretty good things mean shooting 54, the ultimate as far as she is concerned. Is it possible? No, of course not. Is it possible for Annika? Yes, it is, says Sorenstam.
I believe I can 18 greens, she says, every fairway. You know, Vision 54, which means you birdie every hole. Thats in the back of my mind.
I want to putt better, chip better. That day when I hit 18 greens and one putt, Ill know Im a complete player.
If it ever happens, she will be as good the best player on the PGA Tour, notwithstanding Mr. Woods. But she has a long way to go, as her 68, 72 and 71 last week suggests. Nary a 54 among those scores. But ' her career isnt over, not by a long shot, she suggests.
Will that ever happen? she asks rhetorically. Im not sure, but its possible.
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.