Sorenstam Pak and Webb Pace LPGA

By George WhiteSeptember 20, 2001, 4:00 pm
Karrie Webb or Annika Sorenstam, Annika Sorenstam or Karrie Webb. For the last six years they have had a stranglehold of the LPGA, with Se Ri Pak rushing up to join them this season.
 
Sorenstam has six wins heading into the Asahi Ryokuken International Championship, Pak four and Webb two. Both of Webb's wins, though, are majors. Sorenstam won the first big one, the Nabisco Championships, and Pak the last, the Weetabix British Open. Trying to figure who has had the Player of the Year season is like trying to slide a mat under a closed door. It can be done, but not very easily.
 
The last six Vare trophies for the lowest stroke average have been won by Sorenstam and Webb. So have the last six money titles. Only Laura Davies' win in 1996 has prevented a sweep by those two of Player of the Year the last six years.
 
Pak, who will be turn 24 this month, has served notice to the world that she must be reckoned with. Sorenstam at 30 is just beginning to hit her prime years. Webb is 26.
 
Webb dominated the last two years, coming of age after Sorenstam had been the big winner the previous four. Sorenstam, however, rededicated herself to being No. 1 in the off-season, and her efforts have paid off in a boatload of victories this year.
 
She erupted for four straight wins, beginning with Welch's/Circle K the second week of March, continuing through the following week with a 59 that shook the golf world in the Standard Register Ping, carried through the first major, the Nabisco, and finally wound up with the Office Depot the second week in April. She won the Chick-fil-A three weeks later in May, then didn't register another victory until she won the Bank of Montreal the third week of August.
 
Pak has been possibly the most consistent, grabbing the opening tournament of the year, another in April, one in July and the British Open in August. Pak has won $1,329,941, which trails Sorenstam's $1,608,941.
 
And then there's Webb. She peaked her game two times, both major championships. She won the U.S. Women's Open by a whopping eight strokes, then fought back tears for her recently deceased grandfather to take the LPGA Championship.
 
'It happens with both Annika and Karrie,' said Helen Alfredsson. 'It's sort of like the Jack Nicklaus syndrome. They are up there, and everybody starts thinking about second place.'
 
Well, everyone but Pak, who this year has gone on winning and winning and winning. Some will say she got her British Open major because Sorenstam and Webb were tied up with Tiger Woods and David Duval on Monday night of the tournament. But the fact remains, she is the youngest of this trio and she has been the most consistent.
 
But there is no way for anyone to displace Sorenstam, whose early-season successes have been the most impressive on the LPGA.
Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


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.