Press Pass Annika Michelle Tiger and Phil

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 30, 2007, 4:00 pm
Press PassEach week, GOLF CHANNEL experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass.
Hot Topic
In regards to this weeks Memorial Tournament, do you like Jack Nicklaus use of gap-toothed rakes to create furrows in bunkers?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
I wasn't wild about the fact that he sprung the rakes on the players last year with very little advance notice. This year he has modified the severity of the rakes and I think that's fine. I agree with him that the conditioning of the sand at Muirfield Village had gotten so fine that to be in a greenside bunker was better than being in greenside rough.
Steve Sands Steve Sands - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
I think Jack is trying to make things more difficult to keep the scoring down at his tournament. Other courses and tournaments do certain things to try to achieve the same result so I don't have a problem with what they're doing in Dublin.
Steve Duemig Steve Duemig - Panelist, Grey Goose 19th Hole:
Jack's reasoning is that being in a bunker is supposed to cost you half a stroke. If I was playing, probably not. But I'm not playing so - You go, Jack.
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
I think it is an interesting idea. I dont think the grooves should be overly severe, but anything to make the sand other than a perfect surface to play a shot out of would make the area more of a hazard. To me there should be some disadvantage to being in a bunker. After all a bunker is a hazard.
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer,
I don't have a problem with it. But that being said, even Tiger Woods only gets up-and-down from a greenside bunker less than 64 percent of the time. Bunkers are pretty penal to begin with -- still, I don't mind making them a little more difficult for the best players in the world.
Hot Topic
Annika Sorenstam returns to action this week in her own Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika. Will a healthy Sorenstam regain the No. 1 spot in the world this year?
I think a 'healthy' Annika will regain the No. 1 spot this year. The question (and we will learn a lot more by the end of this coming week) is how healthy will Annika be and how soon. Her doctor has told me she has been careful to be conservative in her treatment of neck and back injuries since learning of them last month. Annika is competitive and there might be a temptation to come back too soon. But all signs point to her being smarter than to give in to the temptation. In her mind, I believe, Annika is shooting for a healthy defense of her U.S. Women's Open title at Pine Needles late next month.
If Annika is healthy there's no question she'll regain the No. 1 spot in the world this season.
I don't think so. Being off that long and not practicing for some of that time during rehab will definitely affect her. Besides, Ochoa is playing very well.
I think the answer is no, but dont ever count Annika out. She has three disadvantages when it comes to her rivalry with Lorena Ochoa. No. 1, the age difference; No. 2, Annikas potential for lingering injury; No. 3, Annikas focus on other things in life besides competitive golf.
I think it's Lorena's for the rest of the year. She's easily capable of winning a few more times and could (should) land a major title. Right now in their careers, I think a healthy Lorena Ochoa is better than a healthy Annika Sorenstam.
Hot Topic
Michelle Wie is also making her return this week. She will be playing the PGA TOURs John Deere Classic in July. Good move or bad move?
You must understand that Michelle Wie at the John Deere is, in a sense, kind of a one-off. She has become extremely popular in the Quad Cities region where that tournament is played. And tournament director Clair Peterson has told me all their feedback has been positive about Wie returning there. Wie is a big draw at the John Deere and she has made charitable contributions to worthy causes there. What I don't think you'll see any time soon are any other tournament directors on the PGA TOUR looking to get Wie in their fields. She needs to score better in PGA TOUR events to get consistent invites there.
I do not think it's a good idea for Michelle Wie to play in a PGA TOUR event. She's a professional golfer. Professionals play to win. She cannot win the John Deere Classic. Learning how to win on the professional level is difficult. Trying to make a cut Friday afternoon is not the same as trying to win a tournament Sunday afternoon.
LOL!! Cut me a break. At what point does this become comical? Oh yeah, it already is.
I still think its a good move for Michelle and dont be surprised if she does better this year at the John Deere Classic. I really think this extended layoff she has had from the game will turn out to be good for her. Most importantly just look at what Michelles presence has done for the John Deere Classic, the Quad-Cities community and all the local charities.
I feel like Michelle has gotten about all she can right now out of playing against men. I think she should focus on competing against her own gender, get better as a player, get her confidence back, and then take another stab at it in the future.
Hot Topic
In your opinion, whats the ONE thing to watch for this week?
Sergio Garcia has a new putter (YES C-Groove) that he started using at THE PLAYERS. It certainly worked for him there (second-place finish). If he ever regains the kind of confidence in his putting he had in his late teens, he will be an immediate force again and a player to be watched closely at next month's U.S. Open.
I'm curious to see how Tiger Woods plays at Muirfield Village after being away two weeks since his disappointing week at THE PLAYERS.
The thing I will be looking for the most is the way Tiger's putter is reacting at the Memorial. (The Muirfield greens have) Open-type speed. It may paint the picture as to his true chances at Oakmont.
To me, the most interesting thing will be to see which tour gets bigger play in the media, the PGA TOUR or the LPGA. You have two premier events on the same weekend.
I'm very curious to see how Annika plays this week. Two of the next three tournaments are major championships, one of which Annika will be defending (U.S. Women's Open). This week, for once, isn't about winning for Annika -- it's about finding her feel, and feeling well.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Memorial Tournament
  • Full Coverage - Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika
  • 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.