Annika Goes for Four at McDonalds

By Golf Channel NewsroomJune 3, 2006, 4:00 pm
McDonaldAnnika Sorenstam remains stuck on the number 9, as in the number of major-championship victories she has compiled. But she now is in familiar territory ' at the McDonalds LPGA Championship where she has won three times in a row.
 
Sorenstams play has been a formidable barrier for the players of the LPGA to surmount, the Swede ringing up 67 victories. This year, though, Sorenstam has not been quite as sharp as in previous years. She recently missed her first cut in a non-major since her rookie year in 1994. And, after winning her first outing of the 2006 season, she has gone six tournaments without a victory ' a most unlikely occurrence for a person with her legendary capabilities.
 
The Golf Channel will provide four round coverage og the McDonald's LPGA Championship and the analysts set to cover the event offered their opinions on Sorenstams chances, as well as several of other topics concerning McDonalds.
 
Annika just is not as sharp as she has been over the last four years, said Dottie Pepper. She is driving the ball significantly more crooked this year, and the ball is farther from the hole as a result. She has also been missing more five and six-footers than over the recent past.
 
In other words, shes more like everyone else, but she still has the there she is again factor when her name goes on the leader board. She compartmentalizes and manages her time better than anyone on Tour.
 
And Kay Cockerill says Sorenstam is still a dangerous competitor.
 
Annika, who has defied all the odds against suffering the bad bounces, balls avoiding the hole and general frustrations of competitive golf, is experiencing these things right now, she said. Annika is the only player to have won the LPGA Championship three straight times and she, unbelievably, is trying to win it four times straight. It doesnt seem that her game is in the type of top form necessary to do that, but again, she has pulled off so many amazing feats that you can never count her out.
 
Peter Oosterhuis feels the same.
 
Im sure everyone is surprised by Annikas play this year, he said. She has set such high standards that anything less than domination is a shock. Being a multiple-win defending champion should only remind Annika of her greatness and help her find her best form.
 
The favorites, if not Sorenstam? Cockerill says that Lorena Ochoa impresses her.
 
Lorena Ochoa is one of the hottest golfers right now, man or woman, she says. The fact that she is in serious contention almost every week tells me that she is more and more comfortable with that position. A major championship would be the next logical step in her career, and she certainly has the heart and the game to do it.
 
And one name is not being mentioned among the list of favorites. Laura Davies is nowhere on the radar, Cockerill says. Laura is sorely missed as a regular contender in the majors.
 
One word of note, however, is that Laura finished T-3 at last years LPGA Championship. So maybe theres something about Bulle Rock (in Maryland, the site of McDonalds) that will get her game turned around.

Pepper looks at two of the bright young stars of the tour, young women who impressed with their over-all play last year.
 
Paula Creamer would do well to get back to what she did last yearplay golf and put the marketing stuff on hold. Her focus on the course seems to be suffering a bit because of a lot of outside influences that were not so prevalent last year.
 
Morgan Pressel now is not saddled with high school studies and graduationtime to really kick things into high gear.
 
Sixteen-year-old Michelle Wie is a definite threat. And Pepper believes Wie has an advantage in that she entered the mens U.S. Open qualifying the week of McDonalds.
 
Because of her status as a non-LPGA member, Michelle has the advantage of being able to play and practice the week prior to the event without penalty, Pepper says. Mental fatigue could be something to watch for as the week goes by. She will be under the microscope for a bunch of days in a row.
 
Of course, said Cockerill, Michelle is and seemingly will consistently be a factor each time she tees it up in an LPGA tournament. It will be fun and interesting to see if Michelle will win this year on the LPGA Tour and if her first win comes at a major.
 
I think that experience (of playing in the mens Open qualifier) will help Michelle much more than hurt her. Open qualifying with the men will be a very challenging endeavor and whether or not she makes it, it will help make the pressure of the LPGA Championship easier to handle.
 
Bulle Rock certainly may play a role in the eventual winner. The course favors players that have great course management and distance control with their irons, believes Pepper. Youre got have enough power to hit a reasonable iron into some tough par-4 hole locations: Sorenstam, (Karrie) Webb and Ochoa.
 
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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Rose: T-2 finish renewed my love of The Open

    By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 9:00 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose made the cut on the number at The Open and was out for an early Saturday morning stroll at Carnoustie when, all of a sudden, he started putting together one great shot after another.

    There was no pressure. No one had expected anything from someone so far off the lead. Yet Rose shot 30 on the final nine holes to turn in 7-under 64, the lowest round of the championship. By day’s end he was five shots behind a trio of leaders that included Jordan Spieth.

    Rose followed the 64 with a Sunday 69 to tie for second place, two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. His 133 total over the weekend was the lowest by a shot, and for a moment he thought he had a chance to hoist the claret jug, until Molinari put on a ball-striking clinic down the stretch with birdies on 14 and 18.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I just think having made the cut number, it’s a great effort to be relevant on the leaderboard on Sunday,” said Rose, who collected his third-career runner-up in a major. He’s also finished 12th or better in all three majors this year.

    In the final round, Rose was well off the pace until his second shot on the par-5 14th hole hit the pin. He had a tap-in eagle to move to 5 under. Birdie at the last moved him to 6 under and made him the clubhouse leader for a few moments.

    “It just proves to me that I can play well in this tournament, that I can win The Open,” Rose said. “When I’m in the hunt, I enjoy it. I play my best golf. I don’t back away.

    “That was a real positive for me, and it renewed the love of The Open for me.”