Annikas Press Conference Transcript

By Golf Channel NewsroomMay 13, 2008, 4:00 pm
An Interview With: ANNIKA SORENSTAM

 
ASHLEY CUSHMAN: Everyone thank you for coming in ask joining us. I have Annika Sorenstam in here and I'm going to turn it over to her at this time. She has a special announcement to make.
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, hi, everybody, and thank you for coming. I thought before we start this press conference, I wanted to make some remarks on something that's been on my mind for a little while and I wanted to share it all for you. So I think last time I saw so many cameras was at the Colonial, and that was a life-changing moment, so I guess we have another one.
 
After some serious consideration, I have made a decision to step away from competitive golf after this season. And this is obviously a very difficult decision for me to make, because I love this game very much. But I know it's the right one.
 
Q. How do you know it's the right one?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I wanted to let you all know that. I feel like I have a responsibility to the LPGA, to my fans, and I wanted to announce it as early as I could.
 
The reason for this decision is that I have other priorities in my life. I have a lot of dreams that I want to follow, I want to live, and I'm getting married in January. Mike and I want to start a family. I want to continue to build the ANNIKA brand of businesses, and this includes my academy, my foundation, my golf course design projects, all my corporate relationships, hosting golf tournaments, clothing lines, etc.
 
I am very, very proud of what I've achieved. Golf has been great to me. I think I've achieved more than I ever thought I could. I have given it all and it's been fun.
 
I have come back from an injury, and I feel strong, I feel healthy, and the season has started really well, and I'm leaving the game on my terms.
 
I was watching a press conference a few months ago with Brett Farve when he announced his retirement, and some of the things that he said was, you know, he loves the competition, he is just tired of the daily grind, and I feel the same way.
 
While I'm stepping away from competition, I will be very engaged and very involved in the game of golf, but in a different way. I want to make sure that I can get back to the game that's been great to me, by helping and inspiring young kids to develop and reach their dreams. I know I can do that with the growth of my academy. I can do that with the growth of my foundation, and I want to do it with the commitment from my sponsors that have been there for me all these years and have played an instrumental part in my success. So I'm looking forward to doing clinics, outings, promotions, you name it.
 
I am also very proud of women's golf and the state it's in today. I think the last 15 years, I've seen a tremendous change, and it's really grown to an amazing place. I'm just very, very happy to have been a part of it and had a chance to follow my dream. And I believe that this decision comes at the right time for the LPGA, it's in very good hands with great talent and a commissioner that really cares.
 
Of course, there is teamwork behind my success and I wanted to thank some people. Some of them are here and some of them are not. I wanted to start with my parents for their love and support. I want to thank Mike, my fiancee, I'm not sure where he is, but thanks for your support and love, as well; my sister, for her friendship; my caddie, Terry, for his hard work and his dedication; my agent, Mark Steinberg for his hard work and helping me to go in the right direction; my coach, Henri Reis, for giving me all the knowledge; all of my sponsors for their support and sticking with me; to my friends, some of them are here, I appreciate your friendship as well; and of course, the media, thank you for writing some nice things about me; and then also the fans that have been cheering me on for all these years.
 
Last but not least, you know, having said all this, there's still plenty of golf to be played. I have another seven months left, and my goal is to win tournaments, many tournaments. Thank you.
 
Q. Can you address the timing of why today, this point in the season? And the other question is: When you say you're stepping away from the game, do you envision playing at all competitively after this season?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: The reason why we picked today is, I mean, I felt the responsibility to let the LPGA know and the fans know. The year goes by so quickly and all of a sudden it's going to be December, and I just wanted to be fair to everybody.
 
You know, I wanted to have a chance to just focus on the game. And I didn't want to do it too soon, because again, I want to come back and play some good golf and focus on that. So therefore the timing, we just thought this was a good time.
 
In regards to stepping away, you know, December will be my last tournament. If it's forever, I'm not really sure, but it's definitely for now.
 
Q. Breaking Kathy Whitworth's record, did you give any consideration to that sort of history?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Obviously 88 wins is a huge achievement. I feel like I achieved so much more than I ever thought I could, and to beat her record does not motivate me. I am very happy in my life. I'm very content with what I've achieved, and it just feels right. I'm at peace with what I'm doing. I still have energy and excitement to finish the year on a strong note, and that's the way I look at it.
 
Q. You mentioned this is the right time for the LPGA for you to leave, but also with Lorena playing as well as she's played, did you consider the idea of just having a rivalry with her and what the game might be losing if you're not around?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Lorena is playing some fantastic golf, but there's no doubt, she's been dominating for two years. Again, that doesn't motivate me to keep on going. I enjoy playing with Lorena. She's definitely taking the Tour to a higher level and I enjoy the times I'm going to play with her. She was a lot of fun last week, and I think we're going to have more of those couple of events the next coming months.
 
Q. With the injury last year, did you give any consideration to retiring then, or did you want to come back and prove to yourself and others that you could still do it and then make this decision?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, the injury just made me appreciate what I achieved, and it made me appreciate the game and being out here. I wanted to come back but I wasn't ready. I wanted to leave on my terms when it felt right. I didn't want an injury to take me away from this game. Now I feel at peace. This is the right thing to do and now I'm healthy and that's the way I want it to be.
 
Q. You obviously have been thinking about this for a while, but can you describe the feeling and the words that actually came out of your mouth a couple of minutes ago, what was going through your mind?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Of course, I've been a little nervous. I can compare it to coming down the stretch and a 2-putt for a win; I'm nervous then, too.
 
When you know it's right and you know it's the right thing to do, I mean, I don't -- I haven't questioned myself. I have no second thoughts. You know, I guess I'm glad that I shared it with everybody that covers golf and follows women's golf in sports. I thought it would be a fair thing to share.
 
But I am going to focus on my game the next seven months. I'm a huge competitor, and right now I'm second on the Money List, and people that know me knows I don't settle for second. So I have a whole lot of work ahead of myself, but I know what to do and I'm looking forward to it.
 
Q. Speaking of that, have you laid out a schedule for the rest of the year, how many events you might?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yeah, I have a schedule and I'm sticking with the schedule I decided to play earlier in the year, probably total of 25, and this is my eighth or something like that. So I have a lot of events left all around the world.
 
Q. Can you speak to what you've left behind to golf, and women's golf, specifically?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I really haven't. I really want to continue to be part of the game. Like I said, I want to continue to help inspire kids and I want to be, you know, there to help women's sports. I might not be inside the ropes, but I'm looking forward to another part of my life where I can help in different ways.
 
Q. What have you enjoyed the most about this, about your career, and what have you enjoyed the least?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, the first one is easy. I mean, I love the competition. I've been fortunate to have a hobby as my job and I've been able to travel around the world and met some wonderful people and seen some wonderful places; without golf, I wouldn't have any of that. I have so much to be thankful for, I really do.
 
You know, being an athlete and being at the top, it takes a lot of hard work. It takes some sacrifices, and you know, I've enjoyed that journey as well. But I would say traveling and being away from home and friends and family is probably the hardest thing.
 
Q. You mentioned your competitiveness probably five times. I'm wondering if you think you're going to be able to do this cold turkey versus, say, a gradual withdrawal where you maybe play a half dozen times next year and sort of gradually bow out.
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: That's a good question. I believe I can. I normally do what I want to do. You know, I enjoy the competition, but I'm also a player that, you know, I care too much about this game and I care too much about playing well; that if I can't have it 100%, then I don't want to give any. I know what it's like to play at the top, and you know, I don't want to do anything else. So it's either on or it's not.
 
Q. Can you talk about what you think playing the ADT Championship will be like? I know you and Mike, your relationship kind of started down there at the event, and also, will that be your final event that you would play in competitively?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, I can tell you, it will not be my last tournament. It will be my last on the LPGA, but I'm going overseas to play in a few events.
 
You know, I'm not really sure how I will feel down there. It's a special place. You know, I really don't want to think about it. It's tough enough. I want to try and enjoy every tournament and every week, and really absorb it and I don't want to think too far ahead. Seven months is going to go by really quickly, and let's just take this week.
 
Q. Just curious if you could speak to how much you think you helped sort of globalize the game. Obviously if you look at the top of women's golf, it's much more international than it was 15, 20 years ago; how much of a role did you play in that, do you think?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, I would agree that it's a lot more global today than it was. I mean, I'm only one face of the LPGA, one international face, and I mean, I come from a country where we have several international stars that have helped me to pave the way for me. So I'm just happy to be a part of it and hopefully I put in -- I've helped it a little bit and it's totally a team effort from everybody.
 
You know, the LPGA is as good as it's ever been. Like I said earlier, I'm just happy I had a chance to be part of such a wonderful time.
 
Q. Just curious when you talk about achievements and accomplishments in the game, what makes you the proudest?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, I'm lucky. I have several things that make me crowd. Overall, just the consistency, playing every year and being in contention and to be Player of the Year eight times is something I'm very proud of.
 
To single a few things out: Shooting 59; my performance at the Colonial; winning ten majors; there's a lot of things, I mean, three U.S. Opens, my mind is going a little blank. I'm just very thankful for everything.
 
Q. How important was it for you to really go out on top? I mean, you just beat an LPGA field by seven strokes last week; how important is that to you, as opposed to playing later in life and maybe struggling to play at such a high level that you've always been used to?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, you know, I enjoy playing golf at the top level, and you know, the win the other day was just a bonus, really. I had made this decision awhile back. Again, I almost felt at peace winning on Sunday knowing what was going to happen here today. You know, I'm all about giving 100%. I know what it's like to be at the top, and therefore, I think the timing is perfect. I've come back and I know I can do it and I've given it all, and that's really what matters to me.
 
Q. It seems like you've been contemplating this for a few years, when is the first time you thought about retiring? How long ago was that?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: You know, using the 'r' word, I'm stepping away from competition. I've thought about it for a little while. You know, when you achieve so many great things and I'm just very happy with life and you start thinking, what else is important in life, and what else do I want to achieve on the golf course. It's been a year or so where I've just been very content and I felt like when I come back after the injury, I've proven to myself I can do it and you know, it's a special feeling for myself.
 
Q. What will be your final tournament?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: In Dubai, on the LET.
 
Q. Until then, how difficult is it for you to look around and say, 'This is the last time I'm going to be here?'
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, it's going to be tough. I'm going to miss the tournaments, the people. But it's a decision I've made, and you know, I hope to enjoy it but absorb a little more than I have in the past where I'm just so competitive and so focused inside the ropes.
 
You know, I will leave with some great memories from every place, and that will carry me on to the next phase in my life.
 
Q. We were wondering, are you going to be building any more ANNIKA Academies in any other parts of the country?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: As of now, I don't have any plans to build another ANNIKA Academy. I'm very proud of the one that we have in Orlando, and I'm just trying to get that going and make it successful. I'm going to have time to maybe think about that in a few months, so I'll let you know.
 
Q. In making this decision, did you talk to any of your friends in the golf game and any of the high-profile game whether you made the right decision, or did you make this on your own without any advice to other people in the golf game?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I have spoken -- first of all, I made this decision totally on my own. This is something that came from the heart. I've obviously shared it with my family and my friends, all my sponsors, the people I work with. But I've spoken to a few players about it, and it was more of a, 'I'm going to let you know, this is what I'm doing.' I mean, I knew this is right, and you know, you don't have to ask anybody else's opinion about your career; like I said, this just comes from the heart.
 
Q. One of the things you do want to get into is golf course architecture, wondering how much that will be a part of your non-playing days. And maybe if you could just give us the status of a project that you're working on in British Columbia and Canada, please.
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yeah, my golf course design business is booming, I would say. I'm working on my fifth golf course, and there are two more in the works, so that's another area that I will spend a lot of time on and give back to the game, and I'm excited about that.
 
The Canadian course, right now we're in permit stages and we hope to start clearing this summer. The goal is to be ready by the Olympics, by 2010.
 
Q. How will this affect the Ginn Tribute?
 
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: It will not affect anything. I'm still the hostess. I'm still going to go there. I mean, hopefully I will perform better this year than last year. You know, being the hostess and being a part of the game is something I'm going to continue in the future. So nothing is changing as far as I know, not from my end, anyway.
 
ASHLEY CUSHMAN: Annika, thanks so much for your time and good luck this week.
 
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
 
Related Links:
  • Video: Annika 'Stepping Away'
  • Annika Through the Years
  • Full Coverage - Sybase Classic
  • Getty Images

    Monday Scramble: Flawless Francesco outlasts them all

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 2:00 pm

    Francesco Molinari outlasts the rest, Tiger Woods inches closer to an earth-shattering victory, Jordan Spieth lets a successful title defense slip away, Eddie Pepperell toasts his success and more in this week’s Open edition of Monday Scramble:

    Forza Italia.

    Amid a wild and windy afternoon at Carnoustie, where seemingly no less than a dozen players had a viable shot at the claret jug, it was a steady performance from Francesco Molinari that translated into breakthrough.

    Molinari is no stranger to the big stage, and five years ago he played the final round alongside Phil Mickelson as Lefty stormed from behind to win at Muirfield. But this time, this day, it was his turn to shine as he put forth a ball-striking and scrambling clinic that yielded 16 pars and two birdies while the other leaders struggled around him.

    It's the cap of an impressive heater for Molinari, who is now the first Italian to ever win a major. He outlasted Rory McIlroy at the BMW PGA Championship in May, won the Quicken Loans National by eight shots last month and now has finished first or second in five of his last six worldwide starts.

    The soft-spoken veteran played the final two rounds without making a bogey, and he is a worthy champion. Expect the jug to receive a few refills of wine - and perhaps a little coffee - over the next year.


    1. For about a 90-minute stretch Sunday, it seemed like Tiger Woods would finally find a way to silence the critics once and for all.

    Playing alongside Molinari, Woods displayed the same tactical brilliance on the opening nine, carding two birdies while others struggled out of the gates and, at one point, taking the lead alone. But an errant approach and a poor flop shot led to a double bogey on No. 11, and his bid for the jug was diverted soon thereafter.

    But man, what a ride it was through that opening stretch. For months the questions have lingered about exactly how and when Tiger might put all the pieces together, and after an early exit at Shinnecock it was easy to write him off. But his inner tactician shined for much of the week on a toasty layout, and he was steady in all facets over the weekend.

    Just as Woods' five-win season in 2013 has been used as a recent example of just how high his ceiling reaches, so too this performance will be viewed like manna from heaven for Tiger apologists. He didn't quite pull it off, but there's every reason to expect that he can do so the next time around.

    2. While he came up three shots short of catching Molinari, even Woods appeared to savor the final leg of a T-6 finish that serves as his best result in a major in five years and becomes the new high water mark for an already impressive season.

    "It was a blast," Woods told reporters. "I was saying earlier that I need to try and keep it in perspective because, beginning of the year, if they'd have said you're playing the Open Championship, I would have said I'd be very lucky to do that."



    3. A bit more on Molinari, the newest Champion Golfer of the Year who has turned into a weekend assassin over the last three months. 

    Between his stirring victory at Wentworth, his rout at TPC Potomac and his comeback at Carnoustie, Molinari has now played six weekend rounds while making only a single bogey. One!

    That includes 36 bogey-free holes over the last two days in Scotland, as Molinari methodically took apart the demanding links layout while turning in the only bogey-free scorecard out of the entire field on Sunday.

    "To go the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest," Molinari said. "But I felt really good this morning. When I came here, I felt ready for the challenge."

    4 While many players would quiver at the thought of a final-round tee time alongside Woods with a major on the line, Molinari didn't blink. Perhaps because he's been in similar situations before.

    In addition to his supporting role during Mickelson's win in 2013, Molinari has twice faced off with Woods in the Ryder Cup - including a 2012 singles' draw that remains Woods' most recent Ryder Cup match. So stepping to the tee Sunday, Molinari was fazed neither by his playing partner nor by the three co-leaders that sat three shots ahead of him.

    "Clearly in my group, the attention wasn't really on me, let's put it that way," Molinari said. "If someone was expecting a charge, probably they weren't expecting it from me, but it's been the same the whole of my career."

    5. How times change. Just a few weeks ago, Molinari opted to tee it up at the Quicken Loans National instead of the French Open at Ryder Cup venue Le Golf National. The reason? He was concerned about his FedExCup standing.

    Molinari hadn't done much in the States this year, and he was 123rd in points with his 2019 status very much in limbo. Fast forward a few weeks - including two wins and a runner-up - and Molinari can safely book travel plans on both sides of the Atlantic for years to come.



    6. It was a week of what might have been for Jordan Spieth.

    Spieth started his stint in Scotland by handing back the claret jug in a ceremony he admitted was more bitter than sweet. But through 54 holes, he was the betting favorite as one of three co-leaders, equipped with a great chance to go back-to-back and end a victory drought that extended back to Royal Birkdale.

    Amid a disappointing campaign, it was the first time he started the final round closer than four shots to the lead.

    But Spieth apparently used up his magic last year in Southport, as he seemed out of sorts from the start and quickly faded. Spieth didn't make a birdie all day, and he found a gorse bush at an inopportune time en route to a double bogey on one of the easiest holes on the course.

    It added up to a 76 and a tie for ninth, another disappointing finish in a year of mixed results. Now he'll have to wait another year for a potential reunion with the jug.

    7. Of course, Spieth wasn't the only player who watched a share of the 54-hole lead slip away.

    Kevin Kisner held at least a share of the lead after each of the first three days, but his bid for a maiden major went sideways in a bunker on the second hole Sunday. Xander Schauffele's bid lasted significantly longer, as he kept pace with Molinari until the 17th hole.

    But in the end, it was a 3-over 74 and a share of second place for both men, who now find themselves firmly in the Ryder Cup mix heading into the homestretch of the selection process.



    8. For the first time in his career, Rory McIlroy has a runner-up finish in a major championship. But good luck making sense of his week at Carnoustie years from now.

    McIlroy was barely a factor over the weekend, having seemingly forfeited his shot at a second Open title during benign third-round conditions. But when his lengthy eagle putt fell on the 14th hole Sunday and sparked a celebration reminiscent of Hazeltine, hope was once again alive.

    Ultimately, it was too little too late for the Ulsterman, who couldn't convert a lengthy birdie putt on the 72nd hole that could have putt pressure on the leaders behind him. He'll leave Scotland with a healthy check, but without the feeling that he ever got both feet planted in his quest for the claret jug.

    "I just ran out of holes," McIlroy said.

    9. If McIlroy's runner-up felt like somewhat of a disappointment, Justin Rose's T-2 finish was nothing short of found money.

    Rose needed to birdie the difficult 18th on Friday simply to make the cut on the number, and he rebounded with a third-round 64. The Englishman added a Sunday 69 to lend credence to the notion that, despite only two top-10s in the tournament as a pro, Rose might still have an Open title in him after all.

    "I just think having made the cut number, it's a great effort to be relevant on the leaderboard on Sunday," Rose said.

    The weekend close continues a recent run of solid form for Rose, who won a few weeks back at Colonial and now has reached a career-best No. 2 in the world rankings.


    So the Champion Golfer of the Year walks into a coffee shop...

    Sadly, it seems we may not see these creative retirement plans come to fruition - at least not for a few years. But credit to Molinari for thinking outside the box, and credit to Wesley Bryan for a timely share.

    This week's award winners ... 


    Hair of the Dog: Eddie Pepperell. The 27-year-old Englishman admitted he was "a little hungover" during the final round, but he still put up the day's best score with a 4-under 67 that gave him a share of sixth and his first ever top-10 finish in a major. Drinks all around.

    Paris Bound?: Webb Simpson. The Players champ tied for 12th to move past Bryson DeChambeau at No. 8 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically. Schauffele moved to 11th, while Kisner moved to 13th.

    Quiet Consistency: Tony Finau. Finau tied for ninth at Carnoustie and has now cracked the top 10 in each of the three majors this year. In fact, six of his 10 career major starts have gone for T-18 or better. Perhaps something for Captain Furyk to consider.

    Quietly Slumping: Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard is barely a year removed from his watershed win, but he has now missed the cut in four straight majors and has missed six of nine cuts overall dating back to the Masters.

    Role Reversal: Molinari, who won The Open while playing alongside Tiger 12 years after he caddied for his brother, Edoardo, in a group with Woods at the 2006 Masters. Woods was the defending champ, and Edoardo was the reigning U.S. Amateur winner:

    King of Yelp: To the Carnoustie barber that gave Spieth a trim before the third round that set social media ablaze. While Spieth admitted it was a little "high and tight," it became the most famous £9 haircut in years.

    Make Your Own Bed: To the frat house of American stars that has become something of an Open annual tradition. While Spieth, Kisner and Zach Johnson fell short of winning the jug for the house, hopefully they all got a few good shots in on all-time goalie Jason Dufner during intra-squad soccer scrimmages.

    Kick Him Out: To the obnoxious fan that nearly derailed Tiger's final tee shot. One-upsmanship has become somewhat of a plague among American crowds, but Sunday showed that even the revered Scottish faithful have a few bad eggs in the bunch.

    Place Your Bets: With only 17 days until the opening round of the PGA Championship, the Westgate Las Vegas installed Dustin Johnson as a 12/1 co-favorite alongside Spieth and McIlroy. Woods headlines the group next in line at 16/1.


    Blown Fantasy Pick of the Week: Justin Thomas. For the second year in a row, Thomas' Open chances fell apart during a rainy second round. It was 67-80 at Birkdale, and this time 69-77 to miss the cut by a shot at Carnoustie. Watching what Rose did after finishing only one shot better through 36 holes only adds salt to the wound.

    Getty Images

    DJ, McIlroy, Spieth listed as PGA betting favorites

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 1:38 pm

    Three majors are in the books, but there's still one more trophy up for grabs in two weeks' time.

    While next year The Open will signal the end of the 2019 major season amid a revamped calendar, this is the final year that the PGA Championship will be held in August. The tournament returns next month to Bellerive Country Club outside St. Louis, which last hosted the PGA when Nick Price won in 1992 and hasn't hosted a PGA Tour event since Camilo Villegas won the 2008 BMW Championship.

    Oddsmakers at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook published PGA betting odds shortly after the final putt dropped at Carnoustie and Francesco Molinari left with the claret jug. Topping the board are a trio of major champions: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, all listed at 12/1.

    McIlroy won the PGA in both 2012 and 2014, while Spieth needs only the Wanamaker Trophy to round out the career Grand Slam. Johnson has recorded four top-10s in the PGA, notably a T-5 finish at Whistling Straits in 2010 when a few grains of sand kept him out of a playoff with Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson.

    Fresh off a T-6 finish in Scotland, Tiger Woods headlines the group listed at 16/1, behind only the three co-favorites as he looks to win a 15th career major.

    Here's a look at the betting odds for a number of contenders, with the opening round of the PGA just 17 days away:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth

    16/1: Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

    18/1: Justin Rose

    20/1: Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Jason Day

    30/1: Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama

    40/1: Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren, Paul Casey

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Matt Kuchar

    60/1: Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Webb Simpson

    80/1: Adam Scott, Zach Johnson, Kevin Kisner

    100/1: Ian Poulter, Thomas Pieters, Tyrrell Hatton, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Daniel Berger, Kevin Chappell, Brian Harman, Brandt Snedeker, Charley Hoffman

    Getty Images

    Molinari moves to No. 6 in world with Open win

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:31 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major title, Francesco Molinari reached some rarified air in the latest installment of the Official World Golf Rankings.

    The Italian's two-shot win at Carnoustie moved him up nine spots to No. 6 in the world, not surprisingly a new career high. But it's also a quick ascent for Molinari, who has now won three of his last six worldwide starts and was ranked No. 33 in the world after missing the cut at The Players Championship two months ago.

    A share of second place helped Xander Schauffele jump from No. 24 to No. 18 in the updated standings, while the same result meant Kevin Kisner went from No. 33 to No. 25. Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy both went up one spot after T-2 finishes to No. 2 and No. 7, respectively - a new career high for Rose.

    The drama in the rankings unfolded at No. 50, as Tiger Woods moved up 21 spots to exactly No. 50 following his T-6 finish. While some projections had him moving to 51st, Woods was able to sneak into the top 50 just in time to qualify for a return to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, as the top 50 in the rankings both this week and next qualify for Akron.

    That includes Zach Johnson, last year's runner-up who was not yet qualified but moved from No. 52 to No. 49 this week. It also includes Kevin Chappell, who went from 61st to 47th with a T-6 finish in Scotland.

    Despite missing the cut at Carnoustie, Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for another week followed by Rose, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Molinari is now at No. 6, with McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day rounding out the top 10.

    Getty Images

    Simpson overtakes DeChambeau in Ryder Cup race

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:09 pm

    A T-12 finish at The Open allowed Webb Simpson to move past Bryson DeChambeau into the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot in the U.S. Ryder Cup points race with just three weeks to go.

    Simpson finished the week at 3 under, five shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. Adding another strong result to his win at TPC Sawgrass and T-10 finish at the U.S. Open, he's now edged in front of DeChambeau by less than 41 points. But with players earning one point per $1,000 each of the next two weeks and 1.5 points per $1,000 at the PGA Championship, the race is far from over.

    Jordan Spieth's T-9 finish strengthened his position at No. 6, as the top six players are essentially assured of qualifying automatically. Rickie Fowler held onto his spot at No. 7, while Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner both moved onto the bubble following T-2 finishes at Carnoustie. After a T-6 finish, Tiger Woods jumped from 31st to 20th.

    Here's a look at the updated American standings, with the top eight after the PGA qualifying automatically and captain Jim Furyk adding four picks in September:

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Bubba Watson

    6. Jordan Spieth

    7. Rickie Fowler

    8. Webb Simpson

    ---

    9. Bryson DeChambeau

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Xander Schauffele

    12. Matt Kuchar

    13. Kevin Kisner

    14. Tony Finau

    15. Brian Harman

    On the European side, Molinari was already in position to qualify automatically but is now assured of a spot on Thomas Bjorn's roster this fall. Fellow major champs Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy also solidified their footing with runner-up performances.

    Here's a look at how things look for the Europeans, with the top four from each list after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

    European Points

    1. Francesco Molinari

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tyrrell Hatton

    4. Tommy Fleetwood

    ---

    Thorbjorn Olesen

    Russell Knox

    Eddie Pepperell

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Alex Noren

    3. Rory McIlroy

    4. Paul Casey

    ---

    Matthew Fitzpatrick

    Sergio Garcia

    Ian Poulter