Day 10 Annikas WD Means Change

By Mercer BaggsDecember 14, 2007, 5:00 pm
Editor's note; In the holiday spirit, the GolfChannel.com Team is counting down the 12 Days of Golf, the most memorable days of the 2007 season. This is Day 10. Watch Golf Central Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. ET for their Year-End Special!
 
Day 10It was another first for Annika Sorenstam, something, among very few things, which she had not yet done on the LPGA Tour.
 
The date was April 12, 2007, just another Thursday opening round in the world of professional golf. Except this day Annika didnt play.
 
For the first time in her Hall of Fame career, Annika Sorenstam was forced to withdraw from an LPGA event.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam went winless on tour for the first time since 1994. (Getty Images)
'I've been playing with quite a bit of pain for the past several weeks,' Sorenstam said that day in a statement. 'I couldn't take it much more and decided it was time to see someone.'
 
The pain was a result of a ruptured disk and a bulging disk in her back. The result of the pain was a six-week hiatus from the tour ' and complete upheaval in the world of womens golf.
 
Withdrawals happen all the time. Players get injured, players make excuses for not wanting to play, players pull out mid-round so that they dont shoot 88 and get kicked off tour.
 
But this was different. This was Annika. And it wasnt just because it was her first-ever WD; it was because of everything that happened thereafter.
 
Prior to her being sidelined, Annika had competed in just three tournaments on the season. Everything seemed normal when she made it into a playoff in her first start ' until she lost to someone who had 60 fewer starts on tour than she had wins.
 
Sorenstam finished eighth in her next event and 31st in her third, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Then came the Ginn Open at Reunion, where Annika was scheduled to open her own Academy just days later.
 
The Academy debut went on as scheduled; her next tee time was postponed indefinitely.
 
Indefinitely was ultimate redefined as May 31, when the tour was to contest the inaugural Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika. Sorenstam played host, and Sorenstam played competitor.
 
But between April 12 and May 31, there had been a seismic shift in the world order.
 
For the first time since the tour developed a world ranking points system, Sorenstam was not No. 1. It only took a little over a week for her to lose what she fought so many years to gain.
 
In Annikas absence, Lorena Ochoa quickly ascended to the throne. And no one has since been able to remove her. Sorenstam concluded the season in second place; though, nearly double the ranking points behind player of the year Ochoa.
 
For the year, Annika played 13 times on the LPGA Tour. She had six top-10s, but no victories. It was the first time since her rookie year of 1994 that she was shut-out in the trophy department.
 
More than anything, the biggest difference between now and a year ago at this point is perception. Annika is no longer the unquestioned No. 1 player in womens golf. In fact, shes not currently a part of the debate.
 
Would the events of 2007 have transpired as they did had Sorenstam been healthy? Will a fully fit Annika be able to usurp the lady who upended her?
 
The answer to the first question is moot; the answer to the second one highly debatable. To her credit, Annika seems as determined as ever to make the latter happen.
 
Ill be back, she said tersely after being knocked out of the ADT Championship, the season finale, to assure her winless campaign.
 
The only thing for certain is that there is a New World Order in womens golf, and Ochoa is in command. Perhaps it was a long time coming; after all, Sorenstam couldnt dominate forever ' particularly not with her admitted waning desire to compete.
 
But at least, if healthy, she could have gone down with a fight. Instead she was forced to concede her throne.
 
It was April 23, 2007 that Lorena Ochoa officially became the No. 1 player in the world. But it was nine days prior that really signaled change in womens golf.
 
Related Links:
  • Annika Withdraws from Ginn with Back Injury
  • Golf Central Special: Annika's disappointing season
  • 12 Days of Golf Countdown
  • Getty Images

    Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:32 pm

    SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

    He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the early 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

    ''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

    Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

    Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots out of the lead among those who played Friday morning. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.

    Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, might have a long stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.


    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and was outside the cut. He was in jeopardy of missing his second straight cut, depending on afternoon scoring.

    Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

    The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

    Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

    ''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

    The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

    ''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

    Getty Images

    Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

    Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

    ''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

    On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

    ''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

    Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

    ''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''


    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf


    Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

    ''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

    Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

    First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.

    Getty Images

    Football coach hates golf: Don't need practice swearing

    By Jason CrookApril 20, 2018, 10:15 pm

    Some football coaches are a little more talkative than others. On one side of the spectrum, there's Bill Belichick. On the other sits Washington State football coach Mike Leach.

    Leach always delivers the goods, and when asked recently if he liked golf, he didn't hold back:

    As wrong as the 57-year-old is on the topic (golf is awesome), the man makes some hilarious points:

    • “It’s boring. I don’t care where that ball goes.”

    • "Golfers are always practicing their swing. But you know what I never did? I never practice fishing in my living room.”

    • "They'll line up over the ball and they'll say they're going to do something that you can't do with a sniper rifle and a scope, but they're going to do it with a stick and a ball."

    • “Golf’s pretty much for people that don’t swear effectively enough or need practice. And so there are people that need golf, and I don’t think I do.”

    So in conclusion, it's confirmed: Mike Leach - not a golf guy.

    Getty Images

    Quiros takes 1-shot lead in Morocco

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 8:22 pm

    RABAT, Morocco - Alvaro Quiros shot a solid 2-under 70 in windy conditions to push into a one-shot lead after two rounds of the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco on Friday.

    Quiros fought the elements, carding seven birdies and five bogeys to move to 7 under overall and take the outright lead at the halfway point of the European Tour event.

    The Spaniard was one clear of Andrew Dodt, who moved into contention with a 4-under 68 at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course. Dodt dropped two shots in his first six holes but the Australian recovered from that shaky start to collect four birdies and an eagle.


    Full-field scores from the Trophee Hassan II


    Erik van Rooyen of South Africa was another shot back in third on 5 under after his 71.

    Bradley Dredge of Wales, who shared the first-round lead with Quiros, slipped off the pace with a 1-over 73. He's tied for fourth with Austin Connelly of Canada (71), 4 under par and three shots behind Quiros.