No 3 Remarkable Just Routine

By Mercer BaggsDecember 29, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Stories of the Year - #3Editor's note: is counting down the top 10 stories from the 2005 golf season. This is Story No. 3.
Somewhere out there Annika Sorenstam is reflecting on her accomplishments of this past season. Or perhaps shes already done that. Maybe shes already outlining her goals for 2006.
Regardless, she will have a difficult time matching her most recent results, which is just fine with her ' she needs the motivation.
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam has won 43 LPGA Tour events over the last five seasons.
You see, achievement is like a drug to Sorenstam. She craves it, she needs it. But shes experienced it so many times now that shes almost built up immunity to it.
She needs more and more, if just to feel the same level of satisfaction shes felt over the last few years. In crude terms, shes an achievement junkie.
For me, its really self-satisfaction, Sorenstam said at this years ADT Championship. Its the contentment I get out it.
Its not enough for her to win the most tournaments each year, or to win a major championship, or the money title, or player of the year honors.
Shes done all of that for five years running now. She needs new experiences, new achievements, new goals ' something to keep her going, something to keep her working as hard as or even harder than she has.
If I just went out there and wasnt specific on my goals, or if I wasnt pushing myself higher, I think it would be tough for me to go out there and practice, she said.
This aint easy. If shes going to keep pushing herself ' her mind and her body, at the age of 35, with all that shes already accomplished, there must be more to be had.
Like winning the single season Grand Slam. Or Kathy Whitworths career wins record.
Sorenstam began this year with the goal of accomplishing the former, and, in the process, working her way closer to the latter.
Her season began promisingly with a victory in her first start, and then another in her second, and yet another in her third. That third triumph was actually her fifth in a row, dating back to last season, which tied her with Nancy Lopez for the most consecutive tournaments won in tour history.
It also came at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Sorenstam won the seasons first major by eight strokes. The Grand Slam was no longer hypothetical; it was possible.
After two more wins in four more starts, Sorenstam entered the McDonalds LPGA Championship as the two-time defending champion. She left as the first player since Patty Berg (1937-39 Titleholders Championship) to win the same major three straight years.
The Grand Slam was no longer possible; it was probable.
Sorenstam was the overwhelming favorite to win the U.S. Womens Open at Cherry Hills. But three closing bogeys in the second round put her out of contention early. She finished at 12 over, in a tie for 23rd place.
There may have been a post-Grand Slam hangover, because she won only once in her next six starts. But, just as she did a year ago, she won three of her final four events, defending her titles in the Samsung World Championship, Mizuno Classic and ADT Championship.
The final numbers: 10 LPGA Tour wins (in 20 starts); two majors; $2,588,240; one money title; one scoring title; one player of the year trophy.
Annika Sorenstam
Sorenstam is only 22 wins behind Kathy Whitworth on the all-time list.
Its not my best year, but its probably top 4 for sure. I dont know; Im so spoiled in years, Sorenstam said.
Yes, I won a lot of tournaments. But I just feels like its been a good year from everything that Ive gone through the last year. Its not just about the victories.
Things have been wonderful, almost too good inside the ropes for Sorenstam over the past few years. Off the course, however, theres been turmoil.
Her marriage was on the rocks most of last season, and she filed for divorce in February.
Last year was a big blur, she said about a season in which she won eight times. I really dont know how I survived a lot of it and how I was able to focus once I was inside the ropes. This year, I had a little more energy.
Golf has been my savior, theres no doubt about it. Its great to have something that you enjoy to fall back on. Ive spent my time thinking about golf. Ive added a few tournaments. Its been very helpful.
As Sorenstam sat and made these statements on the eve of the season finale, it was hard to believe that three years ago, at the same tournament, she was contemplating retirement, talking about her outside interests and the possibility of becoming a mother.
But no longer.
A few years ago, things were looking a little different and I had some different plans and some different goals, she said. Then it took a little bit of a spin and I had to adjust, and here I am a few years later ' a different outlook on life and some different goals at the moment, and right now Im focusing my life on golf. Thats what I have.
Three years ago, Sorenstam was also talking about one day winning 50 tournaments. She now has 66. And now Whitworths all-time record of 88 is within reach.
If you think of the last few years, then its realistic, she said. I dont know if I can keep up the high level of golf. I need to do this for another three, four or five years. I dont know if I could do that. One of the reasons is obviously to push the body so hard. Another reason is, do I want to continue on this pace, that level, week after week?
But continue she will, because, as she stated, golf is her life at the moment.
Next season will likely be much like this one. She will try to win as many events as possible. She will try and win all four major championships. She will try and win everything there is to win.
And she will keep challenging herself and pushing herself and seeing just how great she can be. Because that is who Annika Sorenstam is.
Its not like I have to do this, she said. This is something that I put on myself, and I enjoy the challenge and like to see if I can have a final destination. I like to see if I can do the journey, you know what I mean?
Related Links:
  • The Year in Review
  • Annika Sorenstam's Bio
  • Kraft Nabisco Championship Coverage
  • McDonald's LPGA Championship Coverage
  • U.S. Women's Open Coverage
  • 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.

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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.

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    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.