Perfect Start to Annikas Season

By Mercer BaggsMarch 12, 2006, 5:00 pm
I received my Media Gate Pass, which gets me on the grounds and initial parking at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge, thus allowing me to collect my full set of credentials for the upcoming Invitational tournament.
 
Since tournament officials mailed out the pass, I can only assume that they are going ahead as scheduled with this weeks event.
 
I guess they have to dole out $4.6 million to the 70-odd players who make the cut, and then let them bat it around to see who gets what.
 
The actual purse for the Bay Hill Invitational is $5.5 million. But we already know who is taking 900-grand off the top.
 
At least thats the way it seems if you listen to all the little voices in and around the world of golf.
 
Apparently, Tiger Woods will never lose another golf tournament. People are wondering if he can be stopped. People are declaring 2006 a revival of a season six years prior. People are not only ready to hand him the green jacket, but give him sole possession of all four major trophies.
 
People are going a bit overboard. Just a bit.
 
I consider myself a Tiger fan. Not the kind of person who paints orange and black stripes on his face and roots for him over everyone else, but the kind of person who has great admiration for the way he performs on the course and the way he handles himself off of it.
 
Still, I dont think that Tiger is invincible. At least not just yet. There are still a few crooked parts in his game that he needs to straighten out. And when he does ' and I believe whole heartedly that he will ' then Ill drink the Tiger Woods Kool-Aid.
 
Woods has played five times this year and has won on three occasions. I wasnt a math major, but I think that means that he has lost twice this season. And he will lose again.
 
As for Annika Sorenstam, Im not so certain.
 
I realize that there is no way Annika can go 20-for-20 this year. But every time I watch her play, I just cant see any possible way that she can lose.
 
Shes longer and straighter than just about every other woman and girl. Shes definitely tougher mentally than the rest of them. And if she has just an average week on the greens, shes damn-near unbeatable.
 
She just won her 67th career LPGA Tour event this past week in Mexico. And, for the fourth time in her last six victories, she did so by making bogey or worse on her final hole. That just shows that shes so good that she rarely needs late heroics to win.
 
She reminds me of Tiger Woods 2000, in that every time she competes I believe that she will win. Only this feeling is nothing new; it has been lingering for years.
 
When I was at last years Corning Classic, Sorenstam stood on the far left side of the range ' actually in the rough on the adjacent ninth hole because the practice area was so small.
 
But watching her hit alongside her peers was an eye-opening experience. The ball just made a different sound coming off the face of her driver; it traveled in an almost majestic trajectory.
 
It looked like ' and I mean this as a true compliment ' that she was a man hitting next to a bunch of girls.
 
Its almost a shame that shes not a man; then Woods would have a true rival. Or perhaps I should wish Woods to be a woman.
 
Or perhaps I should stop thinking of either scenario, because it's just too weird and I can't afford therapy.
 
But imagine if Woods and Sorenstam ' in slacks or skirts ' competed against one another, year-in and year-out, on a level playing field ' at least in terms of length.
 
It would be among the greatest rivalries in any sport of any era.
 
Of course, that will never happen. Not unless we see one hell of an episode of 'Extreme Makeover.'
 
Instead, we have to settle for Woods beating up on his PGA TOUR brethren on a fairly regular basis, and Sorenstam doing the same to the gals on the LPGA ' but on an even more frequent basis.
 
While Woods returns to action at Bay Hill following a bye week, Sorenstam will try and continue her bullying tactics at the Safeway International, a tournament that she has won three times, including two straight. She will then compete in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, a tournament that she has also won three times, including last year. After that, its likely the Atlanta Charity Championship, a tournament shes twice won, including last year.
 
She may very well win all three of those tournaments yet again.
 
But it's not like she's going to go undefeated this season. Right?
 
Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
 
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”