Annika Sorenstam - October 27, 2011

By Morning Drive TeamOctober 27, 2011, 12:09 pm

Annika has been awarded the 2012 Bob Jones Award by the USGA. She was very familiar with the award and has great admiration for all of the past winners. She found out when she was in Sweden just prior to the Solheim Cup and she had to keep it a secret for several weeks. It is a wonderful thing that the USGA has bestowed this honor on a number of significant women including Lorena Ochoa last year.

When you play in your home country and especially your home course in a tournament it is very exciting and you definitely want to show your friends and the audience that you can perform under pressure. It is a big deal when you can win an event on your home course. The fact that Yani Tseng was able to do that last week in Taiwan is very significant for Yani as well as the entire nation of Taiwan.

She is not surprised by Jack Nicklaus’ comments about course construction projects being shut down in China because she has been over there herself and knows what is happening. The reason, she feels, has to do with protecting the farmland for the rest of the people in China. It is her understanding that the Chinese government does not want to exploit the land at the expense of the citizens however it is not an environmental issue. Doing business in China is very difficult and it takes a long time just to start a project there. It is even more difficult when the government can cancel a project two weeks before completion as they have with Jack Nicklaus’ project.

Reacting to the news of the split between Rory McIlroy and ISM, she said that the timing of the split is very interesting but she has no idea what is going on behind the scenes. The relationship with an agent can be very similar to that of a caddie as many people do not know a lot of details about that relationship and there can be plenty of changes. She has been with IMG for the last 16 years and your goals and needs evolve over time. At this point in her life, her needs involve her foundation, course design, teaching facility, and other long-term projects outside of playing golf. IMG is able to support those needs and that is a big reason why she is still with them. Darius Rucker is performing as part of Annika and Friends in Sandestin in May 2012 and she is very excited about that event which will raise money for her foundation. She made sure to include Erik and Gary among her “friends.”

On the delay of the PGA TOUR Player of the Year voting until after the WGC-HSBC Champions, she said that if she were in Luke Donald’s shoes she would feel as though the process were sketchy as well. She would be an advocate of making the PGA TOUR Player of the Year based on a points system as that is the system on the LPGA Tour. It would be about accomplishment and not politics in that case. Everyone will know how much wins are worth and the results will be straight forward. There can still be a conversation over who the Player of the Year is with a points system but with such a system in place, players will be able to make their case with their golf clubs and not with lobbying.

Commenting on the USGA/R&A ruling that you are no longer penalized for having the wind move your ball, she is in complete support of the change as it makes everything more fair and she does not believe that someone should be penalized because of circumstances outside one’s control. If she could change a rule, she would advocate changing the rule where one has to play out of a divot in the fairway.

She said that there is a big announcement later Thursday relating to the future of the Reunion Resort in Orlando, Florida where her academy is located. Her favorite Halloween costume growing up was Bjorn Borg as she was a huge fan of tennis growing up and she would wear the headband, wristbands, and short white shorts just like Borg wore on the  tennis court.

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Wise: 'No hard feelings' over Nelson missed kiss

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 10:18 pm

Aaron Wise left the AT&T Byron Nelson with his first PGA Tour trophy and a seven-figure paycheck. But lost in the shuffle of closing out his breakthrough victory in near-darkness was his failed attempt for a celebratory kiss with his girlfriend on the 18th green.

Wise appeared to go in for a peck after his family joined him on the putting surface, but instead he and his girlfriend simply laughed and hugged. After the moment gained a bit of online notoriety, Wise told reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the young couple simply laughed it off.

"Yeah, I have been giving her some s--- about that," Wise said. "A lot has been made about it. It's really nothing. Like I was saying, she was just so excited to surprise me. I was kind of ruining the surprise a little bit that she was shocked, and she didn't even see me going in for the kiss."

At age 21, Wise is now one of the youngest winners on Tour. He explained that while both his girlfriend and mother flew in to watch the final round at Trinity Forest Golf Club, where he shared the 54-hole lead and eventually won by three shots, he took some of the surprise out of their arrival in true millennial fashion - by looking up his girlfriend's location earlier in the day.

Still getting used to his newfound status on Tour, Wise downplayed any controversy surrounding the kiss that wasn't.

"No hard feelings at all," Wise said. "We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was."

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Giving back: Chun creates education fund at site of Open win

By Randall MellMay 23, 2018, 8:04 pm

South Korea’s In Gee Chun is investing in American youth.

Chun broke through on the largest stage in women’s golf, winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago, and she’s making sure Lancaster, Pa., continues to share in what that brought her.

Chun is preparing for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek outside Birmingham, Ala., but she made a special stop this week. She returned to the site of her breakthrough in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Wednesday, launching the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Education Fund. She announced Tuesday that she’s donating $10,000 to seed the fund. She’s expected to raise more than $20,000 for the cause in a fundraising dinner at the club Wednesday evening. The fund will annually award scholarships to Lancaster youth applicants, including Lancaster Country Club caddies and children of club employees.

“I’m excited to be back here,” said Chun, who put on a junior clinic during her stay and also played an outing with club members. “Winning the U.S. Women’s Open here in Lancaster gave me the opportunity to play on the LPGA and make one of my dreams come true.”

Chun also supports a fund in her name at Korea University, where she graduated, a fund for various “social responsibility” projects and for the educational needs of the youth who create them.

“Education is very important to me,” Chun said. “I would like to help others reach their goals.”

Chun made donations to the Lancaster General Health Foundation in 2015 and ’16 and to Pennsylvania’s J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust last year. Lancaster Country Club officials estimate she has now made donations in excess of $40,000 to the community.

“We are grateful In Gee’s made such a wonderful connection to our community and club,” said Rory Connaughton, a member of Lancaster Country Club’s board of governors. “She’s a special person.”

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Spieth admits '16 Masters 'kind of haunted me'

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 6:38 pm

Two years ago, Jordan Spieth arrived at Colonial Country Club and promptly exorcised some demons.

He was only a month removed from blowing the 2016 Masters, turning a five-shot lead with nine holes to play into a shocking runner-up finish behind Danny Willett. Still with lingering questions buzzing about his ability to close, he finished with a back-nine 30 on Sunday, including birdies on Nos. 16-18, to seal his first win since his Augusta National debacle.

Returning this week to the Fort Worth Invitational, Spieth was asked about the highs and lows he's already experienced in his five-year pro career and candidly pointed to the 2016 Masters as a "low point" that had a lingering effect.

"Even though it was still a tremendous week and still was a really good year in 2016, that kind of haunted me and all the questioning and everything," Spieth told reporters. "I let it tear me down a little bit. I kind of lost a little bit of my own freedom, thoughts on who I am as a person and as a golfer."

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Spieth went on to win the Australian Open in the fall of 2016, and last year he added three more victories including a third major title at Royal Birkdale. Given more than two years to reflect - and after nearly nabbing a second green jacket last month - he admitted that the trials and tribulations of 2016 had a lasting impact on how he perceives the daily grind on Tour.

"I guess to sum it up, I've just tried to really be selfish in the way that I think and focus on being as happy as I possibly can playing the game I love. Not getting caught up in the noise, good or bad," Spieth said. "Because what I hear from the outside, the highs are too high from the outside and the lows are too low from the outside from my real experience of them. So trying to stay pretty neutral and just look at the big picture things, and try and wake up every single day loving what I do."

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Spieth offers Owen advice ahead of debut

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 6:22 pm

As country music sensation Jake Owen gets set to make his Tour debut, Jordan Spieth had a few pieces of advice for his former pro-am partner.

Owen played as a 1-handicap alongside Spieth at this year's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and this week he is playing his own ball on a sponsor invite at the Nashville Open. Owen joked with a Tour reporter that Spieth "shined" him by not answering his text earlier in the week, but Spieth explained to reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the two have since connected.

"We texted a bit yesterday. I was just asking how things were going," Spieth said. "I kind of asked him the state of his game. He said he's been practicing a lot. He said the course is really hard. I mean, going into it with that mindset, maybe he'll kind of play more conservative."

Owen is in the field this week on the same type of unrestricted sponsor exemption that NBA superstar Steph Curry used at the's Ellie Mae Classic in August. As Owen gets set to make his debut against a field full of professionals, Spieth noted that it might be for the best that he's focused on a tournament a few hundred miles away instead of walking alongside the singer as he does each year on the Monterey Peninsula.

"Fortunately I'm not there with him, because whenever I'm his partner I'm telling him to hit driver everywhere, even though he's talented enough to play the golf course the way it needs to be played," Spieth said. "So I think he'll get some knowledge on the golf course and play it a little better than he plays Pebble Beach. He's certainly got the talent to be able to shoot a good round."