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Who Needs Vijay for Dominance, Anyway?

Nov. 8, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Annika Sorenstam continues her LPGA dominance with another nine-stroke victory at this weekend's Mizuno Classic.

Annika Sorenstam RelaxingWith all the talk about Vijay Singh's historic season and his quest to win his tenth tour victory of 2004, we seem to have forgotten about the other dominant player in golfdom:

Annika Sorenstam.

At the Mizuno Classic this weekend, Annika picked up her seventh LPGA win of the year, and her fourth consecutive Mizuno Classic title. The win was also her 55th career win, which ties her for fifth on the all-time LPGA victories list, and puts the icing on her seventh Player of the Year award.

Beyond the pure victories, though, Annika is dominating the event as well; this year's nine stroke victory marks her second consecutive nine stroke win at the Mizuno Classic. As if that weren't enough, there's the style in which she wins: twenty-two under par. Her final-round 65 was partnered with a seemingly mediocre 66 and an amazing first-round 63, giving her a four-stroke lead after the first round from which she never looked back.

Lastly, her 22-under par was just two strokes shy of the tour-record for a 54-hole event - two guesses who set that record in 2003.

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I Take It All Back…

Nov. 7, 2004     By     Comments (4)

It'd be so much easier to appreciate his season as a historic achievement if he weren't such a prick.

Vijay Singh actually showing some emotionAll those nice things I wrote about Vijay Singh not more than three days ago? I take them all back.

After posting a less-than-stellar score of two-over par through Saturday at the Tour Championship, Vijay Singh had this to say when asked about his performance:

"You've got to be in contention to be 100 percent into it," he said, pausing outside the historic clubhouse. "I'm just not too into it."

Last I checked, the people who keep Vijay's "salary" paid - the sponsors and the fans who attend these events he's so lucky to play - spend so much money on tickets to see their favorite players put 100 percent of their game on the line every round.

Since when do you have to be in contention to put in 100 percent?

"It just didn't happen for me," he said. "I couldn't get any momentum. Anytime I tried to get something going, I went backward."

Poor baby. Most of the time, when something doesn't go right for me the first time, I just give up too, Vijay. I think that's exactly the attitude I want my kids emulating, too.

Final Round 64 Vaults Goosen over Tiger

Nov. 7, 2004     By     Comments (3)

South Africa's Retief Goosen shoots a final round 64 to vault over a stumbling Tiger Woods to win the 2004 Tour Championship at storied East Lake Golf Club.

Retief Goosen Victorious at East LakeIt wasn't exactly the script the sports world was looking for - Retief Goosen squashing the hopes of an end to Tiger's "slump" - but it sure was in keeping with the rest of the year.

After a second and third round storm by Tiger Woods - fresh off his honeymoon with Swedish hottie and new wife Elin - Woods shot a final round 72 to finish four strokes behind South Africa's Retief Goosen. Goosen's final round 64 was partnered with his opening round 70, second round 66 and third round 69 to leave him at eleven-under for the tournament.

Jay Haas, who started the day tied with Woods for the lead, finished with a final round 75 and four-under for the tournament, tied for seventh place with Scott Verplank. Last year's champion, Chad Campbell, joined Davis Love III on the sidelines after he withdrew from the tournament after posting back-to-back 73's.

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67 Million to 1 Odds

Nov. 7, 2004     By     Comments (0)

A 22-handicapper hits two holes-in-one during the same round.

Do you think a hole-in-one would make a bad round great? How about two? At the Liberty Lake Golf Course in Spokane, WA, Chris Varallo hit a 7-iron on the 143 yard third hole and one-hopped it into the hole for the first hole in one. Eight holes later, took 8-iron 140 yards to again one-hop it for the second hole-in-one of the round.

"The first one was pretty amazing," said Varallo, 31. "But after the second, everyone was in utter disbelief. Other people on the course heard the screaming and were coming over to see what had happened."

"He did fall apart a little more than usual after that second one," said Dave Knutson, a member of his foursome who works with Varallo. "But he's a hack. Even leading up to it, his scorecard read something like 8-7-1-6-7-9 ... I mean, I don't know how it could have happened. Both of them were good-looking shots. In fact, they were almost identical -- same trajectory with a little fade. And both of them were one hop and plunk!"

Varallo, an attorney with a 22 handicap, finished his round at 31 strokes over par for a 101.

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Between Clubs? Land it on the Green.

Nov. 7, 2004     By     Comments (0)

When you're faced with an in-between shot, choose the club that lands the ball on the green.

When you're between your 7I and your 8I, what kind of shot do you play? A soft 7? Punch an 8? Here's some practical advice: take the club that will land the ball on the green. If the pin is in the back, take the 8I. If the pin is in the front, take the 7I. Your "normal shot" will be on the green, leaving you with a putt at a birdie.

Woods, Haas Still Tops at East Lake

Nov. 6, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Jay Haas and Tiger Woods both stand at nine-under par, sharing a four-stroke lead going into the final round of the Tour Championship at storied East Lake Golf Club.

Jay Haas at the Tour ChampionshipGoing into the final round, you have to ask yourself two questions: is Jay Haas really this good, and can Tiger finally convert a win?

There's a reason Haas was on the abysmally-bad US Ryder Cup team: he's a good golfer who has excellent course management skills. At East Lake this week, with the winds swirling and the fairways tight, precise shots and a steady, confident stroke have given Haas a share of the lead at nine-under par.

The other way to win at East Lake is to be long, where Tiger continues to lead the Tour. Tiger stormed ahead today and shot five-under par to give him an equal share of Jay Haas's lead. However, where Haas has shot 67-66-68, Tiger has followed a first-round 72 (E) with rounds of 64 and 65. Obviously if this trend continues, Jay Haas will be three or four strokes back by the end of Sunday.

Still, don't count Jay Haas out just yet. With two second-place finishes on the Champions' Tour and a third-place finish at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, Jay's due for a win before the close of the year.

Oh, and Vijay? Unless he shoots somewhere below 60, he's lost his chance to convert his tenth win of the season. Singh sits eleven shots off the lead, at two-over par.

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Putt on a Line

Nov. 6, 2004     By     Comments (1)

Most putting teachers, including Dave Pelz, recommend a "straight back, straight through" putting stroke. This tip helps you craft a simple line.

Most putting teachers, including Dave Pelz, recommend a "straight back, straight through" putting stroke. Grooving one is easier said than done: there's no actual line against which you can judge your stroke!

Find yourself some twine or string and a pair of chopsticks. Break the chopsticks in two (so you have two little wooden stakes) and tie the string around the fat portion of each. Find a straight putt and push one stake into the ground behind the hole. Put the other on the straight line about six feet from the hole, keeping the string taut.

The rest is simple: place your ball under the string and both the line on which you want to hit the putt and a line that helps you judge "straight back, straight through" is there for you.

Tiger Battles, Haas Leads Tour Championship

Nov. 5, 2004     By     Comments (0)

After a forgettable first round, Tiger Woods roared back to life Friday with a bogey-free 64 at the Tour Championship, matching his best round of the year.

Tiger Tour ChampionshipTiger woods came roaring back today and Jay Haas not only held onto but extended his first-round lead in the PGA Tour's season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta, GA.

A month shy of his 51st, Jay Haas followed up his first-round 3-under 67 with an even better 4-under 66 to take a two-shot lead over Stephen Ames. Haas is the oldest man to ever qualify for the Tour Championship. "Any time I lead is a great feeling at 20, 30, 40, 50, whatever it is," said Haas. "It's way too early to get too excited about it. But I haven't done it with smoke and mirrors. I've played solid golf, and that gives me encouragement for the weekend."

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Play Catch

Nov. 5, 2004     By     Comments (0)

Practicing distance control doesn't have to be boring: turn it into a fun game of "pitch" and catch.

Practicing distance control doesn't have to be boring: turn it into a fun game of "pitch" and catch. Get your husband, your son, your wife, daughter, friend, nephew, aunt, or buddy to put on a glove and stand some distance from you. Hit ten shots, allowing your friend to move between shots. Count the number of times your friend can make a catch without moving more than one step in any direction.

Then switch and let your partner try to beat your score. Use any club in the bag and play a range of distances from 20 yards to 100 yards. You will want to win, and so you'll quickly locate the distance with which your partner has the most difficulty, encouraging him to practice his weak spots (and he yours).

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