Big Play Annika Sorenstam's opening drive at the Colonial began two days of solid ball striking, but a shoddy short game left her above the cut line

June 01, 2003

Annika Sorenstam showed a ton of heart at the Colonial, and
flashes of brilliance in her long game. Over the first two rounds
only two of the 110 men in the field hit more than her 24
fairways (out of 28). None of these lasers were more impressive
than her opening drive, after which she pretended to swoon
(above). Sorenstam was also sharp with her irons, especially
during the first round, in which she hit 14 greens and was on the
fringes of the four she missed. However, Sorenstam's chipping was
shaky and her putting even worse, which is why she missed the cut
by four strokes. Sorenstam's line and pace on her approach putts
were way off, leaving a plethora of long comebackers. The result:
64 jabs for the first 36 holes, a number exceeded by only three
players. Sorenstam needs to improve her putting under intense
pressure. Her fundamentals are sound, but in big events she has a
tendency to lose her feel. She should play for money in practice
rounds or work on her putting in front of crowds to add an
element of pressure. She must also develop a more varied and
imaginative wedge game around the greens. If Sorenstam upgrades
her chipping and putting and is given a couple more Tour events
to adjust to the pressure, I think she would surely make a cut
and possibly even contend. The rest of her game is that good.

FOUR COLOR PHOTOS: COURTESY OF USA NETWORKS COLOR PHOTO: ANDREW GOMBERT (5) Charlie King, the director of instruction at the Academy of Golf at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher. TWO COLOR PHOTOMONTAGES: ANDREW GOMBERT (5); JIM GUND (BACKGROUND) WRONG
TWO COLOR PHOTOMONTAGES: ANDREW GOMBERT (5); JIM GUND (BACKGROUND) RIGHT

THE TIP

ANNIKA SORENSTAM'S chin rotation toward the target before her
club hits the ball proves that, despite what most beginners are
told, you don't have to keep your head down. Sorenstam's unique
motion, combined with her impeccable rhythm, is the key to her
consistency. She learned the move from a drill that her teacher,
Henry Reis, showed her in the early 1990s when she was finishing
with her weight stuck on her back foot, a common problem among
amateurs (WRONG). You can incorporate Sorenstam's move into your
action with the help of Reis's drill, but instead of using a
ball, I suggest you draw a line in the grass as a target. Simply
begin rotating your head just before the club touches this line
on the downswing (RIGHT).

OUR TOP TEACHER SAYS...

"Kenny Perry is still winning and improving at age 42 because
he has never let anyone change his unorthodox but highly
effective swing. As well as any player in the game, Perry
understands the adage, The goal isn't to look like a good player,
the goal is to play like one."

"There's been a lot of talk lately about men being better
putters than women, and the stats prove it. The PGA Tour's top
putter, Chris Riley, averages 27.49 putts a round, while the top
LPGA player, Rosie Jones, averages 27.81. Also, on tougher greens
107 men average fewer than 29 putts a round, while only eight
LPGA players do."

"Swing analysis by TV announcers, like the Babe Zaharias-Annika
Sorenstam comparison by CBS's Peter Kostis last week, is so
misleading that viewers should pay no attention."

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)