The LPGA tourstumbled out of the gate this year with controversies over press credentialsand the highly criticized Rolex World Rankings, but on Sunday undisputed No. 1Annika Sorenstam showed her sisters how to get off to a good start, playing herfirst 27 holes without a bogey on the way to winning the MasterCard Classic inMexico City with an eight-under 208. It's the fourth time in the last fiveyears that Sorenstam has begun her season with a win and the 10th time in her13 years on tour that she has debuted with a top 10 finish. With Sorenstam backin the winner's circle and the credentials problem resolved, things arereturning to normal in women's golf. Now if only someone could get Michelle Wieout of the top 10 in the rankings.... This is supposed to be the year of thehot rookie on the LPGA tour, but someone forgot to tell unsung rookie Seon-HwaLee, 20, that she wasn't one of the names with sizzle. A seven-under 209 putLee into a tie for second at the MasterCard, which goes with a 13th and asecond in her first two starts this season, good for a total of $210,050 andfirst place on the money list.
When baseball hall of famer Kirby Puckett suffered a stroke on March 6 he washours away from traveling to Valencia, Calif., to play in the AT&T Classicpro-am. Puckett had been recruited to the event by former Los Angeles Dodgersgeneral manager Kevin Malone and was scheduled to play with Cal Ripken, OzzieSmith and Dave Winfield. Puckett's death the following day came as a shock toall. "He was so excited to come," Malone said later that night,"and everybody was excited about Kirby's being here because he [was] verygregarious. He lit up a room."
• Kenny Perry wasto have surgery to treat recurring pain in his right knee on Monday. Theprocedure will keep Perry from defending his Bay Hill title and will force himto miss the Players Championship and the Masters. • Ernie Els played a practiceround at Augusta two weeks ago. How did he fare at the newly stretched,505-yard par-4 11th, which players have been moaning about? The Big Easy playedhis second shot with an eight-iron.
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Survey Says ...
Long putters are a major topic of conversation in progolf, but only a small number of players actually use them. Last week just fiveplayers (including Carl Pettersson, above) at the Honda Classic and anotherfive at the Champions tour's AT&T Classic went with the elongatedshaft.
The Darrell Survey has tracked equipment usage at golftournaments since 1938.
The Champions tour backs down and lets the senior pros ride
AGE + ANGER - LEGENDS * WHINING = END OF CART BAN
"I got hit with a $1,000 fine for a colorfulverbalization." --PEPPER MILL, PAGE G12