• SherriSteinhauer led wire to wire and shot a 17-under 271 to win the LPGA State FarmClassic, but that doesn't mean there wasn't any drama. Steinhauer was pursuedfor most of the week by Annika Sorenstam, the former world No. 1 who won atleast two events every year from 1995 through 2006. But Sorenstam is winlessthus far in '07 and has fallen to No.¬†3 as Lorena Ochoa, who sat out lastweek after winning three events in a row, has taken over the role of dominantchampion. If Sorenstam could've caught Steinhauer, it would have added somejuice to the end of the season and set up a great showdown with Ochoa when sheand Sorenstam next face off (most likely at the Long Drugs Challenge, Oct.4-7). Still, Sorenstam's tie for third was her third top¬†six of the yearand a sign that she may be regaining her form. For the week her drivingdistance, greens and fairways hit, and putting stats were well above her seasonaverage. Even if Annika doesn't get an '07 victory, she's had a great year offthe course--opening a golf academy, rolling out a line of clothing and lastweek announcing her engagement to Mike McGee.
• Scott Verplankstood 15th in the FedEx Cup standings when he pulled out of the Deutsche BankChampionship, almost certainly forfeiting any chance he had to win the cup, buthis withdrawal was understandable. Verplank, who is 43 and has battled injuriesmost of his career, said he didn't think his body could stand up to fourstraight weeks of competition. But there may have been other forces at play.Last Saturday the Oklahoma State alum attended the Cowboys' opener at Georgia,where he told The Augusta Chronicle, "I felt comfortable in the standingsto take the week off." Comfortable enough for what? The Tour estimates thatanyone outside the top 15 has only a remote chance of winning the FedEx Cup,and in all its computer models no one ranked lower than 13th at the start tookthe grand prize. Verplank couldn't have felt comfortable about his chances towin it all. More likely he felt sure he'd still qualify for the no-cut TourChampionship in Atlanta (Sept. 13-16), where 30 players will split $7 million.Maybe if he weren't guaranteed so much cash, Verplank would find the PGA Tourmore interesting than the SEC.
• BernhardLanger's Champions tour debut worked out O.K., as he tied for 10th(69-70-71-210) at the Wal-Mart First Tee Open. But Langer might have to rethinkhis approach. Before the event he said he was looking forward to having fun andnot being outdriven by 40¬†yards. During the opening round two players shot65s, which sounds pretty serious, and for the week Langer finished 31st indriving distance, averaging almost 15 yards less than the longest hitters.
• The USGA and theR&A approved an amendment to the Rules of Golf that allows for increasedadjustability of clubs, although they continue to forbid any changes during around.
September 9, 2007
Champions tour wins by Gil Morgan, third most of alltime.
"Criticism is always part of the process."--MYSHOT, PAGE 16
For Alan Shipnuck's Hot List, go to GOLF.com.