Fields Open is next place to see Sorenstam’s bid to be the best
Annika Sorenstam wasn't herself after the first round of last year's Kraft Nabisco Championship, you could see it in her eyes, no facial stress test needed.
Standing next to her as Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson asked probing questions about her ailing game, Sorenstam was at a loss for words to describe her opening-round 75 that left her seven shots off the pace.
Two weeks later, Sorenstam would withdraw from the Ginn Open with a ruptured disk in her back that allowed her to play in only 13 tournaments in 2007, leaving her winless on the LPGA Tour for the first time since her first full season in 1994.
Looking back, it's easy to see why Sorenstam was so concerned. Like John Denver, she never escaped the 70s en route to a tie for 30th, her lowest finish in the women's first major of the season. She has won the event three times and has nine top-10s in 13 appearances, giving you an idea why so many suspected that something was amiss.
Fast forward through a long and arduous 10 months and you have Sorenstam entering the scorer's tent with a smile a kilometer wide, the humbling experience of 2007 fading from view. During the interview process, Sorenstam shifted the heavy leis draped around her neck, taking no chances of walking down that lonesome fairway again.
But the next time you see her, don't talk about 2007. It's like asking her how she felt about that double bogey she carded on Thursday, spoiling an otherwise stellar opening round. She wouldn't have any of it, not after what she had gone through to get back to where she was and maybe beyond.
The past is in the past. You learn from it, but you don't dwell on it. You'll get a lot farther down the road if you ask about that 24-foot birdie she made at that same hole on Saturday that sealed the deal at the SBS Open for win No. 70. She's not likely to forget about that dagger for a while.
In fact, you could see her drawing on it like a power source when that certain shot or needed putt was required most. Sorenstam can think back to 17 much like Paula Creamer did after she clinched last year's SBS Open with a 40-footer for birdie at the most difficult hole on the Arnold Palmer-designed course.
Now, we get to see Sorenstam again at this week's last Fields Open at Ko Olina, where Michelle Wie's presence is sure to raise some mascara. Sorenstam has her eyes set on being this year's leading money-winner as part of her quest to catch Lorena Ochoa as the world's No. 1 golfer before she's 40.
That kind of goal right there tells you how serious Sorenstam is about being the best she can be. With Ochoa and world No. 3 Karrie Webb skipping these two events, Sorenstam's current stay at No. 4 could be short-lived. It's the kind of drama golf fans love and can be seen firsthand this weekend just a ways down the leeward coast.
Sports Editor Paul Arnett
has been covering sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1990. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org