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Sorenstam Unlikely to Make the Cut

Aired May 23, 2003 - 19:00   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We begin with Annika Sorenstam. She already has made history, but now will she make the cut?
The first woman to play in a PGA tour event in 58 years and perhaps the first golfer in quite a while to draw more attention than Tiger Woods. She is fighting tonight to stay in the Colonial.

She is completing her second round as we speak. In fact, we hear she's just teed off on the 18th hole. I have to tell you, though, it does not look good for making the cut.

Let's bring in our Josie Karp, who's keeping score and watching the story from Fort Worth, Texas. Josie, hello.


You know, the one thing that Annika Sorenstam has to look forward to right now is the greeting she is going to get when she eventually makes her way up to the 18th fairway to that green.

It was so special yesterday, but it was a much different feeling here at the Colonial Country Club after around 2. There was so much giddiness after she posted that one over 71 yesterday in round one, but today a much different story and this was around after one that she said she'll always remember yesterday that she probably wants to forget.

If we can just take a look at her score through 17 complete holes. It started off very well for Annika Sorenstam. She birdied number two. And it's finishing just fine, except she's having a little bit of trouble on 18, but right in the middle she got into trouble in this round. And right now the projected cut is one over and as you can see, she's at plus 5 for the tournament right now and she's not going to make the cut. And that means she won't be around this weekend.

Yesterday we saw an Annika Sorenstam who showed a lot of emotion, and again we saw it today, but it was a little bit of a different type of emotion and today it was frustration. And a lot of people probably saw a side of Annika Sorenstam, if they didn't know her, that they hadn't seen before and it showed just how competitive she is and how competitive she can be, even when she's out there playing against the men.

She said after yesterday's round that if she were to duplicate it in round two, whether she made the cut or not, she'd be satisfied. You might be able to hear right now there are some cheers right over my left shoulder. There are a whole bunch of people and it sounds like they're welcoming Annika Sorenstam onto that 18th green. We will hear from her as soon as the round is finished, and one thing that everyone will be eager to find out is just how much of today's sub-par round was due to the emotional fatigue she has been through, the mental wringer over the past couple of days, weeks and months -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Well, it was her putting game yesterday that wasn't superb. Was there one particular technical aspect of the game that wasn't doing so well today, Josie?

KARP: It's hard to say, to be blunt. Really, her whole game at various points in time out on this golf course eluded her. Yesterday she hit all but one fairway. Today she missed fairways. She had trouble with her approach shots and missed greens and there were times when her short game, especially in the beginning, really looked like it was going to come through for her and looked like she might be able to post a low score and make this cut. But also, at times, later in the round, that short game, again, let her down -- Daryn.

KAGAN: All right. Josie Karp in Fort Worth, Texas. You mentioned that Annika Sorenstam will be having a news conference. We're going to show that to you live once it gets underway.

Meanwhile, her coach and mentor has known Annika since she was an 18-year-old on the Swedish team back in 1991. Pia Nillson is known as the matron of Swedish golf and credited with helping Sorenstam with her mental approach to the game. Nillson joining us now from Fort Worth, Texas.

Coach, thanks for being with us.


KAGAN: What exactly do you think, for as much as went right with Annika's game yesterday, what went wrong today?

NILLSON: Yes, I'm curious talk to her, but I think one or two things. I think yesterday she felt I can really play this course. It's like, I'm good enough.

And maybe one thing that was a little bit too much today, it was a little quick and it's enough that a couple of percent is a little bit quick and the timing gets a little bit off, so that. And I'm just curious enough. I know physically she's fit enough, but mentally, emotionally, if she is a little drained from everything that has happened and yesterday she did it the first day, so most of the factors, I think, came into play.

KAGAN: Now that it appears she's not going to make the cut, do you think it was a mistake for her to take on this challenge?

NILLSON: No. Absolutely not. I mean, for her the main reason for doing it was to get the challenge and to get the motivation and to test herself and develop her game and I know she's done that. And I also think just by being there and being close to making the cut and yesterday having a really good round has just shown that the top woman golfer in the world can play with the guys.

KAGAN: And what is it about her game that we saw yesterday? Is it the mental edge? Is it the physical edge? What does she have that just makes her so dominant on the woman's circuit?

NILLSON: Well, it's the whole package. The combination. Technically, physically, and mentally, emotionally, it's a building block she's been building for years. And it's the total package of it that is outstanding.

KAGAN: Would you encourage her to try something like this again?

NILLSON: I don't know. I mean, it's totally Annika's thing, it's always her decisions, but I have a feeling it might be she wanted to get this to get the inspiration, you know, and what parts of the game she wants to improve on. And if she's got that, she might be happy because she knows the legacy's going to be for what she's doing on the LPGA tour, but you never know. I mean, Annika is the one who's going to evaluate this and see where she wants to take it.

KAGAN: She might, indeed, have the bug. This might not be the last we see on Annika Sorenstam on the PGA tour.


KAGAN: We mentioned she'll have a news conference in just a bit here when he gets off the course. We're going to show it live right here on CNN. Pia Nillson, thanks for your insight. Appreciate it.

NILLSON: Thank you very much.

KAGAN: And we're going to have a lot more on this story in the 8 p.m., hour including the marketing of Annika. Will her much heralded appearance at the Colonial this week pave the way for bigger checks and endorsement deals in the future or will not making the cut mean a lack of future sponsors?


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