The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is Annika Sorenstam. She gets the award for her deliberate repair of a divot she hit into during the 3rd round of the LPGA Championship last weekend. This was in violation of the rules of Golf.
I've listened to Annika's explanation on television and read the press conference where both she and Karrie Webb discussed what happened. Here is excerpts from the later.
Q. Talk about the ruling.Now here is Webb.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, it was a mistake I made. I was next to a divot and the divot was in two pieces and it was totally replaced in a really horrible way. So I moved the divot and that's against the rules. It's a mistake of mine.
Q. Did you know it was against the rules? When did you realize it was against the rules?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, Karrie told me I couldn't do it. And I said, well, it looked like somebody grabbed some turf and just stuck it anywhere. I mean it was loose, it was totally ‑‑ I didn't know. I knew it was a divot. Like I say, it was my fault, but I just, I was in ‑‑ I mean, the ball didn't move or anything, it was just totally sloppy done. And I didn't think more of it.
Q. Did you try and replace it?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: No, I was demonstrating to Karrie what it was. So I mean, but it was too late because that had nothing to do with it.
Q. How much did that affect you?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, it's a mistake I made. I mean that's just the way it is. I mean, it wasn't that ‑‑ I hit some horrible shots today. I'm not getting any breaks whatsoever and mixed with that, it makes it very, very tough.
Q. Tell us what happened on 2.I've watched the interviews on television Annika always stresses how badly repaired the divot was.
KARRIE WEBB: With Annika?
KARRIE WEBB: Well, I saw her remove part of a divot next to a filled, like a replaced divot. It was a little bit. And I wasn't going to say anything. And then I hit my lay‑up and I looked over again and she removed the rest of it. And I just know you can't do that. And I, I was either going to feel bad for calling it on her or feel bad if she won by one and whoever finished second and I didn't say something. So that's why I said something.
Q. She moved both pieces? I only saw the second. She said I think the ball was to the right?
KARRIE WEBB: I think the second piece was up against the ball, from what she said to Angus.
The thing is, I'm not buying her explanations. First because, Annika didn't call it on herself Karrie Webb did. Too Annika should have known better. We're not talking some obscure golf rule, but one every LPGA player runs into during the course of a season. Third, I'm just smelling arrogance. The ball was in a divot, that's called rub of the green. Annika's emphasis on the divot rather than her mistake. She doesn't seem to admit it was just wrong what she did out there.
I believe Annika made a wanton decision to make the repair. It was no accident it happened. She didn't think the rules apply to her.
This isn't Annika's only recent rules dustup. There was one at the ADT Championship last November.
Associated PressSo we're talking not a one time occurence of questionable judgment. LPGA players expect their colleagues to follow the rules, and I think most don't pay particular attention to their playing partners concentrating on their games instead. That and some may not say anything because of who Annika is.
11/17/2005 9:01:02 PM
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Paula Creamer wasn't about to give Annika Sorenstam an inch.
The season-ending ADT Championship got off to a rocky start Thursday when the top two players on the LPGA Tour got into a tense dispute on the 18th fairway over where Sorenstam should have taken a drop from the hazard.
"Neither one of them was going to budge," rules official Janet Lindsay said.
After a debate that lasted so long it was almost too dark to finish at Trump International, the ruling ultimately went Sorenstam's way. She was allowed to go to a ball drop instead of returning to the tee, although she still made double bogey and fell out of a tie for the lead.
Hee-Won Han led with a 5-under 67 that essentially went unnoticed. So, too, did a strong effort by Charlottetown's Lorie Kane, who fired an even-par 72 that put her in a tie for 10th in the season-ending event.
This round might be remembered as the start of a rivalry between the LPGA Tour's best players - one the undisputed star who already is in the Hall of Fame, the other a 19-year-old rookie with the moxie to stand up for what she thought was right.
"We were trying to determine where it went in," Sorenstam said. "We're standing 220 yards away, and we're talking about inches."
Creamer, who finished with a two-putt par for a 68, stared hard at Sorenstam as the Swede spoke to reporters, and the rookie later had an animated discussion with LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens and Lindsay.
She said there were no hard feelings. But she didn't think Sorenstam took the right drop.
"It was her word versus my word," Creamer said. "I don't feel that it crossed (the hazard). We're never going to agree because she saw it differently. ... In my heart of hearts, I did not see it cross. It's her conscience. If she thinks it did, it did."
It wasn't their only dispute.
On the 16th green, after Sorenstam played a difficult chip from the side of a bunker to about six feet, the Swede asked if she could fix what appeared to be a pitch mark in the line of her putt. Creamer thought it was a scuff mark, made by spikes, that could not be repaired.
When Sorenstam called for a rules official, Creamer told her to go ahead and fix it, then turned her back as Sorenstam stooped down to make the repair. Sorenstam missed the putt.
But that was nothing compared with the 18th.
The 420-yard closing hole is among the most daunting at Trump International, with water down the right side as it bends to the right toward the green, with a bunker that feeds into the lake. Creamer hit the middle of the fairway. As evening clouds gathered, Sorenstam hit a four-wood that the strong breeze carried slightly to the right.
There was no splash. They found the ball inside the red hazard line, plugged.
And that's when the dispute began.
"It came in as a little banana," Sorenstam said, reasoning that it had to cross the land before going beyond the red hazard line.
Creamer thought it was over the water during its entire flight, meaning Sorenstam would have had to hit her third shot from the tee. The walking scorer tried to get involved, saying he saw it hit land.
"How could it trickle in if it's in the sand?" Creamer later said.
Another person in the gallery also said he saw it hit land, adding to the confusion.
"I don't know if it was a banana ball," Creamer said. "I think it did not cross up there. It was her word. She's the player."
That's the conclusion Lindsay, the rules official, reached. In case of a tie, the decision goes to who hit the ball.
Annika is treated like a god by the golf media and fans. But I will point out many a sports idol have taken hard falls of late. Barry Bonds and Pete Rose for two.
Whether it was accident or deliberate it don't matter. For jeopardizing the results of the LPGA Championship through a rules violation, Annika Sorenstam is today's Knucklehead of the day.
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