Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Samsung World Championship Preview

Twenty of the world’s best players gather at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, California this week for the Samsung World Championship. Annika Sorenstam is the two-time defending champion of this invitation-only event, which will be televised Thursday and Friday by TGC and this weekend by NBC.

Players qualify for the tournament by winning one of the four majors (Sorenstam, Webb, Pak, Steinhauer), leading the European Tour money list (Gwladys Nocera), finishing high on the LPGA money list (Ochoa, Kerr, MH Kim, Inkster, Hurst, Jang, Han, SH Lee, Lincicome, Creamer, Gulbis, M Lee, Gustafson, Prammanasudh) or by just being Michelle Wie. Actually they always award an at-large spot – who did you think they’d give it to, one of the Ammaccapane sisters? The LPGA money list they based these bids on was apparently what the standings were at the end of August, but if that’s the case the players listed as alternates don’t make sense. Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lang were both behind Sung Ah Yim and Angela Stanford on the list at that time. Maybe the alternates are the current leading money winners not already qualified. Oh well, it’s their tournament – I guess they don’t care whether I completely understand qualifying or not. They sure don’t spell it out very well on their website or at LPGA.com. What I really don’t understand is if the LET money leader is here, why not the Japan or Korean Tour leaders? Hello…SAMSUNG?!?

The course is par-72, 6462 yards. None of last year’s participants finished over par – which, taking into account that Birdie Kim was one of the invitees, leads me to believe it plays a little on the easy side. Annika’s -18 score was eight shots better than Paula Creamer, with most of the players scoring between -7 and -4 over 72 holes.

So who’s gonna win? I thought you might ask that question. Since I passed on the obvious choice last week, I’ll choose Annika this week. My real problem is, I have three choices for my two CYA picks who have all been playing great the last several weeks. I’ll reluctantly leave out Karrie Webb and go with Lorena Ochoa and Cristie Kerr as the CYAs. Stats: Winners 1-9 (6-9 with CYAs), Top Tens 20-28.