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Annika's Motives are Clear

Maybe nobody ever entirely understands anybody's motives for doing anything, but one of the delights of working in the toy department is that sports offer us the illusion that motives --- like final scores — are clear and simple.

Along that line, I choose to believe that Annika Sorenstam is playing in the PGA Tournament at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth next week for precisely the reasons she has provided. She's looking for new challenges. Having dominated the LPGA Tour to the extent that Tiger Woods might be called the Annika Sorenstam of the PGA, rather than vice versa, she's curious about how her game will fare when she plays against the best male golfers in the world, and whether --- god help the other female pro golfers on the planet --- it can improve.

Some of the men on the PGA tour are assuming Ms. Sorenstam is otherwise motivated. Fuzzy Zoeller intimated this week that anybody who thought Sorenstam wasn't in it for the notoriety was an idiot, and nick price has agreed, saying Sorenstam's appearance "reeked of publicity." Vijay Singh said he hoped Sorenstam wouldn't make the cut because "she doesn't belong here." Tiger woods, who's skipping the Colonial, opted for the high road and said he thought the only way for Annika Sorenstam to discover how well she can play against the men would be for her to enter several PGA tournaments, not just one: a comment that gives Messrs. Zoeller, Price, and Singh another reason to hate him.

What all these wealthy gentleman of the greensward have in common, of course, is that they're taking the whole business of Annika Sorenstam's potentially excellent adventure too seriously. Come on, guys. It'll be fun. The Colonial isn't a major and Tiger's not entered ...circumstances that would insure that almost nobody outside of Fort Worth would pay any attention to the event if it didn't have some sort of hook, and this hook is a pip. What would have been just another stop on the endless PGA loop is gonna be a hoot. How narrow-minded, paranoid, humorless, and uptight do you have to be to figure Annika Sorenstam's presence will somehow derail the gravy train these guys have been riding? A gravy train, by the way, richer by no little and quite some than the one upon which Sorenstam and the rest of the LPGA pros have been bumping along...and if this weekend's golf feature publicizes that discrepancy, hooray for long shot say I.

This program aired on May 17, 2003. The audio for this program is not available.

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