PGA Tour Confidential: Transitions Championship

Tiger Woods, WGC-CA Championship, Doral
Fred Vuich/SI
Tiger Woods will receive $3 million to play the Australian Masters in November.
Gorant: I was at the press conference when she announced her retirement, and I immediately noticed she never used the word retirement, only the phrase "stepping away." I had the impression she'd take four or five years, pop out a few kids and then look to dip a toe back in.

Evans: I'm really proud of Annika for attempting to be the Steffi Graff of golf. Not many women athletes get to have Hall of Fame careers and the family.

Van Sickle: I agree with Gorant. She's going to find that her brand name fades quickly when she's no longer in the golf limelight. For business reasons, she may need to play more someday. Annika never caught Tiger in majors, and she's already two down on kids. So this will cut his lead to one.

Shipnuck: How about the end of Fuzzy at Augusta? No one can defend his insensitive remarks from '97, but it's tragic that one of golf's most beloved figures has been in semi-exile ever since. I'll certainly miss talking to him under The Tree — he was a great interview.

Herre: Fuzzy's announcement wasn't a surprise. The guy's not even competitive on the Champions tour anymore. Maybe he got a letter. The episode in '97 was a career-killer. Fuzzy's still a little paranoid about it, and I don't blame him. The full story about what happened that Sunday is yet to be told.

Van Sickle: Augusta has made the course too tough for the ceremonial golfers like Fuzzy to enjoy it. I applaud him for realizing that now and not doing a Doug Ford, although I did enjoy watching Ford hit 3-woods into a bunch of par 4s to scratch out a 94.

Shipnuck: Big finish on the LPGA tour. Pat Hurst, not known for her ability to close, birdied the final two holes to steal a win in Mexico. The big loser was Yani Tseng, who bogied the last hole to finish tied for second with the unofficial hostess, Lorena Ochoa. Annika predicted Tseng would be the next player to reach No. 1, but Tseng hasn't been getting it done lately on Sunday afternoons. Any thoughts on Ochoa's reign, which may or may not be complicated by her recent engagement?

Van Sickle: I look for two-time Golf Plus Dominator of the Year Ji-Yai Shin to be the first to pass Ochoa. Tseng may, too. Ochoa has been going at it pretty hard for a long time. She could use a serious challenger for motivation, and I don't think Michelle Wie is in that neighborhood yet.

Shipnuck: An LPGA source told me that after the event in Singapore a couple of weeks ago, a bunch of players went to a nightclub and Tseng was partying like a rock star. That'll make it tougher to catch Lorena, whose only vice is chocolate cake.

Herre: You would know better than me, Alan, but a case could be made that Ochoa is a bit on the fragile side. Remember how long it took her to finally break through? And then last year she was derailed by family matters. Marriage and kids would be a big change. BTW, if memory serves Hurst played quite well while pregnant and after.

Shipnuck: I think Lorena will be hyper-focused for the next four years, and then she'll retire at the end of 2012, when she's put in 10 years and is eligible for the Hall of Fame. No way she hangs around until her late 30's like Annika.

Gorant: It's tempting to say Ochoa has dropped a step, and wonder if the engagement has sapped some of her intensity, but it's probably too early in the season for that. She's had chances but simply hasn't gotten it done this year.

Shipnuck: Uh, Lorena won in Thailand a few weeks ago, with a sporty little 66 on Sunday. That's getting it done in my book!

Gorant: Yeah, but she had chances in the other two events she was in but was stopped by uncharacteristically poor rounds, like the Saturday 73 this week.

Reiterman: Anyone think Paula Creamer will be a serious challenger?

Shipnuck: I like her spunk, but she's giving up 25 yards off the tee to Ochoa, Tseng and some other top players. That'll make her the Furyk in this equation, always in the picture but never No. 1.

Herre: I like everything about Creamer's game — except her short putting on Sundays.

Gorant: That begs the question: Whatever happened to Morgan Pressel? Is she washed up at 20?

Herre: Pressel is another short-knocker. She reminds me of Kelli Kuehne. Both are tough as nails but at too big a disadvantage to be frequent winners.

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