Mother DearFor all you hardcore Annika Sorenstam fans holding your breath for her eventual comeback…you might want to exhale. This generation's most successful female golfer took to Twitter Tuesday morning with a big announcement:
Mike and I are happy to share that our family will be a foursome by early summer. Ava is ready to be a big sister.
Ava, of course, is the daughter that Annika had after retiring in 2009. No word yet on how far along Sorenstam is this time around, but this news will likely keep her from playing even the occasional charity event for the next year. Congratulations to the whole Sorenstam clan, and condolences to LPGA Tour commissioner Michael Whan, who probably still has dreams of Annika and Lorena Ochoa dueling it out in a sudden-death playoff before waking up in a cold sweat. Call it a ComebackPeople don't tend to get too worked up about the Comeback Player of the Year award, as it's more of a feel-good acknowledgment than it is a true evaluation of a golfer's season. CBS's Steve Elling, however, has taken exception to Stuart Appleby being named this year's winner–and he's not shy about shouting it from the rooftops.
In a vote of tour members, he bested India's Arjun Atwal and U.S. veteran Rocco Mediate for the award, granted annually to a player who has overcome some sort of obstacle, personally or professionally. Appleby overcame what, exactly? Apathy?
After struggling through an uncharacteristically bad 2009 season, the popular Australian was outside the top 125 in earnings coming down the stretch when he told the Golf Channel that he would be skipping the season finale at Disney World and heading to Australia instead…
Rather than try to salvage his season in credible fashion, Appleby instead elected to put the arm on tournaments for one of their limited sponsor exemptions in 2010. He eventually won the first-year Greenbrier event, shooting 59 in the final round, a creditable achievement, to be sure…
Continuing its ridiculous policy, the PGA Tour did not release the voting totals of any of its peer-ballot awards from 2010. To me, the guy who should have won — and he wasn't even on the ballot — is Matt Kuchar, who led the tour in earnings and scoring average, then made the Ryder Cup team, just four years removed from being sent down to the Nationwide Tour for more seasoning.
Since this is a completely subjective award, it's difficult for anyone to say anyone's opinion is right or wrong. Oh wait, not it's not: Elling is wrong. He's really, really wrong. Steve Stricker being the obvious exception (read: ridiculous fluke), it's the "Comeback" Player of the Year, not of the "Most Improved" Player of the Year. While Kuchar had an incredible year that was a vast improvement over 2009, he still had a win and five top 10s last season, and he has shown consistent improvement since 2006. Appleby had an atrocious 2009, finishing 141st in the FedEx Cup standings with only one top ten (after finishing 17th in 2008). No, he didn't have as good a year in 2010 as Kuchar, but at least he came back from something.