ANNIKA SORENSTAM will not need surgery on the ruptured and herniated disks in her neck, but she will miss at least four to six weeks while rehabbing the injuries. The No. 1 player in the world had been suffering pain for the past few weeks, and it got severe enough that after her April 11 practice round and press conference for the Ginn Open, Sorenstam went to see a doctor, who made the diagnosis. The next day she flew to Miami to consult a neurosurgeon. On Monday, Sorenstam, 36, opened her Annika Academy at Reunion, near Orlando, where her first student was Hootie and the Blowfish singer Darius Rucker. She hopes to be back on the course for the tournament she hosts, the Ginn Tribute, which begins on May 31 in Mount Pleasant, N.C. What does all this mean in the bigger picture? It looks as if Kathy Whitworth‘s record is safe. Sorenstam, who has 69 career wins, had been gunning for Whitworth’s LPGA standard of 88 victories.
• THE CLASS of 2007 is in.Curtis Strange and Hubert Green will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in September. Green, 60, who won 19 times, including the 1977 U.S. Open at Southern Hills and the 1985 PGA Championship at Cherry Hills, and played on three Ryder Cup teams, was chosen by the selection committee in the veterans category. Strange, 52, won 17 tournaments, including back-to-back U.S. Opens in 1988 and ’89, and played in five Ryder Cups. He also captained the 2002 U.S. team. Strange was elected on the PGA Tour ballot. They will likely be joined by Se Ri Pak, who has met the LPGA’s qualifications for entry but needs to complete her 10th season to be eligible, which she’ll do by making 10 starts this year. If Laura Davies wins twice more, she will also qualify.
• NANCY LOPEZ, 50, began her comeback at the Ginn Open, and although she has lost 40 pounds and has been practicing for a year, it looks as if she still has some work to do. Lopez shot 83-80 and finished last, but she presumably understood how difficult a task she was taking on. Beth Daniel is the LPGA’s oldest winner, having triumphed at the 2003 Canadian Women’s Open at age 46. Lopez, who has 48 career victories, hasn’t won since the 1997 Chick-fil-A Charity Championship and now does not have a top 10 in 73 straight starts.
• TWO WEEKS ago Davis Love III was one of the players opining on the extreme difficulty of 7,445-yard Augusta National, but a week later the Nationwide tour trekked to Kinderlou Forest Golf Club in Valdosta, Ga., a track notable for being the longest to host a PGA Tour-sanctioned event. So who laid out the 7,781-yard monster? You guessed it: Love’s company, Love Golf Design. But the 7,781 number might be deceiving. The course has multiple tees per hole and “probably didn’t play much over 7,500,” Love said.
SUGGESTED WOODS BABY NAME Rick Butch.