Chris BaldwinThis Week at TravelGolf.com: Nov. 28, 2006

Annika Sorenstam's free pass shows no one really cares about the LPGA Tour

Michelle Wie takes her lumps even as she collects millions in hype money. Tiger Woods hears criticism that's both deserved and absurd.

Heck, even Chris DiMarco has at least one vocal regular critic.

Yet Annika Sorenstam muddles through a season, meekly cedes the Player of the Year title to Lorena Ochoa, losses more award streaks than an old home run hitter in the steroids era ... and practically no one says a word about it.

Can you imagine if Tiger saw a five-peat Player of the Year award run end? If another player doubled Tiger's victory total for the season? The words Tiger Slump would be flying around so quickly that his head would be spinning and Butch Harmon would be grinning.

When Sorenstam's dominant reign ends it's not even the lead story in golf, let alone a blip in the overall sports world. American Idol fame fader Clay Aiken can make thousand times more news by putting his hand over Kelly Ripa's mouth.

Part of this is due to the fact that it's Sorenstam, the champion nobody cares about.

But it also shows how little the LPGA still matters.

Sure, Wie draws interests (in large part because her handlers promised she would revolutionize the game, only to forget that pesky winning part). Other youngsters like Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel have their diehard backers, many there because they simply want to root for a golfer who hasn't been handed everything.

But you don't find many overall fans of the LPGA like you will with the PGA Tour, which let's face it, isn't exactly NASCAR itself. Where are the LPGA fans obsessed with their tour's Chris DiMarco equivalent?

That's a silly question when you consider that the undisputed top player in several generations cannot quicken anyone's pulse. Sorenstam went from averaging 8.6 wins per year for five years straight - never winning less than six tournaments in a year - to three wins (including one major) this season. She didn't play in one late-season event when she had a chance to pressure Ochoa, and she missed the cut in the season-ending ADT Championships.

And nobody noticed. Your loss, LPGA.

As always, TravelGolf.com welcomes your comments.



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Pine Lakes - Myrtle BeachThe perfect Central
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With 50 miles of unbroken beach, few golfers can do more than scratch the surface of the Grand Strand's 100-plus courses in a single trip. Better to confine your stay to either the north, central or south Strand and play the best courses in that area. While the central Strand draws a younger crowds with its active nightlife, the golf courses are the main draw. Check out Pine Lakes C.C., Grande Dunes, TPC of Myrtle Beach, the underrated Witch Golf Links and more.

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Dave Berner's PodcastSizemore Collection putter
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Bruce Sizemore, Jr., chief designer for the new Sizemore Collection, joins podcast host Dave Berner to discuss putter customization. Caribbean island St. Kitts is an up-and-coming golf destination, says National Golf Editor Tim McDonald. RonMon warns to book your spring golf outing in Michigan now, or you might regret it. And Golf Gear News podcast host Bruce Stasch sits in to rave about GolfCross, a golf spin-off created in New Zealand.

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Mike DevriesMike Devries: The new face
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Mike Devries didn't have to look far to discover his passion for golf-course design it was right in his backyard. Growing up in western Michigan, he spent summers working at the famed Crystal Downs Country Club, one of Alister Mackenzie's masterpieces. He soon found his calling, understudying under Tom Doak and Tom Fazio before going out on his own. Today, his company has five designs and numerous remodeling projects to its credit.

GolfCourseRealty.com: Your guide to golf course real estate



CLIENT FEATUREQuail Golf Course

GolfBC Group's 'Learn
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