Creamer, Soranstam quarrel at ADT

Friday, November 18, 2005

Paula Creamer wasn't about to give Annika Sorenstam an inch.

The season-ending ADT Championship got off to a rocky start Thursday when the top two players on the LPGA Tour got into a tense dispute on the 18th fairway over where Sorenstam should have taken a drop from the hazard.

"Neither one of them was going to budge," rules official Janet Lindsay said.

After a debate that lasted so long it was almost too dark to finish at Trump International in West Palm Beach, Fla., the ruling ultimately went Sorenstam's way. She was allowed to go to a ball drop instead of returning to the tee, although she still made double bogey and fell out of a tie for the lead.

Hee-Won Han led with a 5-under 67 that essentially went unnoticed.

This round might be remembered as the start of a rivalry between the LPGA Tour's best players -- one the undisputed star who already is in the Hall of Fame, the other a 19-year-old rookie with the moxie to stand up for what she thought was right.

"We were trying to determine where it went in," Sorenstam said. "We're standing 220 yards away, and we're talking about inches."

Creamer, who finished with a two-putt par for a 68, stared hard at Sorenstam as the Swede spoke to reporters, and the rookie later had an animated discussion with LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens and Lindsay.

She said there were no hard feelings. But she didn't think Sorenstam took the right drop.

"It was her word versus my word," Creamer said. "I don't feel that it crossed (the hazard). We're never going to agree because she saw it differently. ... In my heart of hearts, I did not see it cross. It's her conscience. If she thinks it did, it did."

It wasn't their only dispute.

On the 16th green, after Sorenstam played a difficult chip from the side of a bunker to about 6 feet, the Swede asked if she could fix what appeared to be a pitch mark in the line of her putt. Creamer thought it was a scuff mark, made by spikes, that could not be repaired.

When Sorenstam called for a rules official, Creamer told her to go ahead and fix it, then turned her back as Sorenstam stooped down to make the repair. Sorenstam missed the putt.

But that was nothing compared with the 18th.

The 420-yard closing hole is among the most daunting at Trump International, with water down the right side as it bends to the right toward the green, with a bunker that feeds into the lake. Creamer hit the middle of the fairway. As evening clouds gathered, Sorenstam hit a 4-wood that the strong breeze carried slightly to the right.

There was no splash. They found the ball inside the red hazard line, plugged.

And that's when the dispute began.

"It came in as a little banana," Sorenstam said, reasoning that it had to cross the land before going beyond the red hazard line.

Creamer thought it was over the water during its entire flight, meaning Sorenstam would have had to hit her third shot from the tee.

Asian Tour

Defending champion Tiger Woods shot a 5-under 65 Thursday, trailing leader David Duval by one stroke after the first round of the Dunlop Phoenix in Miyazaki, Japan.

Woods birdied his first hole, the par-4 10th, and then added five more birdies against a lone bogey at the par-70 Phoenix Country Club.

"I'm very pleased," said Woods. "I hit the ball well today and it's exciting to strike the ball that well and consistently. I hit the ball better today than I did for the past two weeks."

Duval, who also teed off from the 10th hole, put together four birdies in a row starting on the par-3 17th on his way to a 64 that included eight birdies and a bogey.

"I played well," Duval said. "I've been playing well for about a month now but just haven't been scoring well. I'm well aware of how I've played over the past few years but I've worked hard and it's good to start a tournament not behind the 8-ball."

Jim Furyk shot a 67 and was three strokes back along with Japan's Tomohiro Kondo.

Duval, the world's former No. 1 player, has made the cut only once this year at the Texas Open in September. His only major victory was at the British Open in 2001.

It was an impressive start for the 34-year-old Duval, who won here in 2001 but has struggled with injuries since. He led Woods by three strokes before back-to-back bogeys on the fifth and sixth holes.

Duval has won 13 times on the PGA Tour and was ranked No. 1 in 1998.

World Cup

Luke Donald and David Howell combined for a 13-under 59 Thursday to give defending champion England the lead after the first round of the World Cup.

Donald and Howell took advantage of calm conditions on Portugal's southern coast to take a one-shot lead in the 24-team field.

Tied for second after rounds of 60 were the Indian pair of Jyoti Randhawa and Arjun Atwal and Australians Mark Hensby and Peter Lonard.

The Welsh team of Bradley Dredge and Stephen Dodd, and Sweden's Henrik Stenson and Niclas Fasth carded 61s.

Half of the teams carded scores of 64 or lower on the 7,174-yard Arnold Palmer-designed Victoria Clube de Golfe in Vilamoura, Portugal.

Although the tournament is a stroke-play event, Thursday's first round was played using the match-play format of fourball (better ball). The format alternates between fourball and foursomes (alternate shot) during the four days of the final World Golf Championships event of the season.

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