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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Annika Sorenstam Makes PGA History as First Woman

Aired May 22, 2003 - 19:22   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, ANCHOR: The most talked about woman in golf there.
Golfer Annika Sorenstam said she was nervous all day long today during her historic debut on the PGA tour. It sure didn't look like it, though. Taking a swing at the PGA's gender bender, and gender barrier she shot her first round at the Colonial. She's one over par.

Josie Karp now, more on Annika Sorenstam's opening drive.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOSIE KARP, CNN CORRESONDENT (voice-over): With this drive, Annika Sorenstam made history. But her smooth swing hid the panic inside. On the 10th tee, her first of the day, the enormity of the situation threatened to overwhelm her.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM, GOLFER: My heart was beating. I felt a little sick in my stomach and my hands were a little sweaty. I mean, everything that you'd feel when you're under pressure and stress and, you know, in the first tee out, I kept telling myself, you know, trust yourself, you can do it. Just you know, I had one swing and that was just take it easy from the top.

KARP: Sorenstam gave an exaggerated display of relief after getting her round underway.

Over the next four hours she went on to show she could play as well as some of the men and even better than others, including one of her playing partners. Sorenstam finished one over par, a stroke ahead of Aaron Barber.

SORENSTAM: I'm very pleased with one over. It's not level par, but you know, first day under these circumstance it feels better than par to me.

AARON BARBER, GOLER: I'm not ashamed to lose to her. She was awesome. So I'm sure there's a lot of guys who will be behind her.

KARP: Barber admitted he was rooting for Sorenstam to play well and that made him one of thousands. An enormous crowd cheered her loudly and offered visible signs of support.

SORENSTAM: And everybody's, you know, either going, "Go girl, go, Annika, you can do it." You know, everybody is so encouraging and so positive and, you know, obviously that gets me going, as well.

KARP: A day that began with the sight rarely seen on the PGA tour, a woman, ended with another, a hug.

DEAN WILSON, PAIRED WITH SORENSTAM: You know, I just told her I was just so proud of her. Just the way she handled herself and the way she obviously played.

SORENSTAM: I know all of the guys here they're out here, you know, to compete and everything and I'm here to test myself and whether I play in the week end or not, if I play like I did today then I have tested myself in so many ways and, you know, I've learned so much and I'm thankful for that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KARP: Sorenstam says that she doesn't care if she makes the cut, but a lot of other people are wondering if that's going to happen.

If you look back on the last couple of years, if Sorenstam were to duplicate her one over par effort from round one and round two that would normally be good enough for her to make the cut, but it looks like this course is playing a little bit easier after round one, so there's a good chance if she wants to make the cut she's going to have to shoot under par on Friday -- Daryn.

KAGAN: And what time does she tee off tomorrow?

KARP: Tomorrow is in the afternoon: 1:43.

KAGAN: All right. We will look for it. Josie Karp, Fort Worth, Texas, thank you.

When Sorenstam's opening drive sailed past those of her playing partners, there were probably a couple of bruised egos today. How did they rate her performance?

One of the men playing right alongside her, Dean Wilson. You saw him in Josie's piece here. He now is joining us from Fort Worth, Texas tonight.

Dean, good evening. Thanks for being with us.

DEAN WILSON, GOLFER: No problem. Thanks for having me.

KAGAN: From all the zillions of rounds of golf you played in your lifetime, I bet today is one you'll never forget.

WILSON: Yes, that was pretty exciting, being out there and in that media frenzy. It was a great experience for me.

KAGAN: And you must be pleased with your score, since you tied with Annika. Or at least pleased with hers.

WILSON: Yes. Exactly. At least I can say she didn't beat me, but she played fantastic and I would not be ashamed at all if she bettered my score.

KAGAN: And the two of you together, one ahead of your other playing partner, Aaron Barber.

WILSON: Yes.

KAGAN: Tiger Woods his pointed out that one of the biggest challenges for her this week is going -- or this weekend is going to be the intense publicity, the huge galleries. I would imagine you yourself have never faced anything like that in all of the tournaments you played in.

WILSON: Yes. It hasn't been anything quite like this, but I think once she gets inside the ropes she'll handle herself like a professional -- like the professional she is. So once she's in the ropes and in her element, she just did great today.

KAGAN: When you got out there, was it just like a first round of a big PGA tournament for you or did it feel different?

WILSON: Oh, no, it was a lot different. I mean, there were so many people there outside the ropes. Media everywhere. Cameras clicking, people moving around. So yes, it was a lot different than first round for me in any of the other tournaments I played so far this year.

KAGAN: When it was announced on how the computer did the drawings for the tournament, I think I heard from you and Aaron saying that you supported Annika Sorenstam playing in the tournament. Do you still stand by that?

WILSON: Oh, yes. I'm all for her playing. I feel that the sponsors put quite a bit of money into the tournament and they have sponsor exemptions. They can invite whomever they want to bring publicity to their tournament and make their tournament better and if it's Annika Sorenstam or Dean Wilson, I mean, whatever's good for them. So I'm behind her 100 percent.

KAGAN: And was it you or Aaron who got the sponsor exemption to get into the tournament?

WILSON: I think Aaron got it. Yes. I had one, but I played my way into it the last couple of weeks. I played well the last couple and got in there.

KAGAN: And give us a preview of tomorrow.

WILSON: Oh, boy. You know, I think it will be a lot of the same and if the weather holds up and we don't get any rain, I think she's going to do the same and she's going to hit it great and hopefully play well, shoot under par and make the cut. I'm cheering for her.

KAGAN: And we're cheering for you, as well. Dean Wilson. Thanks for joining us.

WILSON: All right. Thanks.

KAGAN: Just checked the leader board. Two of the very well- known golfers you're already ahead of, Tom Layman and Sergio Garcia. So it's going OK.

WILSON: Yes. OK.

KAGAN: Dean Wilson joining us from the Colonial in Fort Worth. Appreciate it.

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