PR PLAY OF THE WEEK: Sorenstam supporters top PR leaderboard

FORT WORTH, TX: Regardless of how well Annika Sorenstam plays at the Bank of Colonial tournament (PRWeek went to press before the event began), those who supported her efforts are credited with this week's PR Play of the Week.

FORT WORTH, TX: Regardless of how well Annika Sorenstam plays at the Bank of Colonial tournament (PRWeek went to press before the event began), those who supported her efforts are credited with this week's PR Play of the Week.

Positive press for Sorenstam, who last Thursday became the first woman in 58 years to play on the PGA Tour, was a given. The historic nature of her participation inevitably drew attention to her male opponents as well, but some didn't handle it so well. Vijay Singh, for example, initially said he didn't think Sorenstam belonged on the tour. "I hope she misses the cut," he said. Of course, after realizing the implications of such a statement, he backtracked and said that it was not Sorenstam's gender that he felt should keep her off. Singh subsequently pulled out of the Colonial for "unrelated reasons." Another big talker, Scott Hoch - also not playing - said he thinks Sorenstam's participation will show her how much "separation there is between us and the ladies tour." Equally unsupportive Nick Price was quoted as saying her appearance "reeks of publicity." Perhaps these gentlemen could learn a thing or two from Sergio Garcia, Jesper Parnevik, and particularly Dean Wilson and Aaron Barber. Garcia and Parnevik played a practice round with Sorenstam last Tuesday. Rookies Wilson and Barber embraced their fortune of being Sorenstam's playing partners for the first two rounds of the event. An AP article said about Sorenstam's partners, "They will be in the most watched group at the Colonial. And not because of anything they've done." Wilson, who sported a "Go Annika" button at a press conference last week, had his best US event finish ever when he tied for seventh at the recent Wachovia Championship. Barber, like Sorenstam, got into the Colonial on a sponsor exemption. Good or bad, the publicity gained from Sorenstam's participation was more than many golfers had planned on - or seen - in a while. For those who played the PR game well, it could well be the event of their lives.

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