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LPGA Skins Game Makes Return

January 26, 2003

WAILEA, Hawaii (AP) _ Not even Annika Sorenstam or Karrie Webb have been able to beat Laura Davies in the LPGA Skins Game for the past four years. Not that they had a chance to.

After a four-season hiatus, the women’s Skins Game returns Sunday with Davies looking to defend her 1998 title.

``At least I’m still the defending champ,″ said Davies, who won with 10 skins worth $270,000 in 1998. ``I told them not to forget me if they brought it back.″

But defending her title against some of the top women golfers in the world _ Sorenstam, Webb and Laura Diaz _ won’t not be an easy task.

Sorenstam won 11 LPGA Tour titles last year, the most in 38 years. She also won non-tour events in Australia and Sweden, giving the Swede 13 wins in 25 starts.

``It’s always my goal to improve, but it’s tough to set that as a goal after winning 13 tournaments,″ said Sorenstam, the 2002 player of the year. ``Does that mean it’s a bad year if you don’t win 13 again? My goal is to play better in the majors.″

The $600,000 Skins Game will be played at Wailea Golf Club’s Gold Course, located on the island of Maui. It is the first women’s LPGA Skins Game at Wailea. All the previous tournaments were played at Stonebriar Country Club in Frisco, Texas.

Davies, of England, earned $890,000 in her four previous appearances, winning the event twice. Sorenstam made $420,000 in three LPGA Skins Game, including $220,00 when she won in 1997.

Webb, who won two tour events last year, has played the event twice. Diaz, a native New Yorker who broke through last year with her first two LPGA Tour wins, is making her debut appearance.

``It’s not like a regular event where if you miss it and don’t win, you still know you finish second and make a lot of money,″ Davies said. ``Here, if you miss that putt, you get nothing.″

The event is being played in the middle of their offseason. The tour season doesn’t get under way until the Welch’s/Fry’s Championship on March 13.

Sorenstam, 32, answered questions about her previous comments about possibly playing in a PGA Tour event.

``It was just a question presented to me and I said that I would love to play, but it’s not anything I am trying to push for, far from it,″ she said. ``I don’t even think about it.″

However, Sorenstam said her agent has been contacted by some PGA Tour events, but she wouldn’t say which ones.

While Webb said she would consider playing against the men, Diaz said she’s not interested.

``I struggle with these ladies on the LPGA Tour,″ she said. ``I have never thought about it. This tour is tough enough for me.″

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