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Annika Sörenstam

Annika Sörenstam

Personal Information
Birth
Bro, Sweden
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Nationality
Residence Orlando, Florida, U.S.
College University of Arizona (two years)
Career
Turned Pro 1992
Current tour LPGA Tour (joined 1994)
Other tour LET (Life Member)
Professional wins 90 (LPGA Tour: 72, other individual: 17, two-woman team: 1)
Major Championship results
Wins: 10
Kraft Nabisco Won 2001, 2002, 2005
LPGA Championship Won 2003, 2004, 2005
U.S. Women's Open Won 1995, 1996, 2006
Women's British Open Won 2003
Du Maurier Classic 2nd: 1998
Awards listed here

Annika Sörenstam (born 9 October 1970) is a Swedish professional golfer whose achievements rank her as one of the most successful golfers in history. She has won 72 official LPGA tournaments including ten majors and 18 other tournaments internationally, and she tops the LPGA's career money list with earnings of over $22 million -- over $8 million ahead of her nearest rival. Her 90 international tournament wins as a professional make her the female golf player with the most wins to her name.

The winner of a record eight Player of the Year awards, and six Vare Trophies given to the LPGA player with the lowest seasonal scoring average, she is the only female golfer to have shot a 59 in competition. She holds various all-time scoring records including the lowest season scoring average: 68.6969 in 2004.

Sörenstam made history at the Bank of America Colonial tournament in 2003 as the first woman to play in a men's PGA Tour event since 1945. Often known simply as "Annika," she achieved the fame of male golfers known in the same way: Arnie (Arnold Palmer), Jack (Nicklaus) and Tiger (Woods). Her growing off-course interests include the ANNIKA golf academy, golf course design and a charitable foundation.

Childhood and amateur career

Annika Sörenstam was born in Bro near Stockholm, Sweden. Her father Tom is a retired IBM executive, her mother Gunilla worked in a bank and her younger sister Charlotta is a professional golfer who coaches at her sister's academy. Annika and Charlotta Sörenstam are the only two sisters to have both won $1 million on the LPGA.

As a child, Sörenstam was a nationally ranked junior tennis player. She was such a good skier that the coach of the Swedish national ski team suggested the family move to Northern Sweden to improve her skiing year round. She also played football (soccer) in her hometown team Bro IK.

At the age of 12 she switched to golf, sharing her first set of golf clubs with her sister -- Annika got the odd numbered clubs and Charlotta the even -- and earned her first handicap of 54. She was so shy as a junior she used to deliberately three putt at the end of a tournament to avoid giving the victory speech. The coaches noticed and at the next tournament both the winner and the runner-up had to give a speech. Sörenstam decided that if she were going to have to face the crowd anyway she might as well win and the deliberate misses stopped.

Her very successful amateur career included a win in the St. Rule Trophy played at St. Andrews and a runner-up finish in the Swedish national mother/daughter golf tournament. As a member of the Swedish National Team from 1987 to 1992, she played in the 1990 and 1992 Espirito Santo Trophy World Amateur Golf Team Championships, becoming World Amateur champion in 1992. Whilst waiting to start college in Sweden, Sörenstam worked as a personal assistant at the Swedish PGA and played on the Swedish Ladies Telia Tour, winning three tournaments during 1990/1991.

After a coach spotted Sörenstam playing in a collegiate event in Tokyo she moved to the United States to attend college at the University of Arizona. She won seven collegiate titles and in 1991 became the first non-American and first freshman to win the individual NCAA National Championship. She was 1991 NCAA Co-Player of the Year with Kelly Robbins, runner-up in the 1992 NCAA National Championship, 1992 Pac-10 champion and a 1991-92 NCAA All-American. At the 1992 United States Women's Amateur Golf Championship she was the runner-up to Vicki Goetze. As runner up she received an invitation to play in the 1992 U.S. Women's Open, where she finished tied for 63rd.

Having turned professional in 1992 and missing her LPGA Tour card at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament by one shot, she began her professional career on the Ladies European Tour or LET, formerly known as the WPGET.

Professional career

1990s

Sörenstam was invited to play in three 1993 LPGA tournaments where she finished T38th, 4th, and T9th earning more than $47,000. She finished second four times on the Ladies European Tour and was 1993 Ladies European Tour Rookie of the Year. By tying for 28th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament she earned non-exempt status for the 1994 season.

Sörenstam's first professional win came at the 1994 Holden Australian Open Championship on the ALPG Tour. In the United States Sörenstam was LPGA Rookie of the Year, had three top-10 finishes including a tie for second at the Women's British Open and made her Solheim Cup debut.

1995 was her breakout year when she won her first LPGA Tour title at the U.S. Women's Open. She finished at the top of the Money List and was the first non-American winner of the Vare Trophy. She became the second player ever to be Player of the Year and Vare Trophy winner the year after being Rookie of the Year. A win at the 1995 Australian Ladies Masters and two other wins on the Ladies European Tour put her top of the LET Order of Merit and made her the first player to top both the European and LPGA Tour money lists in the same season. Her success worldwide resulted in her winning the Jerringpriset award in Sweden, the country’s most prestigious award in sports as well as being awarded the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal.

1996 saw Sörenstam win her home LET tournament, the Trygg Hansa Ladies' Open in Sweden and three LPGA tournaments including the U.S. Women's Open. In defending her title she became the first non-American to win back to back U.S. Women's Open titles, passed the $1 million mark in LPGA career earnings, and won her second consecutive Vare Trophy.

She won six 1997 LPGA titles regaining the Money List and Player of the Year titles. Internationally she won on the JLPGA and defended her home LET title at the renamed Compaq Open. She became the first player in LPGA history to finish a season with a sub-70 scoring average of 69.99 en route to retaining the 1998 Player of the Year and Money List titles as well as winning the LET Swedish tour stop for the third time running. September 1999 saw Sörenstam change her on-course team replacing her caddie of six years, Colin Cann, with Terry McNamara who remains her caddie today.

2000s

At this point in her career, Sörenstam says she lost focus having reached her biggest goals. Karrie Webb became the best LPGA Tour player but Sörenstam still managed to win more LPGA tournaments than any other Tour player during the 1990’s. She qualified for the World Golf Hall of Fame when she won the 2000 Welch's/Circle K Championship, but was not eligible for induction until finishing her tenth year on the LPGA tour in October 2003. Sörenstam was the first international player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame through the LPGA criteria.

Having lost her preeminent position, Sörenstam embarked on a new five-day-a-week exercise program including weight-lifting and balance work which by 2003 added over to her driving distance. During the 2001 season she had eight LPGA wins, became the only female golfer to shoot a 59 in competition and the first LPGA player to cross the $2 million mark in single-season earnings. She set or tied a total of 30 LPGA records en route to regaining the Vare Trophy and winning her fourth Player of the Year and Money List titles in 2001. In a made-for-TV alternate shot competition between the two best male and female players in the world, Sörenstam and Tiger Woods beat Karrie Webb and David Duval.

At the end of that season Karrie Webb said she "would eat her hat" if Sörenstam repeated her eight wins in 2002. Sörenstam accomplished that feat, joining Mickey Wright as the only players to win 11 LPGA tournaments in one season, earning her fifth Player of the Year title and fifth Vare Trophy. She successfully defended the Kraft Nabisco Championship, her fourth major victory, and also won the ANZ Ladies Masters in Australia and Compaq Open in Sweden on the Ladies European Tour giving her 13 wins in 25 starts worldwide in 2002.

Amid notable controversy, Sörenstam was invited to play in the Bank of America Colonial golf tournament in Fort Worth, Texas in May 2003, making her the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event since Babe Zaharias, who qualified for the 1945 Los Angeles Open. PGA Tour player Vijay Singh was particularly critical of her presence; he was quoted saying she had no business playing and he hoped she missed the cut, although he later apologized. Cheered through each hole, she shot five over par, tying for 96th out of the 111 who finished the first two rounds, missing the cut. After shooting 1-over-par 71 in the first round, Sörenstam said she was nervous all day but pleased at her performance.

Later in the 2003 season she won the LPGA Championship and the Women's British Open becoming only the sixth player to complete the LPGA Career Grand Slam. She had five other victories worldwide, set or tied a total of 22 LPGA records and earned her sixth Player of the Year award. She competed against Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson and Mark O'Meara in the 2003 Skins Game, finishing second with five skins worth $225,000; Sörenstam holed a bunker shot on the ninth hole—the eighth eagle in The Skins Game history. She was awarded her second Jerringpriset award in Sweden plus the 2003 Golf Writers’ Trophy by the Association of Golf Writers.

Sörenstam's dominance continued in 2004 with her seventh LPGA Player of the Year award tying Kathy Whitworth for the most in LPGA history. She posted 16 top-10 finishes in 18 LPGA starts, including eight wins, had two additional international wins, became the first player to reach $15 million in LPGA career earnings and took her own LPGA single-season scoring average record to 68.69696, but played too few rounds to win the Vare Trophy. The Women’s Sports Foundation gave her the 2004 Sportswoman of the Year Award, and the Laureus World Sports Academy named her World Sportswoman of the Year. She also released a combination autobiography and golf instructional book, Golf Annika's Way.

2005 was a landmark year in Sörenstam's life both on and off the golf course. The announcement in February that she had filed for divorce from David Esch, her husband of eight years, which was finalised in August did not adversely affect her golf. Her achievements included being the first player in LPGA history to win a major three consecutive years at the LPGA Championship and the first golfer in LPGA or PGA history to win the same event five consecutive years at the Mizuno Classic. 11 wins in 21 tournaments entered worldwide included victory in the Scandinavian TPC hosted by Annika where she presented herself the trophy, giving her an eighth Money List title, tying the LPGA record, an eighth Rolex Player of the Year (POY) award (a record) and a sixth Vare Trophy. She is the only LPGA player ever to win Money List, POY award and Vare trophy in the same year in 5 different years. Team competition saw her make her seventh consecutive Solheim Cup appearance, her 4 points making her total 21, the event's all-time leading points earner, and the inaugural Lexus Cup was played with Sörenstam as the Captain of the victorious International Team.

These events resulted in her receiving numerous awards. The Golf Writers Association of America named Sörenstam Female Player of the Year for the eighth time (1995,1997, 2000-2005), Associated Press voted her Female Athlete of the Year for the third consecutive year and she became the first woman to win the Golf Writers’ Trophy twice in the 55-year history of European golf’s most prestigious award. Having previously won six Best Female Golfer ESPY Awards (1996, 1998-99, 2002-04), Sörenstam also received the 2005 ESPY Award as Best Female Athlete

When the first-ever official Women's World Golf Rankings were unveiled in February 2006, Sörenstam was confirmed as the number-one player in women's golf, a position she relinquished to Lorena Ochoa on 22 April 2007. In partnership with Liselotte Neumann in team Sweden she won the Women's World Cup of Golf, opened her LPGA season with a defence of her title in the MasterCard Classic. She then went winless in eight starts, causing some to talk of a slump. Her winning drought ended at the U.S. Women's Open where she won an 18-hole playoff over Pat Hurst for her 10th major championship title, tying her for third on the list of players with most major championship titles. The win came just weeks after Sörenstam was sworn in as a United States citizen, becoming a dual national. She totalled 3 wins on the LPGA and two on the Ladies European Tour, the inaugural Dubai Ladies Masters and the Swedish tournament she hosts, which she defended in her home town at the course where she learned to play. Her International team lost the second Lexus Cup competition to Team Asia.

Sörenstam started 2007 by losing a playoff while defending of her MasterCard Classic title. At the Kraft Nabisco Championship she shot her highest 72-hole score in a major in nine years, a result explained by her subsequent diagnosis with ruptured and bulging discs in her neck, the first major injury in Sörenstam's 13-year LPGA career. After a two month injury rehabilitation break Sörenstam returned as the Ginn Tribute tournament hostess where she admitted to being at only 85% fitness and finished tied for 36th place. She was still not fully fit in her next two tournaments, the LPGA Championship where she finished tied for 15th place, and the US Women's Open, where as defending champion she finished tied for 32nd.

After an early round defeat at the World Matchplay Championship, Sörenstam had a more successful time in Europe where she finished sixth at the Evian Masters, 16th at the Women's British Open and ninth in the Swedish tournament she hosts on the Ladies European Tour. On her return to the US, Sörenstam had three top ten finishes but missed the weekend at the season closing ADT Playoffs for the second year running. This left her winless on the LPGA Tour for the first time since her rookie season. However Sörenstam did win a worldwide title at the Dubai Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour in November 2007 beating a competitive field.

Declaring herself recovered from injury and ready to return to a complete season of competitive golf in 2008, Sörenstam opened the year at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay where she captured her 70th LPGA Tour victory and first since September 2006. She won next at the Stanford International Pro-Am in April then following a week off, won again at the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill, giving her three wins and over $1 million in earnings by mid-May.

Retirement

On 13 May 2008, Sörenstam announced that she would retire from competitive golf at the conclusion of the 2008 season. Her last scheduled tournament on the LPGA Tour will be the season-ending ADT Championship in November and her last scheduled tournament will be the Dubai Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour in December. That night, she threw out the first pitch of the Washington Nationals/New York Mets baseball game at Shea Stadium in New York and the following day read the Top Ten on the Letterman TV Show.

Off-course activities

Sörenstam has begun the transition from professional golfer to entrepreneur, hoping to combine her three major passions—golf, fitness and cooking—into various businesses under the ANNIKA brand with the brand statement "Share my Passion. She has launched her own website and regularly contributes to her web blog.

Her first golf course design project, the Annika Course, was completed at Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzen, China in 2003 whilst the second design project was officially launched in January 2006 and is expected to open in 2008 at the Euphoria Golf Estate & Hydro in South Africa. As part of her business partnership with Ginn Resorts, she will be redesigning Patriots Point Links Course near Charleston, South Carolina, her first course design in the United States. This is the sister course to RiverTowne Country Club in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina with the LPGA Tour Ginn Tribute Hosted by ANNIKA event in 2007. Annika's fourth course design project at Red Mountain Resort, British Columbia will be her first from scratch in North America.

Sörenstam, who first thought of opening an academy in 2002, began construction on the ANNIKA Academy at Ginn Reunion Resort in 2006. The Academy opened in April 2007, with Sörenstam's longtime coach Henri Reis serving as head instructor, her sister Charlotta an instructor and club fitter and her personal trainer Kai Fusser focusing on overall fitness training geared toward improving students' golf skills. The academy will offer a number of "Soren-Slam Packages" that includes playing golf with the academy owner. The opening included a Make-A-Wish Foundation golf clinic conducted by Sörenstam who is a United States ambassador for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

One of Sörenstam's hobbies is cooking. She has participated in cooking demonstrations during LPGA tournaments and has talked about enrolling in cooking school. Before the 2003 season Sörenstam took the opportunity to improve her culinary skills by working eight hour shifts in the kitchens of the Lake Nona Country Club. Sörenstam has had a serious interest in investments, real estate and the stock market since she earned her first LPGA check and in August 2006 was invited to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

Personal life

Sörenstam met her first husband David Esch in 1994 in Phoenix, Arizona, where he worked for Ping. They were engaged at the 1995 Evian Masters, married in Lake Tahoe on 4 January 1997, and were divorced in 2005. She announced her engagement to Mike McGee, the Managing Director for the ANNIKA brand of businesses and son of former PGA Tour and Champions Tour player Jerry McGee, in August 2007, with a wedding planned for January 2009.

Professional wins (90)

LPGA Tour (72)

LPGA Majors are shown in bold.

Ladies European Tour (13)

Other (4)

Unofficial (1)

In addition to the 13 Ladies European Tour events listed, Sörenstam's wins in the 2000 and 2002 Evian Masters and the 2003 Women's British Open count as European Tour wins as the events are co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour, giving her a total of 16 Ladies European Tour wins.

Results in LPGA majors

Tournament 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Kraft Nabisco Championship DNP DNP DNP T24 T2 T8 T7 T7 T17
LPGA Championship DNP DNP DNP 10 T14 3 T30 T16 T12
U.S. Women's Open T64 DNP DNP 1 1 CUT T41 CUT T9

du Maurier Classic DNP DNP T22 T45 T6 CUT 2 DNP 3
Tournament 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Kraft Nabisco Championship 1 1 2 T13 1 T6 T31 T2
LPGA Championship 5 3 1 1 1 T9 T15 T3
U.S. Women's Open T16 2 4 2 T23 1 T32 T24
Women's British Open ^ T32 CUT 1 13 T5 T31 T16 T24

^ The Women's British Open replaced the du Maurier Classic as an LPGA major in 2001.
DNP = did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied for place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.

LPGA Tour record

Year Events
played
Cuts
made
Wins 2nds 3rds Top
tens
Best
finish
Earnings ($) Rank Scoring
average
1992 1 1 0 0 0 0 T64 N/A N/A 77.00
1993 3 3 0 0 0 2 4 47,319 N/A 71.09
1994 18 14 0 1 0 3 T2 127,451 39 71.90
1995 19 19 3 3 1 12 1 666,533 1 71.00
1996 20 20 3 2 1 14 1 808,311 3 70.47
1997 22 20 6 5 3 16 1 1,236,789 1 70.04
1998 21 21 4 4 2 17 1 1,092,748 1 69.99
1999 22 21 5 2 4 15 1 863,816 4 70.40
2000 22 22 5 2 4 15 1 1,404,948 2 70.47
2001 26 26 8 6 1 20 1 2,105,868 1 69.42
2002 23 22 11 3 3 20 1 2,863,904 1 68.70
2003 17 17 6 4 1 15 1 2,029,506 1 69.02
2004 18 18 8 4 0 16 1 2,544,707 1 68.70
2005 20 20 10 2 0 15 1 2,588,240 1 69.33
2006 20 19 3 5 1 16 1 1,971,741 3 69.82
2007 13 13 0 1 2 6 2 532,718 25 71.27
2008* 17 17 3 2 1 9 1 1,588,937 2 70.13
*current as of Sept 22, 2008.

Solheim Cup record

Year Total Matches Total W-L-H Singles W-L-H Foursomes W-L-H Fourballs W-L-H Points Won Points %
Career 37 22-11-4 4-3-1 11-3-1 7-5-2 24 64.86%
1994 3 1-2-0 0-1-0 lost to T.Green 1-0-0 won w/C.Nilsmark 1up 0-1-0 lost w/C. Nilsmark 6&5 1 33.33%
1996 5 3-0-2 1-0-0 def. P. Bradley 2&1 1-0-1 halved w/C. Nilsmark, won w/C. Nilsmark 1 up 1-0-1 won w/K. Marshall 1up, halved w/T. Johnson 4 80%
1998 5 3-2-0 1-0-0 def. D. Andrews 2&1 1-1-0 won w/C. Matthew 3&2, lost w/C. Matthew 3&2 1-1-0 lost w/C. Nilsmark 2 up, won w/C. Nilsmark 5&3 3 60%
2000 4 2-2-0 0-1-0 lost to J. Inkster,5&4 2-0-0 won w/ J. Moodie 1 up, won w/ J. Moodie 1 up 0-1-0 lost w/ J. Moodie 2&1 2 50%
2002 5 3-1-1 0-0-1 halved w/W. Ward 2-0-0 won w/C Koch 3&2, won w/C. Koch, 4&3 1-1-0 lost w/M. Hjorth 2&1, won w/C. Koch 4&3 3.5 70%
2003 5 4-1-0 1-0-0 def. A. Stanford 3&2 2-0-0 won w/S. Pettersen 4&3, won w/C. Koch 3&2 1-1-0 lost w/C. Koch 1 down, won w/S. Pettersen 1 up 4 80%
2005 5 4-1-0 1-0-0 def B. Daniel 4&3 1-1-0 won w/S. Pettersen 1up, lost w/C. Matthew 2 up 2-0-0 won w/C. Matthew 2&1, won w/L. Davies 4&2 4 80%
2007 5 2-2-1 0-1-0 lost M. Pressel 2&1 1-1-0 lost w/C. Matthew 4&2, won w/C. Matthew 1 up 1-0-1 halved w/M. Hjorth, w/S. Pettersen 3&2, 2.5 50%

Awards

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

  • Golf Writers Association of America Female Player of the Year (3)

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

See also

Notes and references

External links

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