Annika Sorenstam Profile
|Short Name||Ms 59|
|Born||Oct 09, 1970|
|Birthplace||Bro, Stockholm, Sweden|
Although a physically slight figure, Sweden's Annika Sorenstam was a mighty force in women's golf, winning 10 Major Championships and dominating the LPGA for over a decade.
Sweden's Annika Sorenstam is perhaps the greatest women's golfer of all-time, driving a revolution in the LPGA and recording an incredible 94 professional wins before her retirement in 2008.
Sorenstam won 10 Major Championships during her decorated career and was the most successful player of the modern era of Women's Majors.
Despite steady increases in LPGA prize money, Sorenstam remains the all-time Tour money leader with $22.5million in winnings banked during her career.
Sorenstam raised the profile of the women's game and got people talking about the LPGA. It is therefore impossible to overstate her impact on the sport.
She was named the LPGA's Player of the Year a record eight times and won the Vare Trophy for the lowest seasonal average on six occasions.
Sorenstam accepted an invitation to play in the 2003 Bank of America Colonial tournament, becoming the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event since Babe Zaharias qualified for the 1945 Los Angeles Open.
She is the only woman to have broken 60 in competition, shooting 59 in the second round of the 2001 Standard Register PING on her way to victory.
Sorenstam turned out for Europe in the Solheim Cup on eight occasions between 1994 and 2007 and was the all-time points leader until the record was bettered by Laura Davies in 2011.
She continues to give back to the game through her ANNIKA Academy at Ginn Reunion Resort in Reunion, Florida. Her charitable foundation also hosts the Annika Invitational, an American Junior Golf Association event for girls.
Sorenstam was the non-playing captain of the Solheim Cup team in 2017, extending her association with the premier international team competition in women's golf.
She was also the very first women's world number one when the rankings were introduced in 2006.
A talented junior athlete who excelled in multiple sports, Sorenstam's golf career was nearly scuppered by her shyness.
She got into the habit of deliberately missing putts at the end of tournaments to avoid having to deliver a victory speech. However, once coaches and organizers got wise to this and made runners-up give a speech as well, she began clinching titles figuring if she had to speak, she might as well win.
Sorenstam was selected for the amateur Swedish national team from 1987 to 1992.
She was recruited by the University of Arizona in Tucson after being spotted playing a collegiate event in Tokyo and transferred to the school in a move that put her on the fast track to the LPGA.
Sorenstam won seven collegiate events and was the first non-American to win the individual NCAA Division I Championship.
Sorenstam joined the professional ranks in 1992, but her success was not immediate as she missed out on qualifying for the LPGA Tour by just one stroke at the final qualifying tournament for the 1993 season.
She returned to Europe to join the Women Professional Golfers' European Tour (later the Ladies European Tour) as a means to earn her career.
Sorenstam won successive Rookie of the Year awards, first in Europe and then on the LPGA.
In 1994, she recorded her first professional victory at the Holden Women's Australian Open on the ALPG Tour.
Sorenstam enjoyed a stupendous breakout year in 1995, claiming her first LPGA title at a Major Championship.
At the 1995 US Open, Sorenstam started her final round in a tie for fourth, five shots off the lead. She then shot 68 to claim a one stroke victory over Meg Mallon, who had led at the outset of the round but dropped four shots over the final 18 holes.
While her first US Open win could be considered lucky, her defense of the title was dominant as she carded an eight-under 268 to win the 1996 tournament by six strokes.
At the outset of the so-called third era of Women's Majors (which included the Women's British Open), Sorenstam won the Nabisco Championship in both 2001 and 2002.
In 2003, she completed her career Grand Slam with victories at the LPGA Championship and Women's British Open.
She would end her career with 10 Major titles: three from the US Open, three from the Nabisco Championship, three from the LPGA Championship and a single Women's British Open.
Playing with the boys
The decision to invite Sorenstam to the 2003 Bank of America Colonial raised eyebrows and drew criticism from some male players. Vijay Singh notably opposed her invitation saying she should have to qualify.
While Sorenstam acquitted herself well enough, the negative attention garnered did appear to affect her putting game. She missed the cut.
Often compared to Tiger Woods because their careers ran parallel for some time, Sorenstam partnered with him in a made-for-TV special alternate shot competition against David Duval and Karrie Webb. Woods and Sorenstam came out on top.
Annika Sorenstam's rivalry with Australia's Karrie Webb appeared to drive both players to new heights and deserves to be talked about in the same breath as the great sporting battles of our time.
The pair drove the women's game to new heights with their incredible battles that included two LPGA Tour playoffs, with each taking one.
Both of those playoff meetings occurred in 2000, with Webb winning the LPGA Takefuji Classic following a birdie on the first extra hole before Sorenstam got one back at the Evian Masters. Sorenstam holed a dramatic eagle to win the first LPGA co-sanctioned staging of the championship.
Together the pair account for a whopping 113 LPGA Tour titles and their duel for the top spot in women's golf captivated audiences for over a decade.
But for Webb breaking her streak, Sorenstam may have won the LPGA Tour Player of the Year award for ten years in a row. The Australian threw a spanner in the works by being named 1999 and 2000's best ladies player but should take some credit for driving the Swede to new heights.
Webb is second only to Sorenstam on the LPGA money list and they account for 17 of the 48 major titles won between 1995 and 2006.
The Solheim Cup
Sorenstam represented Europe eight times in the Solheim Cup and amassed a strong record, winning 22 and halving four of her 37 matches.
She was a particularly fearsome foursomes opponent, winning 11 and halving one of her 15 battles.
In both 2003 and 2005, she won four of her five matches while in 1996 she was undefeated, winning three times and halving twice.
She has been involved in two Solheim controversies. In 2000 she holed a chip but was forced to replay the shot by her opponents who said she had played out of turn. She did so, but with tears in her eyes.
In 2013, whilst a non-playing vice captain, she was accused of giving advice to a player via caddie which is not permitted in the match rules.
She captained Europe to defeat 2017.
Annika Sorenstam's personal life
Sorenstam played many sports as a young girl, but both she and her sister would become golf professionals. Younger sister Charlotte also made it onto the LPGA and they became the first siblings to both earn more than $1million on the Tour. Charlotte would also become a coach at the ANNIKA Academy.
The family engaged in many sporting activities together, with all of them avid skiers. They also enjoy games of tennis, volleyball and badminton.
In 1997, Sorenstam married David Esch, an executive at Callaway Golf after roughly two years of dating. The couple divorced in 2004 after a breakdown in their relationship attributed to the strain of the Tour.
Sorenstam remarried in 2009, shortly after walking away from professional golf with the intention of starting a family with second husband, Mike McGee.
She gave birth to a daughter, Ava Madelyn McGee, in September 2009 and in March 2011 delivered her son William Nicholas McGee.
Annika Sorenstam's net worth
Sorenstam's net worth has been pegged at $40million.
At her peak, she was the most marketable women's player in the world and enjoyed sponsorships from Callaway Golf, Lexus, Oakley, Cutter & Buck, Rolex, Kraft, Golf Digest, Ginn Clubs & Resorts, NetJets and Merrill Lynch.
She established the ANNIKA Foundation to promote the game to girls and support their development.
Sorenstam is an ambassador for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and supports several causes beyond her own projects.