Date: December 18, 2008

Where it all began for Annika

Fifteen years ago, a little known Swede used to three-putt her final hole at junior events to avoid having to make a victory speech. Last weekend, Annika Sorenstam brought the curtain down on a glittering career which saw her win 90 individual titles and become one of the most successful golfers in history. And the ten-time LPGA major winner has a special link to Australia. Take a trip back to 1994, when fresh from being named the Rookie of the Year on the Ladies European Tour, Sorenstam travelled to Royal Adelaide Golf Club for the Holden Women’s Australian Open. Over the four days that followed, Sorenstam wrapped up the first professional victory of her developing career with a total score of 286. The win in Adelaide built her confidence and she had three top-ten finishes on the LPGA Tour that year and tied for runner-up at the Women’s British Open. It would also be the only time that Sorenstam played the Australian Open. She was also crowned the LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 1994. What followed in the next decade shot Sorenstam to the pinnacle of world golf including a debut in 2003 at the Bank of America Colonial tournament on the PGA Tour where she was adamant she could match it with the men. She remains the only woman to shoot a 59 in tour competition and in 2004 set a new lowest-scoring record with a season round average of 68.69. Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam remain the only sisters ever to win more than $1 million each on the LPGA Tour. Annika&aposs influence cannot be underestimated here in Australia. There are number of our upcoming and elite female amateurs who count Annika as the catalyst for getting them interested in golf. As one commentator remarked on Monday, Women’s golf is losing probably the greatest player it has ever known. ANNIKA SORENSTAM 90 Professional Titles (72 LPGA Tour, 14 LET, 2 ALPG, 2 LPGA-Japan) Majors: 3 US Women&aposs Opens, 3 Kraft-Nabisco Championships, 3 LPGA Championships, 1 Women&aposs British Open. 8 time LPGA-Tour Player of the Year 6 time VARE Trophy winner Career earnings: US$22 million