Annika Sorenstam looks back on her career
Annika Sorenstam was one of the best golfers of her generation when she retired from competitive golf in 2008 at the age of 38. She had won 94 times around the world, including 10 major championships, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003.
She thought little about golf in retirement. But while stuck at home with her husband and two children during the pandemic, Soresnstam, now 50, started playing golf with her son, William, and it rekindled her competitive spirit. In February, she played in the Gainbridge LPGA at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in Orlando, Florida, where she lives.
Later this month, she will play at the US Senior Women’s Open in Fairfield, Connecticut. This is her first United States Golf Association event since the 2008 US Women’s Open, when she landed her third shot on the last hole for an eagle for a storybook. end his career playing in major championships.
Recently, she has reflected on her career and the state of women’s golf. The following interview has been edited and condensed.
How did the retirement go?
Time flies, being the mother of two children. I have been busy with a lot of different things. We started a foundation, where we helped 6,000 girls, and some went to Symetra and LPGA Tours. We gave $ 7 million to junior golf.
What brought you back to golf?
Covid is one of the reasons, and living in Florida. Our son is really into golf. He is 10 years old. He’s my workout buddy. I did not practice at all in retirement. If I had a charity event or a corporate outing I would hit a bucket of balls. Then with the Covid, there was nothing to do. I started hitting balls. One thing leads to another. I used to train all day; now I have three hours a day to train and play golf. I’m not going to reach the level I was at. But I can get a little better.
How was your return?
At first it was frustrating. If you have nothing to play, what are you going to do? After 2008, there was no more motivation. You do something right, and then you can’t do it. It’s not funny. My golf course has deteriorated. But I did other things besides. I am also 50 years old. There are other priorities. The body is different. Before, I had the state of mind of a 35-year-old man. I cannot make up for it in strength and distance, but I have maturity.
You played in the Gainbridge LPGA at Lake Nona with women who looked up to you when they were girls. What was it like as a competitor?
It was very cool. I live on the 16th tee. And I thought, “I can’t wake up in the morning and see the starting LPGA markers without being a part of them. I just have to play. What a cool thing to be able to do. I have supervised some players. I thought, “Now I can see them inside the ropes. We can do some practice laps. I got to play with Anna Norqvist, which was one of my first scholarships. I played with Maria Fassi. It allowed me to get closer to today’s players. I looked off the ropes, and I had friends, family there. But I made my children lunch before playing. I was exhausted. I look at all these young women out there. That’s all you got. You have to give yourself a break.
How is women’s football different today?
Just watch college golf, it’s so awesome. They are mature. They are solid. They have accomplished a lot more. They are more complete players. Today, coaching is very organized. They know what to do.
When you were 12 your first handicap was a whopping 63. Now there are 12 year olds with 0 disabilities playing in USGA events. What do you think about this?
It is not good to specialize. Then you have 12 year olds who only play golf. I would worry about that. You must be good. But you need the social part. They are no longer children. You have to find a balance. These are the players who do well in the long run.