Annika Sorenstam’s foray again into aggressive golf in February on the inaugural Gainbridge LPGA at Lake Nona, the membership in Orlando, Florida, the place Sorenstam lives, left many in her fan base wanting more.
Get prepared for the summer of Annika.
Sorenstam is in Sweden this week competing in and co-hosting the Scandinavian Mixed together with fellow Swede Henrik Stenson. She has additionally introduced that subsequent month, she is going to compete in the American Century Championship, a 54-hole Modified Stableford occasion to be performed July 9/11 at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Club in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Sorenstam final performed the occasion in 2014 and completed T-2. She additionally has already dedicated to the U.S. Senior Women’s Open in August.
Sorenstam, a part-time resident of Lake Tahoe, is the fourth feminine to enter an American Century subject that includes a number of sports activities and leisure stars. She joins NBC News/TODAY Show host and meteorologist Dylan Dreyer, NBC Sports anchor and on-air character Kathryn Tappen and Golf Channel on-air commentator Kira Okay. Dixon, 2015’s Miss America, in the feminine contingent.
Golfweek caught up with Sorenstam from Sweden to hear about her summer of competitors, her sport and participant obligations.
You’ve signed up to play in the American Century Championship, which makes fairly a trio of aggressive begins for you this summer between the Scandinavian Mixed and the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. Why American Century?
Tahoe is sort of our second residence. We’ve been there for years and we spend the summer there. I simply assume it’s actually such a tremendous place, there’s nothing extra stunning. I really like the format, I feel it’s enjoyable golf. It’s critical nevertheless it’s a lot enjoyable – the ambiance is nice. The guys and the ladies which might be enjoying are tremendous good so it’s like critical however not likely, and I want aggressive rounds. I want simply to preserve enjoying and try this. Why not? We’re going to be in Tahoe all summer and I’ve performed there earlier than, nice reminiscences from simply follow rounds however then even enjoying (in 2014). It’s lead-up preparing for the Women’s Senior Open.
Speaking of the Scandinavian Mixed, you’re making ready to play in – and in addition internet hosting! – that occasion this week. The proven fact that these subsequent two begins are in combined fields, why is that essential to you at this level in your life and your profession?
I’m a believer that we are able to develop the sport in alternative ways. This will not be the one manner to develop it, completely not. But I feel it’s a manner to create some extra curiosity, a little bit pleasure, a little bit little bit of consciousness to the sport after which additionally I feel the timing could be very proper for some of these initiatives. It’s totally different, so yeah it takes a little bit – not simply planning – the logistics in fact are going to be actually essential. I feel it’s enjoyable for some future occasions, transferring ahead, for companions and to really feel like they’re together with girls.
It’s like we at all times discuss, to develop the sport we’ve acquired to be sure it’s inclusive and accessible and I feel these are the issues we are able to do in our area. So due to this fact, so far as simply why these? I feel the timing has quite a bit to do with it. Being in Sweden and I feel it’s an incredible start, however then we’re right here along with my match subsequent week and so I’ve a number of extra occasions earlier than the U.S. (Senior) Women’s Open and so it simply turned out to align properly, I assume.
Annika Sorenstam through the 2014 American Century Championship.
Looking forward to the U.S. Senior Women’s Open – it’s your first USGA championship in 13 years and positively a unique subject make-up than the Gainbridge at Lake Nona. What excites you most about that occasion?
I look ahead to seeing all my veteran buddies. All the seniors, I look ahead to catching up with them, I haven’t seen a lot of them – much more than 13 years for a few of them. So I feel it’s good. I would like to help the occasion as a result of the USGA, it’s an enormous dedication from their behalf. So how can I help them? I’m actually having fun with enjoying now, despite the fact that it’s a unique stage, my expectations are totally different. I’m having fun with enjoying. My youngsters are extra a part of what I do than after I was youthful. Now they need me to play, they need to see me. It actually is a household effort on a number of ranges. It’s in the summer, they’ll go there and they are often with me. Mike (McGee, her husband) goes to caddie for me. It’s simply a number of enjoyable issues to do, and I’m completely in a unique area in my life or no matter you name it, totally different chapter. Just help the occasion and see the gamers is what I look ahead.
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Rewind two or three years – even 10 or 11 years. Could you’ve got imagined that at 50, you’d compete thrice over the course of the summer?
No, I don’t know – possibly hit a midlife disaster. (Laughs) But after I stepped away, they didn’t have these two girls’s seniors. I’m solely going to play one. But they didn’t have the U.S. Women’s Senior after I stepped away and I used to be accomplished, I actually was. But I feel, with COVID, simply sure stuff you understand that’s enjoyable, that’s essential and spending time with my household, particularly our son Will he loves golf a lot. I spend time with him on the market and I used to be simply watching him. I used to be like, I’d as effectively deliver my golf equipment. And then after I start bringing my golf equipment and I start working towards, I start to hit it a little bit higher which is extra enjoyable. And now I’m inspiring him.
We actually have a enjoyable connection collectively there and I would like him to see what it takes to be good at one thing as a result of he’s very, very aggressive. I feel a number of issues – one factor led to one other and once more simply wanting to help these occasions as a result of if gamers don’t help them, they may go away. I feel it’s enjoyable that they’ve them and due to this fact, to reply your query, the reply isn’t any I by no means actually considered enjoying and, once more, and I actually didn’t for 11 years. I did a number of charity outings and company occasions the primary 10 years and typically I really feel like I’m ranging from scratch as a result of I haven’t accomplished it and I definitely haven’t competed.
Annika Sorenstam through the 2014 American Century Championship.
As somebody who was the face of the LPGA for a very long time and did numerous interviews: One factor we noticed this previous week was Naomi Osaka’s determination not to do press on the French Open. As a participant, we all know you had been sort of a shy participant and had to recover from that, what are your ideas on Naomi’s determination and the way you deal with that?
First of all, I feel all of us want Naomi the very best of well being. If you don’t have well being, you actually don’t have a lot. And psychological well being is one thing that, I really feel, will not be actually talked about. It’s nearly like persons are quiet about it, they’re ashamed about it. I applaud her for bringing that to the forefront and addressing it. But there’s little doubt that being an athlete, you’ve got some accountability and it’s a positive line, there’s little doubt. Players deal with issues very in another way, nevertheless it’s additionally a part of enjoying on that large stage. I feel it was good that she addressed it, and hopefully now she will be able to get assist however hopefully others can get assist.
In the top, the message got here by and I feel – inside golf, we haven’t actually had this kind of state of affairs happen. It wants to happen, however I additionally assume you’ve got to discover that steadiness of what expectations are and being position fashions. It’s not a straightforward path to take for positive however I feel it’s good that she introduced it up. Hopefully she will get assist and will get higher as a result of she’s good for the game, she’s an incredible feminine athlete so I want her the very best and hope to see her quickly once more.