The Swede Annika Sörenstam (* October 9, 1970 in Bro near Stockholm) has already hung up her professional career as a golfer.
She grew up in the town of Bro near Stockholm. Her father Tom was a retired manager at IBM, her mother Gunilla a bank employee. As a teenager, Sörenstam was a young hope for Swedish tennis: "I wanted to be like Björn Borg."
She was also a talented skier. The Swedish national coach recommended that the family move to northern Sweden to give her better training.
She also played soccer in her home club Bro IK. At the age of 12, her passion for golf increased, as it did for her sister Charlotta.
She initially shared the set of clubs with her younger sister, Charlotta received the odd-numbered irons, Annika the even-numbered irons.
As a junior, she was very shy. This went so far that she needed more putts than actually necessary to avoid the short speech that the winner has to give after the tournament.
As a result, the coaches ordered that the runner-up also had to give a speech, whereupon Sörenstam decided she might as well win.
She now refrained from making the extra putts. Since none of the Swedish universities had a golf team, Sörenstam enrolled at the University of Arizona in Tucson in 1990.
The switch jump-started her career. There was no language barrier, as Sörenstam's family had already lived in London for three years in the 1980s.
Both the climate, which offered good training opportunities, and competent coaches encouraged her development. In 1991, she captured the NCAA Championship with her Wildcats team and was named College Player of the Year. In 1992, she won the World Amateur Championship in Vancouver with the Swedish team.
That same year, she qualified for the US Open for the first time. Although she needed 24 strokes more than the winner Patty Sheehan, she was convinced she wanted to turn professional.
She has been playing on the LPGA Tour (Ladies Professional Golfers Association) since 1993. In 2003, Sörenstam was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Her successes and exceptional standing are comparable to Tiger Woods ' dominance in the men's game. In 2003, she became the first woman in nearly 50 years to compete in a men's PGA TOUR tournament, and as a result, she achieved great popularity even beyond the borders of golf.
Sörenstam had been a member of the European team in all eight Solheim Cup matches held during that period between 1994 and 2007. In 1995, she was honored with the Svenska Dagbladet gold medal. In 1995 and 2003, Sörenstam was awarded the Radiosportens Jerringpris.
In the women's world rankings, newly introduced in 2006, Annika Sörenstam led until she was replaced by Lorena Ochoa of Mexico in April 2007.
She won ten major tournaments in her career, ranking fourth on the leaderboard. She has won a total of 93 tournaments, 72 of them on the LPGA Tour (rank 3), making her one of the most successful players in modern golf.
In 2002, she won eleven tournaments in one season, a record she shares with Mickey Wright. In addition, Sörenstam is the only person in golf history to win a tournament five times in a row, she achieved this at the Mizuno Classic in Japan between 2001 and 2005.
In May 2008, she announced her retirement as an active player at the end of the year. "I'm just tired of the day-to-day grind. However, there will continue to be a lot of golf in my life. Besides, this season still offers seven months of tournaments and my goal is to win as many of them as possible," she said at a press conference explaining her decision.
In the future, she will focus on her role as a tournament organizer, running the Annika's Academy of Golf & Fitness in her adopted home of Orlando, Florida, and designing golf courses.
In the press, her announced retirement was also linked to her desire to have children. She married her longtime partner Mike McGee in January 2009. Sörenstam's first marriage, to David Esch, which took place in January 1997, ended in divorce after eight years.
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