Annika Sorenstam - The Return of a Legend
It was 13 years ago that Annika Sorenstam retired from the LPGA Tour, bringing the curtain down on a glittering career that ranks alongside the finest in golf history, but this Thursday, the World Golf Hall of Fame member returns to the competitive arena at the Gainbridge LPGA.
Now 50, the legendary Swede has decided to venture back into the spotlight at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club, her home course, where she lives with her family just alongside the 16th hole.
“This is, again, not a comeback. It’s an appearance, and I’m just thrilled about that," the ten-time major champion was quoted on the LPGA Tour Website.
Since stepping away from tour life in 2008, Sorenstem has married Mike McGee, had two children, and engaged in a variety of business and charitable projects. She also captained Europe at the Solheim Cup in 2017.
This return is a pre-emptive effort ahead of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open in August, where Sorenstem hopes to contend. She recently played with her father in December's PNC Championship and in the celebrity division of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in January.
But entering an official LPGA Tour event, competing with the best players in the world, is a significant move, and it will be fascinating to see how she performs, teeing off alongside compatriots Anna Nordqvist and Madelene Sagstrom.
Sorenstam reflected: "I've been away for 13 years. A lot of things have happened. I don't have the hunger that I did, I'm not chomping at the bit like I used to. I'm just excited to be out here and be playing and swinging the club.
"My priorities and also my expectations are nowhere where they need to be, but I'm trying with what I have and I'm looking forward to being part of this and looking forward to the summer and playing in the Senior Women's Open. We'll see how that goes."
When the legacy of Sorenstam is considered, it's remarkable. There are 72 wins on the LPGA Tour, 17 on the Ladies European Tour, those aforementioned ten major championships, eight Solheim Cups, a record eight Player of the Year Awards, a historic competition round of 59, and her bow at Colonial in 2003, which made her the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event since 1945.
This may simply be a one-off, cameo appearance, but it's good to see her back.
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