Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik & Annika Preview, Picks & Analysis
THE LEGENDARY Annika Sörenstam will tee it up on home soil for the first time in 13 years alongside fellow tournament host Henrik Stenson at the Scandinavian Mixed Hosted by Henrik and Annika at Vallda Golf and Country Club in Gothenburg from June 10-13, 2021.
During her 16-year Hall of Fame career, Sörenstam amassed 89 victories worldwide, including ten Major Championships before retiring in 2008 to start a family. The 50-year-old was initially announced as a non-playing host alongside Stenson for the inaugural edition of the event, scheduled to take place at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club in Stockholm in 2020, however it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After 13 years away from professional golf, Sörenstam made the cut in February this year at her first competitive outing at the Gainbridge LPGA at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club in Florida and will now return to action in Sweden this June following her last appearance on home soil at the 2008 Scandinavian TPC in Stockholm.
The eight-time Solheim Cup player’s decision to join the field of 78 men and 78 women brings a new level of excitement to the innovative mixed tournament co-sanctioned by the European Tour and Ladies European Tour.
With a prize fund of €1,000,000 for the entire field and Official World Ranking points on offer for both Tours, plus Race to Dubai and Ryder Cup points for European Tour members, and Race to Costa del Sol and Solheim Cup points for the Ladies European Tour, there is bound to be huge interest in what will be a highly competitive event.
“I’m excited to tee it up at the Scandinavian Mixed and to be back playing competitively in my home country of Sweden for the first time in 13 years,” said Sörenstam.
“Since retiring in 2008 I have dedicated a lot of my time to the ANNIKA Foundation, which hosts seven global events for junior girls each year including the ANNIKA Invitational Europe which will be at Isaberg Golf Club in Sweden following this year’s tournament, so I felt like it was a perfect opportunity to actually play in this historic event bringing women and men together in a combined professional tournament.
“It is another way to bring our game to the younger generation in Sweden and for those watching around the world, showcasing that golf is truly a game for everyone.”
Stenson, an 11-time European Tour winner, added: “I’m delighted that Annika, one of the greatest golfers the world has ever seen, will be teeing it up at Vallda this June.
“It’s going to be a great week and I’m sure a real thrill for all of the players in the field to have someone of Annika’s stature playing in the tournament. I can’t wait to see the dynamics of having both men and women going head-to-head for the same trophy and putting it all on the line come Sunday afternoon.
“Our hope is that through the Scandinavian Mixed, and many other golf tournaments, Annika and myself can help inspire the next generation of golfers in Sweden and around the world. The Henrik Stenson Foundation is committed to helping children with a dream by providing the initial spark to start them on their mission in life, with our initial focus on Paragolf and junior golf, delivering international events and scholarships highlighting the inclusive nature of our game.”
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of the European Tour, said: “Inclusivity and innovation are two of our key pillars and we are delighted to have global stars in Henrik and Annika leading the way as hosts of the Scandinavian Mixed in their home country of Sweden as we continue to drive golf further. We have been in close collaboration with the women’s game in recent years, not only on the European Tour, but also across the European Challenge Tour and Staysure Tour with events held in Northern Ireland and Jordan. This tournament is the next step for male and female golfers to compete together on one course, for one prize fund, and one trophy.”
So how is the tournament going to work? The men and women will play on the same course, with just one trophy and one first prize up for grabs. Unsurprisingly, it has attracted a terrific field from the LET, including Lee-Anne Pace, Carly Booth, Alice Hewson, Annabel Dimmock, Caroline Hedwall and Becky Morgan.
Among those playing for male pride are Stenson, Joost Luiten, Sam Horsfield, Aaron Rai, Renato Paratore and George Coetzee.
Valida Golf Club is located on the outskirts of Gothenburg and measures 7,060 yards. It was designed by Martin Hawtree and is a heathland layout that features plenty of bunkers undulating greens and thick rough.
Dutchman Joost Luiten has been showing some decent form of late with four top-15 finishes in five starts. He is capable of incredible bursts of scoring and is one of the best putters on the European Tour. This is a short-ish course and it should suit him. Sam Horsfield won twice last year and managed to finish in a tie for 49th place at the PGA Championship despite a second round of 80. He also finished third in Kenya and fourth in the Lopesan Open. Gabriella Cowley, aged 25, and Liz Young have both won events on the Rose Ladies Series this year.
Sam Horsfield. Mercurial talent
Joost Luiten. Coming back to his best
Caroline Hedwall. A class act
Five to Follow:
Sam Horsfield. Ready to win again
Joost Luiten. Brilliant putter
Caroline Hedwall. Will revel on home soil
Gabriella Cowley. A recent winner
Henrik Stenson. Swede could do with a decent week
Five Outsiders to Follow:
Annika Sorenstam. It will be fun to watch her
Lee-Anne Pace. Veteran who is still capable of producing some big weeks
Carly Booth. Gorgeous golf swing
Max Kieffer. Has shown some outstanding form this season
Richie Ramsay. Determined Scot
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