Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Swedish Golf Legend Retires

She has recorded 88 wins across the globe, including 10 major golf championships. She qualified for the LPGA Hall of Fame in 2003. That same year, she became just the sixth player in LPGA history to complete a career Grand Slam when she clinched the Women's British Open title. She also made history in May of 2003, when she became the first woman since 1945 to compete against the men at The Colonial on the PGA Tour. She missed the cut, but she stirred the pot and excited the golf world by just being able to compete in the first two rounds. As a female sports journalist, I was captivated by her story at The Colonial and rooted for her to make the cut.

Annika Sörenstam is calling it a career after 14 years as a professional golfer. The 37-year old Swede from Stockholm held a press conference yesterday to announce her retirement, effective at the end of this season.

Sörenstam says it was a difficult decision to reach but that it's the right decision. At the time of her retirement announcement, Sörenstam finds herself just 16 victories shy of the all time LPGA Tour record and five short of the record for major titles. Sörenstam jokes that she doesn't enjoy uttering the "R" word. But she says she wants to pursue other priorities in her life, other dreams. She adds that while she will be stepping away from competition, she will be very engaged in the game in a different way. Among her new priorities to devote time to in her upcoming retirement with be her golf academy and the ANNIKA Foundation, helping and inspiring children to develop and reach their dreams.

Sörenstam will end her pro golf career at the Dubai Ladies Masters, where she will defend her title in December.

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