Why Annika Sorenstam is returning to the US Women’s Open at Pine Needles

SOUTHERN PINES – As a Hall of Famer and 10-time major champion, Annika Sorenstam has nothing left to prove on the golf course.

An eight-time LPGA Player of the Year and the only woman to shoot 59, Sorenstam won 72 LPGA events and competed in a men’s PGA tournament during her 16-year career.

She thought she was done with competitive golf in 2008. Then, after a 13-year break, she returned and won the 2021 US Senior Women’s Open.

That victory opened up an opportunity to compete in the 2022 US Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, the site of her dominant win in 1996.

In just over a month, the 51-year-old Sorenstam will return to Southern Pines for her first US Women’s Open appearance since she retired nearly 14 years ago.

During a conversation with reporters Tuesday at media day ahead of the championship, scheduled for June 2-5, Sorenstam highlighted several reasons for her return.

“Obviously, honored to get an invite. That is a nice gesture and I wanted to appreciate that, ”Sorenstam said.

“Peggy (Kirk Bell) was next, coming here. And then, my kids wanted me to play. They’re like, ‘C’mon, Mommy.’ Also, I’m working with these young girls and many of them – these young ladies – have played in the Annika Invitational the last few years.

“To have them out there to continue to support and inspire, you’ve got to be in the mix to talk about what it’s like, so it keeps me a little more relevant when I mentor some of these girls. Now I can do that a bit more with ease. ”

Favorite foursome

Four-time USGA champion Annika Sorenstam gives a fireside chat about her career during the US Women's Open media day at Pine Needles in Southern Pines on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. (Copyright USGA / Jason E. Miczek)

During her time away from professional golf, Sorenstam has formed a favorite foursome that includes her husband and caddy, Mike McGee, and their two children, 11-year-old Will and 12-year-old Ava.

“This isn’t necessarily about me trying to do a comeback, it was more about the family,” she said.

Prior to her eight-stroke win at the Senior Open last August, Sorenstam’s kids had only seen YouTube clips of her at the peak of her powers on the golf course. In June, they’ll get to see their mother compete against the best of the best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.