Annika Sorenstam was among the finest golfers of her era when she retired from aggressive golf in 2008 at age 38. She had gained 94 instances world wide, together with 10 main championships, and was inducted into the World Golf Corridor of Fame in 2003.
She gave little thought to golf in retirement. However whereas caught at house along with her husband and two youngsters in the course of the pandemic, Soresnstam, now 50, started taking part in golf along with her son, William, and that reignited her aggressive spirit. In February, she performed within the Gainbridge L.P.G.A. at Lake Nona Golf & Nation Membership in Orlando, Fla., the place she lives.
Later this month, she’s going to play within the U.S. Senior Ladies’s Open in Fairfield, Conn. It’s her first United States Golf Affiliation occasion for the reason that 2008 U.S. Ladies’s Open, when she made her third shot on the ultimate gap for an eagle for a storybook finish to her profession taking part in in main championships.
Not too long ago, she mirrored on her profession and the state of girls’s golf. The next interview has been edited and condensed.
What’s retirement been like?
Time flies, being a mom of two. I’ve been busy with loads of various things. We’ve began a basis, the place we’ve helped 6,000 women, and a few have gone on to Symetra and L.P.G.A. Excursions. We’ve given $7 million to junior golf.
What received you again taking part in golf?
Covid is likely one of the causes, and dwelling in Florida. Our son is basically into golf. He’s 10. He’s my observe buddy. I didn’t observe in any respect in retirement. If I had a charity occasion or a company outing, I’d hit a bucket of balls. Then with Covid, there was nothing to do. I began to hit balls. One factor led to a different. I used to observe all day; now I’ve three hours a day for figuring out and golf. I’m not going to achieve the extent I used to be at. However I can get a little bit bit higher.
What has your comeback been like?
Early on, it was irritating. In case you have nothing to play for, what are you going to do? After 2008, there was no motivation. You do one thing nicely, after which you’ll be able to’t do it. It’s no enjoyable. My golf has gone downhill. However I’ve achieved different issues on the facet. I’m additionally 50. There are different priorities. The physique is completely different. Earlier than I had the mind-set of a 35-year-old. I can’t make it up in energy and distance, however I’ve maturity.
You performed within the Gainbridge L.P.G.A. at Lake Nona with girls who regarded as much as you once they have been women. What was that like as a competitor?
It was actually cool. I stay on the sixteenth tee. And I believed: “I can’t get up within the morning and see L.P.G.A. tee markers and never be a part of it. I’ve simply received to play. What a cool factor to have the ability to do.” I’ve mentored some gamers. I believed: “Now I can see them contained in the ropes. We will do some observe rounds.” I received to play with Anna Norqvist, who was one in all my first scholarship award winners. I performed with Maria Fassi. It allowed me to narrate extra with as we speak’s gamers. I regarded outdoors the ropes, and I had associates, household there. However I made my youngsters lunch earlier than taking part in. I used to be exhausted. I have a look at all these younger girls on the market. It’s all you could have. You must give your self a break.
What’s completely different concerning the girls’s sport as we speak?
Simply have a look at school golf — they’re so nice. They’re mature. They’re stable. They’ve completed much more. They’re extra well-rounded gamers. Teaching as we speak may be very organized. They know what to do.
If you have been 12, your first handicap was a whopping 63. There are 12-year-olds now who’re 0 handicaps and taking part in in U.S.G.A. occasions. What do you make of this?
It’s not good to specialize. Then you could have 12-year-olds solely taking part in golf. I’d fear about that. You might want to be good. However you want the social half. They’re not youngsters anymore. You might want to discover a steadiness. These are the gamers who do nicely long run.