Sorenstam Launches Annika Academy
Sorenstam opened her first 'Annika Academy,' a 5,400-square-foot teaching facility at Ginn Reunion Resort modeled after the golf and fitness programs that have led her to 10 majors and more than 80 victories worldwide.
'Our goal is to inspire our guests,' Sorenstam said. 'I will get a chance to share my passion for golf and for fitness with all golfers, of all ages, of all skill levels, all around the world.'
Sorenstam gave a tour and some instruction to Darius Rucker, lead singer of 'Hootie and the Blowfish.'
Her own golf is on hold. Sorenstam learned last week that she has a ruptured disk and herniated disk in her back and will miss at least a month, perhaps more from the LPGA Tour.
Mark Steinberg, her agent at IMG, said doctors told Sorenstam she likely will not need surgery, and rehabilitation over 10 to 14 days would give them a better idea when she might be able to return.
'I thought it was something muscular and I was going to be OK,' said Sorenstam, who wore a neck brace during a brief interview. 'My doctor was telling me about my injury and I said, 'But I'm playing tomorrow. What am I going to do?' And he looked at me and said, 'You're not playing.' That's when it hit me.
'Nothing stops me, and that's the problem,' she said. 'I'm just go, go, go. I need somebody to tell me to stop. And here I am.'
Lately, Sorenstam has divided her time between competition and business, and she has found herself more excited by the business prospects of creating the 'Annika' brand, which starts with the academy.
The academy includes a modern fitness room with free weights and state-of-the-art cardio machines, and two large hitting booths equipped with video analysis and Callaway Golf club fitting. It also has a driving range, putting green and short-game area.
Sorenstam said she will be at the academy at least a dozen times a year, including five times as part of the 'Soren-Slam Package' that includes a round of golf with her. The cost for that three-day program is $12,000 and already is sold out for this year.
When she is not at the academy, she will be sharing her coaches -- Henri Reis (swing) and Kai Fusser (fitness), along with her sister, Charlotta, who will be one of instructors.
Sorenstam gave a clinic to kids from the Make-A-Wish Foundation and to Rucker, handling the microphone with ease as she offered instruction and answered questions. It was quite a transformation for the shy, Swedish girl whose only goal was to make it to the LPGA Tour, and who purposely lost tournaments as an amateur because she was afraid of making a speech.
'It's impossible to think 12 years ago she could be doing this,' Steinberg said. 'Her mind wouldn't have gone here. She has completely come into her own. Nobody told her how to do this.'
Sorenstam said she thought of an academy about five years, about the time she began to establish herself as the dominant player of her generation. She took fitness to a new level for women's golf as she prepared to play in the Colonial on the PGA Tour in 2003. Since then, she has piled up enough majors for the career Grand Slam and enough victories to challenge Kathy Whitworth's record of 88 on the LPGA Tour. Sorenstam is at 69, although getting 20 more depends on her back.
The academy is the first step in building her 'Annika' brand, which she hopes will represent traits of her as a player.
'You come here, and you get a sense it's me,' she said. 'Obviously, the competition took me here, and that's the foundation, which I would say is quite solid. I like to stand for those attributes -- consistency, inspiration, class. All those should reflect in everything I do.'
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Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president