Even in retirement, the honors keep coming to Annika Sorenstam.
The U.S. Golf Association announced Tuesday that Sorenstam is the winner of its 2012 Bob Jones Award, the highest honor bestowed by the golf governing body. The award is presented in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship. Since first presented in 1955, the winners have included Francis Ouimet, Babe Zaharias, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Nancy Lopez, Mickey Wright and Tom Watson. Last year’s winner was Lorena Ochoa.
“Annika has consistently exhibited the specific character trait – distinguished sportsmanship – that the Bob Jones Award was established to recognize, and has done so while achieving a level of success that few have equaled,” USGA President Jim Hyler said in a statement. “It is not only the number of tournaments that she won during her incredible career, but the way she conducted herself, always gracious in victory and defeat, always respectful of her opponents and the game itself.”
Sorenstam, winner of 72 LPGA titles, 10 major championships and eight Rolex Player of the Year awards, was named a USGA ambassador three years ago. In ’09, the International Golf Federation named her a global ambassador.
“It is truly an honor to receive the prestigious Bob Jones Award from the USGA, as the past recipients are some of the greatest names in the history of the game,” Sorenstam said in a statement. “He is known for his character and I have always tried to pride myself on being respectful to others both on and off the course. Though I am no longer competing, I appreciate the USGA recognizing our hard work, and I will continue to try to grow and promote the game through many foundation initiatives.”