An interview with Annika Sorenstam

By Lpga Tour MediaApril 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 Ginn OpenQuestion: Annika, last year at the Ginn Open you unfortunately had to withdraw because of your back injury. Now, coming into this year you are healthy and strong and coming off of a very good weekend last weekend. You had a strong finish on Sunday at the first major of the year. And also, Ginn Reunion Resort is a special place for you because it is the home of the Annika Academy. If you could just tell us your thoughts about what you're doing this week and your thoughts on entering next week's Ginn Open.
 
ANNIKA: Certainly. Of course I'm looking forward to playing this year in the Ginn Open. Like you said, it's a special place for me in many ways, and it's a little bit weird that that's the place I had to pull out with my first injury in my career and then I had the grand opening of my academy the Monday afterwards. I'm definitely looking forward to going back there with a little revenge, if I can put it that way.
 
What I'm going to do this week is really just recharge my batteries. I flew the redeye from California, got to Orlando this morning, and just been kind of running errands and catching up on the things I've missed the last two weeks. I'm going to do that for another day, and then back to practice and start grinding and preparing for next week.
 
It's kind of nice to be back home and practice, and I have a lot to work on to catch Lorena but I'm looking forward to it. I know the course real well, and it's going to be fun.
 
Q: I figured I'd start the ball rolling here since I just joined the call. Tell us what happened and how it happened last Saturday when you did take ill, and you did end up in the hospital?
 
ANNIKA: Well, it all started on Friday. You know, I had an afternoon tee time, grabbed something quickly to eat, and then made the turn and started to feel my stomach was just not feeling right and starting to lose a little energy. I made it through the round and just went back to the room and just got worse and really had a terrible night. I'm not really sure what it was, but I drank a lot of fluid and tried to keep my food down and tried to get ready for a big Saturday. I mean, I always look forward to the majors, and in this particular case I was Top 10 and really just wanted to try to play some good golf.
 
I had a very short warm up. I tried to save as much energy as possible, just hit a few balls, just hit a few putts, and went on the course and was really struggling. Energy wise it was really low and stomach was hurting and didn't feel good at all, but I just kept fighting. I was determined to finish, even though it felt at times, especially on 11 and 12 I told Terry, I know if I can make it I just didn't have any strength and it was tough to concentrate. But obviously I'm glad I finished.
 
I went to the hospital after the round to kind of get a regular checkup to make sure there wasn't anything special or anything to be worried about. I mean, they gave me they put an IV in me to give me the fluids in case I was dehydrated and they were talking about maybe possible stomach virus and gave me antibiotics so I would be prepared.
 
I felt a little better on Sunday, not great, but at least so I could play.
 
Q: Do you feel you're back to where you want to be, or close to that?
 
ANNIKA: I'm almost there. I mean, I hope this is just something temporary, a little stomach virus or something I ate. I'm hoping that this week I can charge my batteries and be fresh. It's tough to tell after you fly the redeye if you feel good or if you're tired. I'm hoping that tomorrow I'll be back and start practicing and working out again.
 
Q: Talk about your competition here, mostly Lorena, and how she's progressed and has been playing lights out.
 
ANNIKA: Yes, she certainly has. She's come off to a great start this season actually really continuing from last season I should say, playing some great golf, just it's impressive to see, so focused and so determined and so steady, shooting very low scores at tough courses. You know, she's making it tougher for somebody like me to catch her.
 
Q: What about any young players on the Tour that have impressed you so far in what you've seen this year?
 
ANNIKA: I mean, Paula is young but she's been around a little bit, but she's played very well. I mean, I think it's a great year again for the LPGA. It's very competitive. For me, I mean, I just want to keep on playing. I'm very happy with my results so far. It's been very consistent in the tournaments I've played. Now I just want to I mean, I'm staying away from injury, now I want to stay away from being sick, and I should be fine.
 
Q: My last question and I'm going to let everybody else chime in here, but this being the Masters week, your thoughts on the Masters?
 
ANNIKA: Well, I'll definitely be tuning in. I think it's one of those tournaments you don't want to miss. I just love watching it on TV. There's so much history. I mean, I've had the chance to play Augusta a few times so I know the golf course. I'll definitely be in front of the TV, and I'm sure Tiger is going to play as well as he can, so whoever can catch him will do a great job.
 
Q: Did you text message him yet?
 
ANNIKA: I have. I think he's ready. He's preparing. He's so focused.
 
Q: I wanted to know just how much better you're feeling this season after the back ailment last year, and maybe stomach flu aside, just what the difference is being able to come in and start the season healthy this year.
 
ANNIKA: Well, it's just a huge difference. Now I'm swinging the golf club again. I'm posting low scores, I'm playing consistent golf. I mean, this is fun. The last year and a half it was just me trying to swing, compromising from weaknesses, compromising from pain and all that. It just wasn't the same.
 
Now when I feel good again, it's just it gives you some energy. It gives you adrenaline, and you just want to practice and get better. So it's totally night and day, and the motivation is back.
 
Q: It's early in the season, but how much of your schedule is set? I'm down here in the central Illinois area and in Springfield, and I'm wondering if you still have plans to come back for the State Farm in July. How much of your schedule is set at this point?
 
ANNIKA: Well, I normally set my schedule when it comes out October, November, and I put down the basic tournaments, the majors and tournaments I'm defending, which this year wasn't really that much, so it was kind of open to start the season with.
 
But as of now, I have not really planned anything past the U.S. Open. I'm playing a lot of tournaments until then, more than I normally do, so I want to try and see how I feel at that time and then pace myself through the rest of the season. I can't really answer your question yet what I'm going to do later in the summer.
 
Q: Can you talk maybe a little bit about when you come here to this area, people are very receptive and they're excited to see you play. Is that something that weighs into you coming back to a tournament, especially one that you've won in the past and as recent as 2006?
 
ANNIKA: Oh, absolutely. I've always felt welcome there and actually stay with a family that's from there. So I have a nice tie, and it's been good to me.
 
When it comes to choosing tournaments and playing, I mean, there's different factors that weigh in. Of course one of them is how you feel, and going there with the fans, et cetera, but an important issue is time wise, where do you play before, where are you going to play next and how many in a row. I mean, that's really how I determine my schedule.
 
Q: You do have a major coming up here in Minneapolis in just a couple of months, the U.S. Women's Open coming to Interlachen. I think you played Interlachen with the Solheim Cup in 2002?
 
ANNIKA: That's right.
 
Q: What do you remember about the course and what are you looking forward to with that tournament?
 
ANNIKA: I love the course. Obviously Solheim Cup is a special event, and match play is different than the U.S. Open. I love old, traditional golf courses. It's a true course. I remember it being quite long, and obviously with the weather, too, a little bit, but smaller greens, and you really have to work the ball, right to left, left to right, and that's what an Open should be.
 
I'm sure that the rough will be a little bit more than what we saw at the Solheim Cup. I mean, the Open has always been my favorite tournament of the year, so I'm excited for this venue, as well.
 
Q: I don't know if you had a chance to see that Golf Journal section in the Wall Street Journal, but it did talk about players coming out of Sweden. Do you have any thoughts on any up and coming players that are coming out of Sweden?
 
ANNIKA: The young lady that just won in Mexico, Louise Friberg, it was so nice to see. I'm not really sure of the number, but it was over ten players from a little country, and to see her step up to the plate and win a tournament was really nice. You know, the growth has not been very strong the last few years, but it looks like we have a new fresh kind of generation, so obviously I'm excited to see that.
 
It's tough to keep up with all the Koreans, but we try and do our best.
 
Q: Talk a little bit about where the Academy is now, and you're also planning to take the Academy to a little place in California, too?
 
ANNIKA: Yeah, you're right. First of all, the Academy is going great. It's a dream come true for me for many years now. We've almost been open it's going to be a year at the Ginn Open. I can't believe it's gone so fast.
 
But we've had several guests this particular week. We have seven guests, ladies who are loving it. It's a fun way for me to get back to the game and share my passion for golf and fitness.
 
You know, we sat down, and at the end of April, it gets quite hot here in Orlando, and we thought we'd try something new and take our team on the road, and we're going to go to Lake Tahoe to have some packages for some members up there. It's actually a club that I belong to up there. The golf course is Old Greenwood, and Tahoe Mountain Club is the area. We're excited about that opportunity. Tahoe in June is just spectacular, so it'll be exciting.
 
We're actually thinking about doing that more in the summer. We have gotten a few requests from different clubs around the country. It's that time of year when it's too hot here and just perfect in other places, so it's kind of fun to expand a little bit without really bringing the whole academy, but we're bringing the staff.
 
Q: If you can answer one more question about the Ginn Open, in 2006 you finished fourth. If you can just talk a little bit about what you remember from the Ginn Open that year.
 
ANNIKA: Yeah, I have a lot of great memories. First of all, it's always nice to play in your home city, and I thought the crowds were spectacular. The commitment that Bobby Ginn is putting into women's golf, actually I should say golf in general, has been fantastic. I remember showing up, the first year of the event, it had almost like a major feel. He treated us very, very well, and the 18th with all the bleachers, and it was just so professional the first year, first class in so many ways. It was a great tournament, and I think all the players loved it. And of course with a purse that's over $2 million, I think it's $2.6, I think that's really saying something about his support.
 
I'm looking forward to this year. I know the field is going to be probably one of the best we have all year, so it's a good tournament for sure.
 

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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

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    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x