Annika has been awarded the 2012 Bob Jones Award by the USGA. She was very familiar with the award and has great admiration for all of the past winners. She found out when she was in Sweden just prior to the Solheim Cup and she had to keep it a secret for several weeks. It is a wonderful thing that the USGA has bestowed this honor on a number of significant women including Lorena Ochoa last year.
When you play in your home country and especially your home course in a tournament it is very exciting and you definitely want to show your friends and the audience that you can perform under pressure. It is a big deal when you can win an event on your home course. The fact that Yani Tseng was able to do that last week in Taiwan is very significant for Yani as well as the entire nation of Taiwan.
She is not surprised by Jack Nicklaus’ comments about course construction projects being shut down in China because she has been over there herself and knows what is happening. The reason, she feels, has to do with protecting the farmland for the rest of the people in China. It is her understanding that the Chinese government does not want to exploit the land at the expense of the citizens however it is not an environmental issue. Doing business in China is very difficult and it takes a long time just to start a project there. It is even more difficult when the government can cancel a project two weeks before completion as they have with Jack Nicklaus’ project.
Reacting to the news of the split between Rory McIlroy and ISM, she said that the timing of the split is very interesting but she has no idea what is going on behind the scenes. The relationship with an agent can be very similar to that of a caddie as many people do not know a lot of details about that relationship and there can be plenty of changes. She has been with IMG for the last 16 years and your goals and needs evolve over time. At this point in her life, her needs involve her foundation, course design, teaching facility, and other long-term projects outside of playing golf. IMG is able to support those needs and that is a big reason why she is still with them. Darius Rucker is performing as part of Annika and Friends in Sandestin in May 2012 and she is very excited about that event which will raise money for her foundation. She made sure to include Erik and Gary among her “friends.”
On the delay of the PGA TOUR Player of the Year voting until after the WGC-HSBC Champions, she said that if she were in Luke Donald’s shoes she would feel as though the process were sketchy as well. She would be an advocate of making the PGA TOUR Player of the Year based on a points system as that is the system on the LPGA Tour. It would be about accomplishment and not politics in that case. Everyone will know how much wins are worth and the results will be straight forward. There can still be a conversation over who the Player of the Year is with a points system but with such a system in place, players will be able to make their case with their golf clubs and not with lobbying.
Commenting on the USGA/R&A ruling that you are no longer penalized for having the wind move your ball, she is in complete support of the change as it makes everything more fair and she does not believe that someone should be penalized because of circumstances outside one’s control. If she could change a rule, she would advocate changing the rule where one has to play out of a divot in the fairway.
She said that there is a big announcement later Thursday relating to the future of the Reunion Resort in Orlando, Florida where her academy is located. Her favorite Halloween costume growing up was Bjorn Borg as she was a huge fan of tennis growing up and she would wear the headband, wristbands, and short white shorts just like Borg wore on the tennis court.