Sorenstam focused on hosting tournament helping kids
She’s going to return to the LPGA ... as a tournament founder and host.
Sorenstam is determined to host her own LPGA event in Orlando to benefit her new children’s wellness foundation at Florida Hospital. She’s just beginning talks with LPGA commissioner Mike Whan about structuring a tournament and finding a sponsor.
“I will make it happen,” said Sorenstam, a Hall of Famer with 72 LPGA titles. “It’s just a matter of when, and how we’re going to set it up. Is it going to be full field? I don’t know.”
Sorenstam’s made almost all her dreams come true, so who’s going to bet against her? She was, after all, undaunted after retiring in a recession. She launched a clothing line, a wine business and her own perfume in the toughest of times. Sorenstam says she’s driven to use her passion for golf and the LPGA to benefit children at the new Annika Foundation Wellness Center at Florida Hospital. Sorenstam makes her home in Orlando with her Annika Academy based at Reunion Resort.
“I want to do something like what Arnold Palmer’s done here in Orlando,” Sorenstam said. “I think that’s been fantastic.”
Sorenstam knows she can’t get a tournament started earlier than 2012, but she’s seeking Whan’s help in accelerating the process.
“I want an event that will last,” said Sorenstam, who will be one of the legendary player instructors in Golf Channel’s upcoming “12 Nights at the Academy” series. “I don’t want a tournament for two or three years. I’m looking for something with a solid base and long-term partnerships. It doesn’t have to start big.
“It’s different than me just saying I’m having an event and inviting three players. I can do that on any day. That’s why I’m talking to the LPGA. This would be a little different. It’s all about space in the schedule. There are so many pieces to an event.”
The series “12 Nights at the Academy” begins Nov. 29. Sorenstam will appear on Dec. 1 (7:30 p.m. ET). Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Greg Norman are among the headliners. In Sorenstam’s appearance, she details to host Kelly Tilghman the best lesson she’s ever received, a lesson from her father that was as much about life as golf. Tilghman also draws out how Sorenstam hit nerve-racking tee shots, like the opening drive Sorenstam struck when she played against PGA Tour pros at the Colonial in 2003, and how Sorenstam overcame nerves to become the only player to shoot 59 in an LPGA event.
While Sorenstam, 40, showed she can still make a bunch of birdies tying for 15th in the mixed men’s and women’s Pebble Beach Invitational last weekend, she insists she has no desire to return to the LPGA as a player. She told Tilghman she’s focused on expanding her family with husband Mike McGee and wants a second child. The couple’s first, Ava Madelyn McGee, turned 1 in September.
Sorenstam’s desire to improve children’s health is manifest in the Annika Foundation Wellness Center. The center opened in April with a Sorenstam gift of $350,000. The center’s aimed at curbing the problems caused by obesity. A team that includes a medical doctor, psychologist, nutritionist and fitness expert treat struggling children. The center opened with five children enrolled and has grown to 40.
“There’s a long line of families who want to apply,” Sorenstam said. “It’s just that we’re not big enough to take them all yet. We are just in this temporary building right now, but our goal is to have a state-of-the-art facility right by Florida Hospital. Kids work with the team. It’s not just about eating right. It’s about exercise, the whole thing. Some of these kids have diabetes, so they have to work with a doctor, some have psychological issues.”
If Sorenstam has her way, they'll all have help.
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
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18