ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Annika Sorenstam and Nick Price highlighted the group of four inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame Monday night.
Also inducted in the Class of 2003 were Hisako 'Chako' Higuchi, who was once Japan's best female golfer, and the late Leo Diegel, who won back-to-back PGA Championships in the late '20s.
Sorenstam qualified for the Hall of Fame three years ago but needed to complete 10 years on tour, which she did when she finished the first round of her 15th tournament on her 2003 LPGA Tour docket - the Samsung World Championship.
'Acceptance into the Hall of Fame means that I have gained approval from those I deeply respect,' said Sorenstam. 'I'm a little overwhelmed at achieving this so quickly in my career, however, I'm very honored to be a part of this elite group.'
She took the golf world by storm in 2003 when she became the first woman in 58 years to play with the men of the PGA Tour at the Colonial. She missed the 36- hole cut but played better than expected with rounds of 71-74 and earned millions of fans with her displays of class and emotion.
'My experience was like a fairytale, and I didn't want it to end,' said Sorenstam. 'But I do consider it the best learning experience I have ever had.'
Her 2003 campaign has not been all about broken barriers and fan accumulation. Sorenstam completed the career Grand Slam with wins at the LPGA Championship and the Women's British Open. She has five titles this season and collected 47 titles in her LPGA Tour career, including six majors.
Sorenstam won 11 times in 2002, became the first woman in history to shoot a 59 in the second round of the 2001 Standard Register PING and also became the first woman to break the $2 million mark in single-season earnings in 2001.
Price, who is from Zimbabwe, tallied three major titles among his 18 PGA Tour victories. He captured the 1992 PGA Championship, then won that event and the British Open two years later.
His 1994 campaign ranks among the best in recent memory as in addition to his two majors, Price won four more championships, captured the money title and picked up his second Player of the Year honor.
At the age of 46, most golfers start to get one eye on the Champions Tour but Price has not slowed. He won the Colonial in 2002, is ranked 11th in the World Golf Rankings and has posted five top-10s, including a pair of runner-ups at the Byron Nelson Classic and the St. Jude Classic.
'Like so many others who've been inducted into this wonderful Hall of Fame, I am indeed very, very fortunate,' said Price, who will play in his fifth Presidents Cup for the International squad in November. 'I was blessed with a talent to do something that I love and enjoy and also make my profession.'
Higuchi was one of the charter members of the Japan LPGA Tour and was one of their best during the 1960s and 1970s. She won the money title nine times and became the first Japanese player to win an LPGA Tour major championship when she bested Sandra Post and Pat Bradley by three at the 1977 LPGA Championship.
'It is my greatest honor to be selected to the World Golf Hall of Fame,' said Higuchi, who is currently the head of the Japan Ladies PGA.
Diegel won 31 times and overtook Walter Hagen with a 2-up victory in the 1928 PGA Championship. He won the title the following year and played on the first four United States Ryder Cup teams. Diegel's 9 & 8 win over Abe Mitchell in 1929's 36-hole single match ranks as the most lopsided win in a 36-hole match in Ryder Cup history.