I think she just wants to find out how good she really is, said Tiger Woods.
Sorenstam told The Golf Channel in an exclusive interview that was exactly the reason shes crossing the gender barrier.
Plain and simple, I want to see how good I am, she said. I love different challenges and I think this is a great motivation for me.
It all boils down to that Im curious. I love to play with the guys. We used to have a lot of mixed tournaments at the end of the year, and now we dont. Here, I get a chance to play with all of them.
Woods and Phil Mickelson were among the PGA Tour players who were asked to express the opinions on a female playing on the mens primary tour.
I'm curious as anybody to see how the best LPGA player of today, and possibly of all time, will play against the men, Mickelson said.
As is Sorenstam.
She said she and husband, David Esch, first started talking about playing in a mens event late last year. Then, in the wake of Suzy Whaley qualifying for the Greater Hartford Open in July, Sorenstam was asked in January if she would accept an invitation to a PGA Tour event.
She said yes, and the offers began to flow.
After that everything was going so crazy and I got invites from everywhere ' totally unexpectedly, she said.
Sorenstam, who won 13 times around the world in 2002, picked the Colonial because of its premium on accuracy. The course is 7,080 yards (par 70) with only two par-5s.
I think that Colonial is a wonderful course for her to do it on because the holes have a lot of dog-legs. A lot of the men have to hit irons (off the tee), and we might be able to hit from the same spot as Annika, or she might be able to hit from the same spot as us into the greens, said Mickelson, who won the event in 2000.
Mickelson also said he expects Sorenstam to make the cut and probably finish around 20th.'
How will he fare?
I hope 19th or better, he said with a laugh before adding, She's the greatest player on the LPGA Tour. It's not like she's a slouch. She's one of the best ball-strikers in the game today, and putters. I don't see it as being derogatory to finish behind her at all.
While Mickelson may compete in Ft. Worth, Texas, May 22-25, Woods will likely skip the event.
The worlds No. 1 hasnt made the trip down Hogans Alley since 1997.
I think it all depends on the golf course and how they set it up. If they set up the pins in the corners like when I played there in '97, they are hard to get to, they really are, Woods said.
Woods, who teamed with Sorenstam in winning the 2001 Battle at Bighorn, wouldnt predict how Sorenstam would fare, but said: I think it's great she's playing, butit will only be great for women's golf if she plays well. I think if she goes out there and puts up two high scores, then I think it's going to be more detrimental than it's going to be any good.
Sorenstam, however, is trying not to focus on the pressure.
I dont really know what to expect -- thats one of the reasons Im curious, she said. Its going to be such a different experience that I hope I can just hit the middle of the clubface on the first tee.
Sorenstam would be the first female since Babe Zaharias in the 1945 Los Angeles Open to compete in a PGA Tour event. Zaharias made the 36-hole cut before shooting 79 in the third round and not qualifying for the final round.
Colonial hosted the 1991 U.S. Womens Open. Sorenstam did not play that year, and said shes not sure if she will play in any other mens tournaments.
I havent really thought about anything other than this particular event, she said. Im going to take one step at a time.
This is really overwhelming. This is becoming like my fifth major.