Looking out for No 1


Annika Sorenstam knows what No. 1 Lorena Ochoa’s going through with so many challengers wanting to take away her top ranking.

Ochoa, whose lead is shrinking in the Rolex World Golf Rankings, will be looking to re-establish her dominance this week at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

“I think [the top spot] is up for grabs a little bit,” said Sorenstam, the former No. 1 who is pursuing business interests and expecting her first child in September. “It’s hard to be at the front because you’re leading the pack. It’s like you go in the forest, you’re moving the trees, you decide the route, the people are just following. It’s easier to follow.

“When I was chasing somebody, I knew who was there. I knew what they were shooting. You have to do the work, obviously. But when you’re there [on top], how do you set new bars? You start winning three tournaments a year and then it’s four. How do you improve on four? You go to five. Then you win eight or nine, and one year 11. Can you imagine after New Year’s you wake up and say what do I have to do now? Do I have to win 12? It makes you tired just thinking about it and trying to figure out, ‘Do I hit 1,000 balls today? Do I do more pull-ups?’ You get to the point where you get so tired, and it’s hard to maintain that. Once you let go a little bit, then people catch you, which is great. But then you have to start the engine again. The question is are you ready for that? There’s only so much you can do.
“All I did was live, breathe and eat competitive golf. And I don’t regret it at all. But there’s only so long you can do it. Lorena’s getting married in December, and you can see she’s very involved in her foundation work. Those are things I did later in my career. I’ve done the same path as her, it just took me a little longer, and that’s why I think I had those years where I was so focused and nothing else mattered.

“She’s distracted. But it depends on what you want. I think she’s very happy.”