Day 10 Annikas WD Means Change

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Editor's note; In the holiday spirit, the GolfChannel.com Team is counting down the 12 Days of Golf, the most memorable days of the 2007 season. This is Day 10. Watch Golf Central Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. ET for their Year-End Special!
 
Day 10It was another first for Annika Sorenstam, something, among very few things, which she had not yet done on the LPGA Tour.
 
The date was April 12, 2007, just another Thursday opening round in the world of professional golf. Except this day Annika didnt play.
 
For the first time in her Hall of Fame career, Annika Sorenstam was forced to withdraw from an LPGA event.
 
Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam went winless on tour for the first time since 1994. (Getty Images)
'I've been playing with quite a bit of pain for the past several weeks,' Sorenstam said that day in a statement. 'I couldn't take it much more and decided it was time to see someone.'
 
The pain was a result of a ruptured disk and a bulging disk in her back. The result of the pain was a six-week hiatus from the tour ' and complete upheaval in the world of womens golf.
 
Withdrawals happen all the time. Players get injured, players make excuses for not wanting to play, players pull out mid-round so that they dont shoot 88 and get kicked off tour.
 
But this was different. This was Annika. And it wasnt just because it was her first-ever WD; it was because of everything that happened thereafter.
 
Prior to her being sidelined, Annika had competed in just three tournaments on the season. Everything seemed normal when she made it into a playoff in her first start ' until she lost to someone who had 60 fewer starts on tour than she had wins.
 
Sorenstam finished eighth in her next event and 31st in her third, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Then came the Ginn Open at Reunion, where Annika was scheduled to open her own Academy just days later.
 
The Academy debut went on as scheduled; her next tee time was postponed indefinitely.
 
Indefinitely was ultimate redefined as May 31, when the tour was to contest the inaugural Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika. Sorenstam played host, and Sorenstam played competitor.
 
But between April 12 and May 31, there had been a seismic shift in the world order.
 
For the first time since the tour developed a world ranking points system, Sorenstam was not No. 1. It only took a little over a week for her to lose what she fought so many years to gain.
 
In Annikas absence, Lorena Ochoa quickly ascended to the throne. And no one has since been able to remove her. Sorenstam concluded the season in second place; though, nearly double the ranking points behind player of the year Ochoa.
 
For the year, Annika played 13 times on the LPGA Tour. She had six top-10s, but no victories. It was the first time since her rookie year of 1994 that she was shut-out in the trophy department.
 
More than anything, the biggest difference between now and a year ago at this point is perception. Annika is no longer the unquestioned No. 1 player in womens golf. In fact, shes not currently a part of the debate.
 
Would the events of 2007 have transpired as they did had Sorenstam been healthy? Will a fully fit Annika be able to usurp the lady who upended her?
 
The answer to the first question is moot; the answer to the second one highly debatable. To her credit, Annika seems as determined as ever to make the latter happen.
 
Ill be back, she said tersely after being knocked out of the ADT Championship, the season finale, to assure her winless campaign.
 
The only thing for certain is that there is a New World Order in womens golf, and Ochoa is in command. Perhaps it was a long time coming; after all, Sorenstam couldnt dominate forever ' particularly not with her admitted waning desire to compete.
 
But at least, if healthy, she could have gone down with a fight. Instead she was forced to concede her throne.
 
It was April 23, 2007 that Lorena Ochoa officially became the No. 1 player in the world. But it was nine days prior that really signaled change in womens golf.
 
Related Links:
  • Annika Withdraws from Ginn with Back Injury
  • Golf Central Special: Annika's disappointing season
  • 12 Days of Golf Countdown