Sorenstam a Privilege to Watch


WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- As the LPGA wraps up its 2002 season this week with the ADT Championship, only one question remains: Will Annika Sorenstam make even more history? The stunning Swede has already wrapped up the money title, the player of the year award and the scoring title in record fashion. Will she win this prestigious title and become the first player in 38 years to win 11 LPGA Tour events in one season?
The last woman to accomplish that feat was Mickey Wright - one year following her 1963 season, when the Hall of Fame player won a record 13 times.
Annika has won 10 of the 22 tournaments she's entered on this tour and captured both titles in the two events she played on the Ladies European Tour. That's 12 wins in 24 starts! Twelve! She has won 50 percent of the time she's played!

How special would a win be this week? 'Very special,' Sorenstam said. 'Because Mickey Wright won 13 and that's the record. And if I can win here I'd have 13.'
Annika is well aware of her place in history and of the numbers. She is legendary for logging her own statistics meticulously into her laptop after every round. And, she's a student of the LPGA Tour that she loves so dearly. Sorenstam knows just how good she is - compared to the players now and those who preceded her.

Last year at this event, Sorenstam entered the final round without a realistic chance of winning, but with the opportunity to set a season's scoring record. LPGA officials had told her she needed to shoot a 7-under-par 65 to break the record. That wasn't very realistic either. Only seven rounds under 70 had been posted all week. Just one player had been able to shoot a score as low as 67.

Annika's personal stats showed her she just needed to shoot 66. Well, she shot a course-record 65 anyhow to set the historic mark. As it turned out, Sorenstam only needed that 66. Of course, her numbers were the correct ones.

To add a little perspective about just how well Annika has played this year, let's peek into her computer. Last year, her record scoring average was 69.42. This year, the numbers say Sorenstam is averaging 68.69. That's an astounding improvement of three-quarters of a stroke per round. Extrapolate that over a 72-hole tournament and Annika's average score is three strokes better than the best in history.

Her amazing performance has been so breath-taking that her main rival, Karrie Webb, said today, 'It's a privilege for me to play with her.' The woman who has battled Sorenstam for the World No. 1 title now says she feels lucky just to tee it up with Annika. 'I think of all of those veterans who got to play with Mickey Wright and Kathy Whitworth; and how lucky they were to see them playand now I get to see Annika make history. It's a privilege.'
Yes, Karrie, it is.