Annika Sorenstam - July 2, 2012

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Tiger Woods earned his 74th career PGA TOUR win on Sunday and when she hears people say that he is “back,” she is not sure what they mean by that but she is very happy to see him winning again. His performances have been as consistent as they have been in the past but he is playing well more often and now she would like to see him play at that level in the Major Championships.

When she was asked about Tiger’s shot around a tree in the final round, she said that not too many players would even try that. Tiger has enough control in his swing to be able to have confidence that he can pull off a shot like that and he has done so more often than anyone else in the game while he has been a professional golfer.

Over the years, Tiger has been very good at not letting little things bother him and up until this week, he seemed to have problems with letting those kinds of things creep into his game and his attitude. When that would happen, his game would suffer. Tiger in his statements and his actions showed that he was not going to let the heat bother him and he was able to go out and play his game and win on a course that he likes and where he has played well in the past.

Looking ahead to The Open Championship, Tiger has played very well there in the past and he knows how to handle the elements. She thinks that he will know what to do when he gets to Royal Lytham and while he has not played as well as he would like in the first two Majors this year, you cannot dismiss the fact that he has won very impressive events on very impressive courses like Bay Hill, Muirfield Village, and Congressional.

On Friday, she participated in a “preview” event for The First Tee of Central Florida at Bay Hill. She felt that the event went very well and it is very surprising that the Orlando area does not have a First Tee chapter. She enjoyed giving a clinic for a lot of kids as well as teaching them about the nine core values and the nine healthy habits. The First Tee of Central Florida has hired a new executive director and she is very excited about the future of this chapter. The intention of The First Tee is not to create superstars in golf but instead to create solid citizens who have strong character and display strong values using golf as a vehicle for those lessons.

Ai Miyazato shot a final round 65 to win in Arkansas the week before the U.S. Women’s Open but World #1 Yani Tseng missed the cut. She spoke with Yani on Friday and Saturday and Yani is certainly disappointed in the way she played last week. Annika said that she is optimistic that she will recover and that she will be ready to compete on Thursday at Blackwolf Run. That course will be a very tough test and she knows from personal experience as she finished T41 in the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open. She is always flattered when players on the LPGA Tour seek her out for advice because when she was younger, she would seek out other players for advice and they were always very generous with her. She sees a great deal of potential in Yani and she wants her to do well in her career and in her life.

When Se Ri Pak won the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open, no one had any idea at the time what that would mean for South Korea. She was playing very well at the same time that Pak was and she got to play a number of rounds with her and the impact that Pak had on her home country was truly amazing and you continue to see the significance of that win today.

While Ai Miyazato is not a long hitter, she is very consistent off the tee and is excellent around the greens. It took her a while to become comfortable on the LPGA Tour after dominating in her home country of Japan but now that she has, she clearly has learned how to win in the United States and although Blackwolf Run is a long course, Annika would not be surprised to see Ai Miyazato contend in the U.S. Women’s Open this week.