Annika Sorenstam - July 5, 2012

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3-time U.S. Women’s Open Champion and World Golf Hall of Fame Member Annika Sorenstam is in Kohler, Wisconsin this week for the 67th U.S. Women’s Open. Annika, who is a regular Morning Drive contributor, is also working as a commentator for NBC’s coverage.

When asked about the announcement that Dottie Pepper will be an U.S. Assistant Captain in the 2013 Solheim Cup, Annika said that she was delighted to hear the news. Annika knows how much Dottie loves the Solheim Cup and how much she has wanted to be a part of the U.S. team again. She was able to talk to Dottie on Wednesday and it is wonderful to see how happy she is with this news.

Blackwolf Run is a great course that looks very tough. She remembers a few of the tough holes from when she played in the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open there. The course has been lengthened by 500 yards since 1998 and the course is set up to favor distance over accuracy this week. Kohler is also one of the most beautiful places that she has seen in the United States and if the weather behaves, this should be a great week in a great place.

Yani Tseng can complete the Career Grand Slam with a win this week and despite her recent struggles on the LPGA Tour, Annika feels that this could be a very good week for her in part because this course seems to reward distance over accuracy and Yani is one of the longest hitters on the LPGA Tour. She has spoken to Yani this week and knows that the World #1 is a bit frustrated and disappointed by her recent performance. Annika has told Yani to go out there and relax and have fun on the course because she has the game to win and if she is able to play her own game and not try to force anything to happen, she will be successful.

1998 U.S. Women’s Open Champion Se Ri Pak has inspired so many people in her native South Korea as well as many other overseas countries over the years. Annika remembers fondly her head-to-head pairings with Se Ri and had and still has a great amount of respect for her game. You could say that Se Ri Pak’s win in 1998 at Blackwolf Run was the thing that sparked the Korean dominance of women’s golf that we are seeing today.

When asked about her favorites to win, Annika said that the Champion this week needs distance more than accuracy off the tee, consistency with their long irons, and above all, endless patience because the U.S. Women’s Open is a tough test. She mentioned Amy Yang and Cristie Kerr as possible contenders based on their games and their on-course demeanors.