Annika Sorenstam - September 20, 2012

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When asked about intimidation in golf, Annika said that she would not describe herself as being intimidated by a course or a person although she said that she certainly respected certain opponents and courses. One year, she was playing in the U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont when she was hitting golf balls on the range and one of her divots landed on the head of Dottie Pepper. Pepper was one of the best players in the world at the time and gave an intense stare at Annika before tossing the divot back at her. Annika admitted that she felt a bit intimidated at that moment.

Rory McIlroy is at the top of his game right now and while Tiger Woods may have more experience at East Lake, McIlroy is so young right now that he is often making his first trip to a course when he is playing in a tournament. While experience is important, it is not too important with McIlroy because he also has the chance to play practice rounds and get to know the course before the tournament begins.

Jiyai Shin won the RICOH Women’s British Open by 9 strokes during a week where the second round was started and then reset and the cut was lowered to top 50 and ties in order to get the tournament in on Sunday with a 36-hole finish. Annika said that she supported the decision to reduce the cut in order to finish on Sunday because she knows that if the event was forced to Monday, no one would have watched and the tournament would have received significantly less coverage.

With all of the discussion about Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods over the past few weeks, it is amazing that no one is talking about the many other notable players in golf including Phil Mickelson. Mickelson is a 4-time Major Champion and a World Golf Hall of Fame member who has finished in the top 4 in each of the last 2 events in the FedExCup Playoffs. Despite the fact that he has won at East Lake twice but is not being discussed is quite surprising.

When asked what her first club deal was, she said it was with Callaway Golf and that is the only club deal that she has ever signed. She also hopes that it will be the only club company that she ever signs with. Annika said that she is very happy with her equipment and very happy to have been with Callaway Golf as long as she has.

Fred Couples will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2013 and since no one on the ballot received at least 65% of the vote, Couples will be inducted despite earning only 51% of the vote. She thinks that Couples is a great player who has done a lot for the game of golf and is well known for his swing, personality, and performances. She is very happy to see Couples become a member.

The World Golf Hall of Fame is a tough Hall of Fame to enter for LPGA Tour players because it is based on a points system unlike the PGA TOUR where people can vote to determine who will be inducted. The LPGA Tour process is more black and white and while there are reasons to support a subjective vote, she is fine with the more objective process.

She does not expect Couples to be the only inductee in 2013 and as someone who votes on induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, she knows how many impressive people are on the ballot this year. Ken Venturi has had an impressive career as a player and as a broadcaster while both Colin Montgomerie and Ian Woosnam have had distinguished careers around the world on the European Tour as well as in the Ryder Cup.

Annika Junior Day is being held this Saturday and it is being held in honor of Holly Baxter. Baxter was a friend of her husband’s family and this is the third year of the event where the goal is to inspire kids and give them opportunities through the game of golf. Every year, about 40 kids are invited to this event and they have the chance to enjoy a day learning about the game of golf and all of its great lessons and values while remembering Holly Baxter.