Annika Sorenstam loving life as a new mom

By Associated PressOctober 13, 2009, 2:51 am
NEW YORK – At 6 weeks old, Ava Madelyn McGee is already showing a stubborn streak – just like her mom.

Annika Sorenstam isn’t too surprised at the personality her daughter is developing. Her own tenacity drove the golfer to 72 LPGA wins, including 10 majors.

But right now Sorenstam is loving leaving that world behind.

“The best thing is to not live out of a suitcase,” she told The Associated Press on Monday. “I never used to unpack because I was going two days later. Now things are actually hanging in the closet. Things are in the drawers. It’s kind of nice.”

The 39-year-old Swedish great left the tour at the end of last year, then married Mike McGee in January. Their daughter was born Sept. 1.

Ava took her first plane ride Monday. Sorenstam wasn’t going to miss the Women’s Sports Foundation’s annual banquet in New York, where she will be honored Tuesday. Sorenstam’s foundation is also partnering with the organization to create an award that will recognize a young female athlete who inspires others.

The trip went smoothly, but Sorenstam isn’t planning to do much traveling with her newly expanded family. She relishes getting to know her neighbors at her home in Orlando, Fla. – and it’s not as though she’s not busy. She’s involved in several business ventures.

And, of course, motherhood is a full-time job in itself.

“I thought leaving the tour would be hard,” Sorenstam said, “but I realized there are other things than golf.”

She practiced Sunday for the first time since her daughter was born because she’ll be playing with some of her foundation’s sponsors while she’s in New York this week. Sorenstam just did some chipping and putting; afterward, her hands and body were sore.

“It’s just very, very strange,” she said. “I took the clubs out of the garage and hadn’t really looked in the bag for months. Just making sure everything was there where it should be. Gripping the club, getting a new glove out. It’s just a feeling of holding a club that’s different.”

Sorenstam didn’t want to use the word retirement when she left the tour. She still doesn’t, but she also doesn’t sound like an athlete pining to return to competition soon.

“I didn’t want to close the doors,” she said. “You never know what can happen. I’m still young in the sense I can return to competition if I wanted to.”

And she’s never far from the game of golf. Sorenstam was involved in the sport’s successful bid to be added to the 2016 Olympics.

“I think it’s wonderful for the game of golf, maybe not in the countries where I played, in the U.S. and Sweden and the European countries,” she said. “But if you look globally it’s huge, to give other girls and boys the opportunity to play the game.”

She also serves as an adviser to the board of directors of the LPGA . The tour is seeking a new commissioner after Carolyn Bivens resigned in July, bowing to pressure from players who were upset about the organization’s economic woes and her leadership.

“We’re looking for a new leader, maybe for a little bit new direction, a little bit more focus and a vision – we haven’t had that in a while,” Sorenstam said. “It’s always tough when you change, especially when the environment is like this.

“Right now we have to be in survival mode. The economy is very, very tough and we’ve lost a few more tournaments. We’ve got to really focus on relationships – build new ones and cherish the old ones.”

Sorenstam had a day Monday that any new mother could relate to. Up at 2:30 a.m. with her daughter, she later rushed to the airport on no sleep, never even getting a chance to brush her hair. In New York, she found herself changing a diaper in the hotel lobby restroom.

She looks at Ava and marvels, “Wow, this is ours.”

“Then you start thinking about (teaching) morals and values,” she said. “It’s not easy. There’s a lot of things to balance and juggle. You just get a smile once in a while that makes it all worth it.”
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Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.