COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Annika Sorenstam’s return to the scene of her first win in a major hasn’t sparked any thoughts of a comeback.
The Hall of Famer is simply far more interested in picking up her kids than a club.
Sorenstam didn’t even pack her golf bag for her trip to the U.S. Women’s Open this week at the Broadmoor, the course where in 1995 she won the first of her 10 career majors.
Serving as an honorary chairman for the tournament, Sorenstam was her usual personable self, even hosting a clinic for kids with 13-year-old Mariel Galdiano, a qualifier from Pearl City, Hawaii, on the driving range Wednesday.
The 40-year-old Sorenstam did more socializing than swinging as she entertained the gallery.
“Once I made the decision to step away, I stepped away,” said Sorenstam, who wrapped up her career after the 2008 season. “I practice very little; I play very little.”
In March, Sorenstam gave birth to her second child, Will, who was born premature at just 27 weeks. He’s now been home for nearly two months and is up to almost 10 pounds.
Soon, he’s even going to start traveling with the family, which also includes Sorenstam’s 22-month-old daughter, Ava.
“My little buddy Will is doing great,” Sorenstam said. “It’s been a tough start for our little man, but he’s a fighter.
“Life is good. I love being a mom, and I love just the things I’m doing.”
Sorenstam still remains active in the sport even if she hardly plays. She’s set up a golf academy and foundation, along with serving on the advisory board for the LPGA.
“I’ve taken my competitive drive in a different area. I’m very competitive in the business world,” said Sorenstam, who also designs courses, has a clothing line and even is a partner in a vineyard, complete with her own signature wine. “I get my competitive fix there.”
Still, Sorenstam keeps close tabs on the tour. She’s impressed with the play of Yani Tseng, who at 22 is the youngest to win four LPGA majors.
“She has just embraced the golf world. She’s doing so many great things. She’s really taken the No. 1 spot to another level,” Sorenstam said. “She wants to be the best. She wants to be the face of the LPGA. I mean, she’s got the game.”
Not that long ago, it looked as though Michelle Wie could be the next big thing in the sport. Now 21 years old, Wie is still searching for her first victory at a major.
“When she came out there was a lot of buzz, a lot of potential from this young lady,” Sorenstam said. “I would say she has not performed to her expectations or her potential. Hopefully that will come in the next – maybe this year or the next few years to follow.”
In Sorenstam’s estimation, Wie definitely has the game to be a contender in a major. But it may boil down to commitment. Wie is also working on her degree at Stanford.
“She’s very distracted with school, doesn’t really play as much full time as I thought she would. I think she needs to come out here and compete more regularly,” Sorenstam said. “But she certainly has a lot of potential.
“The physical part is there. Sometimes, you wonder if she’s mentally strong enough to finish at the top. She has a few victories, but has not really been able to really break through, in my opinion.”
PLANE TRUTH: For Paula Creamer, one of the spoils of winning the U.S. Open last summer was her ride in an F-16 jet.
And no, she didn’t get sick, despite the jarring flight with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.
“It was a great opportunity,” Creamer said.
The 24-year-old will be paired with Yani Tseng for the first two days of the tournament, a matchup Creamer likes.
“She’s the player to beat,” Creamer said. “However, it is Thursday and Friday, so you can’t dwell too much about what’s going on out there.
“That is going to be the big key: just taking care of my own business. I can’t control what she does.”
TEE PARTY: At 7,047 yards, the Broadmoor course is the longest in the history of the U.S. Women’s Open. The committee plans to adjust the tees based on the level of play over the next few days.
“We do have plans to look at some alternate teeing grounds and really make sure that it remains a stern but fair test for these players,” said Ben Kimball, the director of the U.S. Women’s Open. “I think we’ll kind of monitor what Mother Nature is giving to us, and you may see a few more things happen on the golf course.”
GRAND PRESSURE: Juli Inkster understands the pressure Yani Tseng is under this week as she attempts to complete a career grand slam.
The 51-year-old Inkster finished off the feat more than a decade ago. She said the most difficult portion may be winning the U.S. Open.
“I don’t think it’s probably the strongest field, but I think it’s the toughest one to win,” Inkster said. “You’ve got to have a golf course to your liking and you’ve got to get some breaks.
“(Tseng) is playing extremely well. She’s fearless. She’s putting good. I think that’s what’s putting her over the edge right now.”
CHIP SHOTS: Practice was suspended Wednesday afternoon because of weather. … Juli Inkster won the U.S. Women’s Open Amateur at the Broadmoor in 1982. It was her third straight crown.