World No. 1 Annika Sorenstam joins defending champion Laura Davies, natives Karrie Webb and Rachel Teske and reigning U.S. Open champion Hilary Lunke, as the start of the LPGA season looms just weeks away.
For Sorenstam, a new year brings a new set of challenges, although she will be hardpressed to top her incredible previous two seasons. Last year, her six LPGA Tour victories were highlighted by two major wins, the Weetabix Women's British Open and the McDonald's LPGA Championship.
In 2002, Annika won an amazing 11 LPGA titles and 13 events worldwide.
It was, of course, her playing in the PGA Tour's Bank of America Colonial in Texas that brought about possibly the biggest media frenzy ever fallen on a woman athlete. Despite missing the cut, Sorenstam proved to herself and supporters around the world that she handled the pressure like a true champion.
Davies, who herself just competed against the men in a European Tour event, hopes the experience will help her in defending the crown she won in 2003 when she held off Karrie Webb to win the title. Davies had previous success in this event, winning back-to-back titles in 1993 and 1994.
Webb, playing in the comfort zone of her native Australia, hopes she can return to her winning ways at this venue. Having won here for four consecutive years from 1998 through 2001, Webb just missed out on an unprecendented fifth straight win as Sorenstam edged her out on the fourth playoff hole in 2002.
The Golf Channel will air coverage from Down Under Saturday and Sunday beginning at 9:00 a.m. (ET).