EVIAN LES-BAINS, France – Helen Alfredsson might have led the LPGA in personality if there was any way to measure that kind of thing.
Alfredsson, or “Alfie,” as her friends call her, could light up a party as easily as she could light up a golf course. A self-professed Swedish wild child as a teen, she became a Parisian model, rode a Harley and gained a drag-racing license. Yeah, she likes to drive fast. She was once ticketed for driving 160 mph in her Volvo.
By the way, Alfredsson, 48, could play some golf, too. She won seven LPGA and 11 Ladies European Tour titles, including a major, the '93 Nabisco Dinah Shore. She also won the Women's British Open before it was designated as one of the LPGA's majors. She was the LPGA’s and LET’s Rookie of the Year. She played on eight Solheim Cups and captained the Euros in ’07.
Alfredsson, however, won’t be adding to that resume. She is officially retired. When she holed out for a 76 Saturday knowing she would miss the cut at the Evian Championship, her professional golf career was officially over.
“This is it,” Alfredsson said. “I feel good about it, but I feel a little sad, too. You see everybody here knowing that you won’t be seeing them as much anymore, but I knew the time was going to come. It hit me last week that it was time.”
Alfredsson played in the LET’s Helsinborg Open in her native Sweden last week. She worked hard with the tournament’s founders to get an event back in Sweden, and she felt good about its debut.
“I don’t plan stuff ahead,” Alfredsson said. “It just hit me there last week, `This is it.’ I realize I’m not prepared to do what it takes anymore. I think it’s like that with all athletes. I still love playing golf, but travel? No thank you. And these five-and-a-half hour rounds? No thank you.”
What will Alfredsson do now?
“I’m going back to school, study sports psychology,” she said.
Alfredsson said she would like to help young players develop.
“I’ve always found sports psychology interesting, and I’ve played at every level, won at every level, in the majors and in Solheim Cups,” Alfredsson said. “So many sports psychologists don’t have that background. I think kids think too much, endure too much stress. They start so young and work so hard. It would be fun to go and help them.”
Alfredsson will also continue to devote herself to the charity tournament she hosts as a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s, the affliction that claimed her mother’s life.