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Annika Sorenstam - February 16, 2012

Annika Sorenstam
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Phil Mickelson earned his 40th PGA TOUR win on Sunday at Pebble Beach with Tiger Woods in his pairing and Annika admitted that she was wrong in her earlier prediction that Phil would not have a good 2012. She was very impressed at well Phil played in the final round and noted that Phil and Tiger were polar opposite players on Sunday. It is a very good question about whether or not Phil has gotten into Tiger’s head. Tiger knows he can win but he is not winning and she thinks that Tiger may be trying too hard to win.

On the 18th hole on Sunday, Tiger lagged his first putt and then Phil did not offer him a chance to finish putting so instead, Tiger putted out after Phil had won the tournament. She is fine with what happened because it looked like that both players were focused although it is considered to be polite to allow the person who will not win to clear the way for the person who is going to win on the final green.

When asked about whether the 40 PGA TOUR wins or 4 Major wins are more significant, Annika – as someone who has both – said that it was no contest and the 4 Major Championship wins is absolutely the bigger accomplishment. While 40 PGA TOUR wins is a big deal, Annika doubts that people would be talking about Phil as much if he had not won those 4 Majors.

The LPGA Tour season is underway and Jessica Korda won in a 6-way playoff to claim the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. The playoff was conducted by splitting the six into two groups of three and Annika disagreed with that decision. She feels that it is better to have all six players together in one group and even though it may take more time, it would be more exciting to watch. As a player, when you are in a playoff you look at your opponent or opponents and it matters to be able to see your opponent on a mental and psychological level.

She has given the offer of the 2013 European Solheim Cup Captaincy a lot of thought, and she has decided to pass on that offer. She was very flattered to be asked but the fact is she is not in a position in her life to take on all of the responsibilities that a Captain needs to take on. She has offered to help the team in other ways but she cannot be the Captain and it is now up to the Ladies European Tour to pick another Captain. Alison Nicholas put her heart and soul into the job so she thinks that the 2013 Captain will be someone else and Annika is interested to see who it will be. Originally, she said that her decision would be based on the Olympic Course Designer announcement and when the announcement was delayed one month, she knew that the Ladies European Tour could not delay their decision as well so she went ahead and told them that she could not be Captain. Annika added that despite her great record in the Solheim Cup, she is not wired to be Captain in the way that other players are. She does not know if she would be an Assistant Captain again but she can see herself helping the team in an unofficial role.

Natalie Gulbis has posed in body paint for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue this year and Annika supports the decision. Natalie looked beautiful in both the video and the pictures and she works very hard to keep her body in shape. Also, the photo shoot was tastefully done. This was simply displaying an athlete and the fact that it was not done on a golf course makes it inoffensive to the game of golf. Gulbis is in Thailand this week and she has texted with her and Natalie’s main focus right now is trying to add to her one LPGA Tour win. Annika has done a number of photo shoots for magazines including Sports Illustrated and ESPN: The Magazine and she feels that those were tastefully done and she has rejected offers that she did not feel would be tastefully done. This is an example of an effort to try to promote the game of golf to other audiences and is no different than an LPGA player doing an interview with a cooking magazine or a home magazine.