Annika: The Moment Was All Hers

It has been 10 years now since Annika Sorenstam made us pause, compelled us to find a television set on a Thursday morning and made us collectively hold our breath as we watched her hit the most memorable shot of her unforgettable Hall of Fame career. Golf doesn’t have many remember-where-you-were moments but Annika’s opening tee shot at the 2003 Bank of America Colonial was one of those. Did you just flash back to where you were watching it? It was an event, a pop-culture moment that resonated beyond golf, touching moms and dads, sons and daughters. It angered some people, the kind of people who tend to look for reasons to be angry. For everyone else, it was a sweet curiosity, a chance to see the best female player ever test herself on the PGA Tour. Annika – she’s a first-name star – didn’t make the cut at the Colonial but she won hearts and hugs with a performance that blended her steely playing style with her soft personality. Deep in the heart of Texas, Annika was golf’s sweetheart. “I look at it as one of the highlights of my career,” she said by phone from the Orlando area, where she lives with husband Mike McGee and their two children. Annika has moved happily into her new life, running the Annika Academy, staying busy with other businesses and being with her family. A decade ago, she was in a different place, a 32-year old sitting atop the women’s golf world. She won 72 LPGA Tour events including 10 majors. Worldwide, she finished with 90 wins, more than any female in history and she did it with a game that was as reliable as a sunrise. She became the first LPGA player to shoot 59 in competition. In 2001 she won eight tournaments. In 2002, she won 11. And on May 22, 2003, Annika showed up at Colonial Country Club’s 10th tee wearing white pants, a black-and-white top and a black cap. She did her best to hide her nervousness but everyone there and thousands watching felt it. “It took a lot of courage to do that and to put herself out there on the limb like that and put herself out there in front of the world to critique, criticize, and anything in between. She did it, and she played fantastic,” said Tiger Woods, who played practice rounds with Annika in Orlando. Getting there was a journey in itself.


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