LPGA Tour Notebook: After her divorce, Sorenstam is moving on

Plus, former Commissioner Ty Votaw and Sophie Gustafson are engaged, the Kraft Nabsico gets a new TV partner, and more.

12.18.2005 08:12 pm (EST)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) -- Annika Sorenstam is feeling comfortable enough about her personal life that her boyfriend, Mike McGee, has become slightly more visible at tournaments. The Swedish star talked about her relationship in a recent interview with The Aftonbladet newspaper in Stockholm.

McGee is an agent for International Golf Partners, and the son of former PGA Tour player Jerry McGee. Sorenstam said they have known each other for about six years from parties and LPGA Tour functions.

"But it wasn't until last winter that we reconnected so that our friendship grew strong and, well, now this is what came out of it," she said.

Sorenstam said her divorce from David Esch was final on Aug. 22. McGee followed her matches at Solheim Cup. He also was at the ADT Championship, escorting her to the LPGA awards banquet at Mar-a-Lago.

She said it was a matter of time before people noticed they were together.

"I think what we have is great, but it hasn't been anything I have wanted the whole world to know about," she told the newspaper. "I am still struggling to move on. You can't get over a divorce in just a few months. But being with Mike makes it a little easier. He helps me move on."

VOTAW ENGAGED: Former LPGA Tour Commissioner Ty Votaw has a ring on his finger, but don't jump to any conclusions just yet.

Votaw, who has been dating Sophie Gustafson the last two years, got engaged to the long-hitting Swede two weeks ago during the ADT Championship. Why the ring?

"In Sweden, the guy wears an engagement ring, too," Votaw said.

The proposal came before taking her to a Bruce Springsteen concert in south Florida, and Votaw said his only regret was not knowing what the Boss would be playing that night.

One of his songs from the album "The River" is titled, "I Want to Marry You," although Springsteen rarely sings that when he's on tour. But he did that night.

"Sophie turned to me and said, 'It would have been really romantic if you had asked me during this song,"' Votaw said. "But I had already asked, and she accepted."

Wedding plans have not been set. Votaw, meanwhile, is still between jobs. He left after seven years as commissioner in September, and there is talk he will join the PGA Tour in some capacity, but nothing has been announced.

DO TOUCH THAT DIAL: After 15 years of weekend coverage on ABC, the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship will be televised by CBS Sports. The LPGA Tour's first major of the year will begin Mar. 30 and end Apr. 2, the Sunday between the NCAA Final Four semifinals and the championship game. The talent has not been determined. CBS Sports televises its showcase golf event the following week at the Masters.

The Kraft Nabisco has signed a five-year agreement with CBS Sports to broadcast the final round. The 2006 edition will air from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. ET on CBS. The first three rounds will air on ESPN2. ABC Sports had carried the weekend broadcast since 1991.

The TV agreement coincides with a one-week move on the schedule deeper into the season. Thus, the final round on Sunday will air between the NCAA Final Four basketball semifinals on Saturday and the finals on Monday.

BEISIEGEL HOPES TO RETURN: LPGA Tour player Isabelle Beisiegel has been diagnosed with Graves' Disease, a treatable type of hyperthyroidism that causes fatigue and weight loss. In the 1980s, PGA Tour player Ben Crenshaw and LPGA Tour player Pat Bradley were both diagnosed with the disease and returned to form after taking time off.

Beisiegel, who missed 17 of 19 cuts during the 2005 season before being diagnosed, expects her recovery to last a few months while she receives medication and considers having thyroid surgery. She has no status on the 2006 LPGA Tour, but will be able to start in the final stage of next year's qualifying tournament.

Had she been diagnosed during the season, Beisiegel could have applied for a major medical exemption and had her full-time LPGA Tour playing status extended during her recovery. She plans to petition tour officials for a retroactive medical extension.

''This disease affected me all year and had I known what was wrong, I would have started treatment earlier,'' she said. ''It is obvious that my golf game was affected.''

If that appeal is denied, Beisiegel still will be able to accept up to six LPGA sponsor's exemptions. And because she is a Montreal native, she also can on the CN Canadian Women's Tour.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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