Newsmakers 2007: Annika Sorenstam

By Ron Sirak
Photo By Ben Van Hook November 23, 2007

Annika Sorenstam should have guessed it was going to be an unusual year when she lost the first tournament she played, the MasterCard Classic in Mexico, in a playoff to Meaghan Francella, who was playing her sixth career LPGA event. Little did Sorenstam know that runner-up finish would be her best of the year as she went winless for the first time since turning pro in 1993. On April 14, two weeks after a T-30 in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the year, Sorenstam was diagnosed with a ruptured disk in her neck and a bulging disk in her back, sidelining her for nearly two months. When she returned, the lack of practice and conditioning was evident. Her best finish in a major was T-15 at the McDonald's LPGA Championship. Then in September a homecoming to Sweden was spoiled when the United States drubbed Europe, 16-12, in the Solheim Cup and Sorenstam lost her singles match to Morgan Pressel, 2 and 1. Along the way Sorenstam lost her position as the best player in women's golf--a title she has unofficially held since 2001--to Lorena Ochoa and watched as Suzann Pettersen, a Solheim Cup partner, emerged as the top challenger. After winning 43 times in 103 LPGA starts from 2001 through 2005, Sorenstam, a three-time winner in '06, was just one of the girls in 2007. There was some good news for Sorenstam, however. In April she opened her golf academy at the Reunion Resort & Club in Orlando and got her corporation, ANNIKA, off and running, setting the stage for life as a businesswoman after golf. Later in the year Mike McGee proposed, and the couple set their sights on an April 2009 wedding. The distant date made one thing perfectly clear: 2008 is going to be all about golf for Sorenstam as she focuses on trying to reclaim her No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings.
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