Ten years ago Annika Sorenstam made history as the first female since 1945 to play in a PGA Tour event at the 2003 Bank of America Colonial. Read how Annika along with different members of the golf industry remember the moment.
“I can’t believe it’s been 10 years. It was quite the journey to get to Colonial, and I cherish the memories made that week, but also the countless hours of work on the course and in the gym that led up to it. I had incredible support and learned a lot about myself. I was very pleased with the way I hit it from tee to green. I wish I would have made a few more putts, but I was nervous and your short game is usually where that will show.”
"I wasn't sure it was a good idea, but the closer it got to happening, and during, I was completely engrossed. And rooting for her. The tee to green golf was great. Had she putted well, no doubt a big check would have come her way. My knees gave way when she played the first day from the tenth tee, just like hers. Worthwhile adventure and accomplishment!!!!"
"That Thursday of the Colonial first round was the single-most exciting day I have ever spent at a sporting event. I truly didn't know what to expect, how well she would handle the magnitude of the moment. But it was an absolutely brilliant ball-striking round of golf. And as much as that day meant for the development of her game, it meant even more for her development as a person. She was genuinely moved by the outpouring of affection and support that entire week and emerged from the experience comfortable for the first time with her superstar status. She was no longer Annika Sorenstam; she was simply Annika. And she no longer promoted the game and the LPGA solely through her sterling play, but through her public words and actions. Annika emerged from Colonial as one of the eloquent spokeswomen for the tour and the game of golf. She was no longer the shy kid from Sweden who finished second intentionally so she wouldn't have to give a victory speech. She was embraced globally and used that platform fort the benefit of the LPGA and for the good of the game."
Heather Daly-Donofrio, former LPGA Tour member and now Sr. Vice President of LPGA Tour Operations:
“The LPGA was playing the Corning Classic the week Annika was at Colonial. I remember being so excited that my tee-times in Corning were the opposite of Annika’s at Colonial so that I could watch her play. I lived and died with every shot she hit and I think I almost missed my tee time one day because I was so glued to the TV. At the time I thought it was huge for the women’s game to have our number one player highlighted on such a vast, world-wide media stage. Annika at Colonial will always be remembered as one of the great moments in the history of the game.”
Kraig Kann, LPGA Chief Communications Officer:
“I remember that week well. Kenny Perry was the runaway winner that week… but to me, golf was the winner. Annika earned her opportunity as one of the game’s great players and strongest ambassadors. She played the first two rounds with Dean Wilson and Aaron Barber. Annika shot 71-74… just missing the cut. She edged Barber… and more than a few others that week. What stands out the most, was the hoopla surrounding her appearance. At the time, I was hosting for Golf Channel… and the crowds that week at Colonial country Club were massive. The tee shot she hit to begin the week was five deep with people… and the “exhale” from Annika and the gallery after she let it rip safely was quite memorable. She was the star of the week… handling interview after interview all the time with grace and class and respect for the opportunity she’d been given to take her game into a men’s arena. As everyone remembers, there were a few big name PGA TOUR professionals who voiced opposing views on the significance of her appearance in the field. In the end, she stayed her own course and displayed her usual steady game, while showing the world that the best in women’s golf have a place on the game’s biggest stage. I was really glad to be a part of it that week and will always remember her joining us live on a few occasions – always with a smile.”