This week at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, Annika Sorenstam returned to an LPGA Tour major championship for the first time since competing at the 2008 AIG Women’s Open.
Sorenstam is a 10-time major champion with three wins at the U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica (1995, 1996, 2006). She is one of six players with at least three U.S. Women’s Open Championships. Additionally, she is enshrined in both the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame and World Golf Hall of Fame alongside legends Betsy Rawls, Mickey Wright and Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
|Most U.S. Women's Open Since 1946|
|Babe Didrikson Zaharias||3|
|Susie Maxwell Berning||3|
In 1996, when Sorenstam won in Southern Pines, she showcased every aspect of her game from off the tee to the green. She described her performance as being “in the zone.”
She found the fairway consistently, missing only five times. She reached the greens effectively, averaging 1.61 putts per hole. She had good ball striking and recorded the best par-4 scoring average in the field.
Sorenstam’s skillset was back on display this week as fans from around the world watched her compete in the home of golf.
“I know what I’m capable of. I can hit fairways and greens. I can make putts. That’s my goal,” she said.
As Sorenstam maneuvered her way around the course, people warmly embraced her presence with cheers as they watched her elegantly drive, chip and putt. Fans were treated to the fundamentals of golf and superb sportsmanship.
Throughout her playing career, Sorenstam performed well in the U.S. Women’s Open. Her performance this year was just under her historical average.
|Annika Sorenstam U.S. Women's Open|
|Average driving distance||248.77||231.50|
|Driving accuracy percentage||77.70%||71.43%|
|Greens in regulation||68.48%||55.56%|
|Putting average – Putts per hole||1.71||1.78|
While she ultimately missed the cut, her appearance at Pine Needles is a motivation for all LPGA Tour players, not to mention a delight for the many golf fans in the North Carolina Sandhills.
Sorenstam said, “Very warming to see the crowd and kind of just the love and support.”
Legends of golf enjoy golf for their lifetime. They will always be competitive though there is more to the game than just a win. Sometimes it is about demonstrating how much you appreciate the sport, the fans, the beautiful course and being a part of it all.
Annika Sorenstam is a true champion.