Golf: Better to play with men than against them, says pioneer Sorenstam

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(Reuters) – Annika Sorenstam has fond reminiscences of changing into the primary lady in 58 years to play in a PGA Tour occasion, however feels the way forward for golf is for women and men to compete with and never in opposition to one another.

FILE PHOTO: Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam waves after teeing off on the seventh gap through the first spherical of the Dubai Girls Masters golf event December 11, 2008. REUTERS/Steve Crisp

Fifteen years after paving the best way for girls to compete in males’s tournaments, Sorenstam, who hardly ever performs nowadays having swapped her golf golf equipment for a triathlon outfit, has no regrets at opening the floodgates for a fad that lasted a number of years earlier than dying a pure loss of life.

She captured the creativeness of the golf world by competing within the Colonial event in Texas.

On a Colonial Nation Membership course in Fort Value that’s brief by fashionable requirements and ideally suited to shorter hitters, be they males or ladies, Sorenstam outfitted herself nicely and for a time appeared in with an opportunity of constructing the lower.

Although she missed it by 4 strokes, her efficiency impressed a number of different ladies to check themselves in opposition to the lads, most famously Michelle Wie, who competed as a young person in no fewer than 13 males’s occasions earlier than acknowledging the novelty had run its course.

Sorenstam was on the prime of her recreation in 2003, and had been there or thereabouts lengthy sufficient that she wanted a brand new problem to maintain her .

“I had been primary on this planet. I used to be on the lookout for various things to maintain my motivation going,” the 47-year-old advised Reuters in a phone interview on Tuesday.

“I’ve so many great reminiscences. It was so wonderful general.

“I had a putt on my final gap to shoot par. That will have been good however I didn’t have to play the weekend.”

To today she says she is remembered by folks as a lot for that look as for the 59 she recorded at an LPGA occasion in Arizona in 2001.

Nowadays, nonetheless, the dialog has modified from ladies competing in opposition to males, to ladies competing alongside males, as evidenced by the latest Victorian Open in Australia.

Women and men performed that occasion on the identical course on the identical days for a similar prize cash, in alternating teams, albeit from completely different tees.

Sorenstam sees this as the long run, reasonably than a lone feminine wolf enjoying with a pack of 100-plus males.

“I grew up enjoying with boys at my membership,” mentioned the native of Sweden, who now lives in Florida together with her husband and two youngsters.

“Women and men ought to play collectively, however not essentially compete in opposition to one another.”

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan lately mentioned it was only a matter of time earlier than the ladies’s tour and the PGA Tour staged a joint occasion, although nothing has been introduced.

Sorenstam, in the meantime, walked away from aggressive golf in 2008 on the comparatively younger age of 38 and focuses her consideration nowadays on her myriad of enterprise and philanthropic pursuits.

Her Annika Basis seeks to develop ladies’s golf worldwide, and levels six junior tournaments. She hopes quickly so as to add one or two extra.

Sorenstam additionally finds time in her busy schedule for triathlon coaching.

She lately competed in a race in St Petersburg, Florida, finishing the 750-metre swim, 20km bike and 5 km run in a decent one hour, 26 minutes, 32 seconds.

Whereas she has little time left for golf, she stays happy with her achievements within the sport.

“I’m very glad, and once I look again on my profession I’m proud,” she mentioned.

Reporting by Andrew Each in Cary, North Carolina; Enhancing by Toby Davis

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