The Lake Nona neighborhood is buzzing about Annika Sorenstam’s return to the LPGA. Events are deliberate. A UPS driver lately waved down Sorenstam to ask if he may stick round and watch, ought to there be a bundle to ship subsequent week. A principal at her son Will’s college opened the automobile door within the drop-off lane to specific her pleasure.
“I’m already invited to mimosa events,” mentioned Sorenstam. “I mentioned you realize what, I can’t have too many mimosas. I’m not going to make it!”
To say it’s going to be a little bit completely different this time round is an understatement. Sorenstam’s first LPGA occasion in 13 years gained’t be like all of the others. For starters, she’s taking part in in her literal yard. Her workplace desk is a protracted putt from the 16th gap at Lake Nona. The mom of two has lived locally for 20 years in three completely different homes.
“That is simply an look,” she mentioned. “It’s not a comeback.”
After all, whenever you’re one of many biggest to ever play the sport – male or feminine – there’s nothing “simply” about it. The vast majority of the gamers within the area on the Gainbridge LPGA have by no means competed in an occasion alongside Sorenstam.
To many, she’s the legend who hosted the junior occasions they competed in, whose title is etched on the trophies they try for and whose data they nonetheless can’t fairly comprehend.
There might be 38 gamers within the area this week who’ve teed it up in considered one of Sorenstam’s occasions. Maria Fassi, Celine Boutier, Patty Tavatanakit, Angel Yin and Linnea Strom are amongst those that have gained her occasions. Leona Maguire, Bronte Legislation and Fassi are recipients of the ANNIKA Award offered by Stifel, given yearly to the very best Division I participant in ladies’s faculty golf.
“I really feel like now I is usually a little bit extra related,” mentioned Sorenstam, who will captain Europe in at this 12 months’s Junior Solheim Cup. “Not simply that is how I did it. Now it’s extra like that is how I do it.”
Her youngsters, Will and Ava, get to skip college for the event. (“Daddy mentioned that they need to,” she defined.) Her mother and father might be there. Sadly, the occasion isn’t open to followers.
The ten-time main winner has so many follow rounds slated that she joked she is perhaps too exhausted by the point Thursday comes round.
Final month, Sorenstam competed within the movie star division of the Diamond Resorts Event of Champions and was shortly reminded that it’s not like getting “again on the bike.”
Along with nerves, Sorenstam seen how powerful it was to remain targeted for 18 holes. She’s normally good for about 14, she mentioned, after which her thoughts begins to wander to the children’ lunches and after-school sports activities.
“I used to actually simply push automated and photographs would simply go the place I visualized,” she mentioned, “and now it’s not so automated anymore. It’s the scoring half. It’s very up and down.
“It’s humorous, I’ve had conversations with buddies they usually’re like, ‘Nicely that’s what golf is all about.’ I mentioned it’s by no means been like that for me!”
One of many fundamental causes Sorenstam determined to compete this week – the LPGA has a Corridor of Fame class – is to get one other event underneath her belt earlier than this summer season’s U.S. Senior Ladies’s Open. Sorenstam turned 50 final October.
The Senior Ladies’s Open dates (July 29-Aug. 1) overlap with the Summer time Olympics in Tokyo, and Sorenstam is the newly-elected president of the Worldwide Golf Federation. Sorenstam’s husband and enterprise supervisor Mike McGee, nonetheless, mentioned that doing each appears to be potential, noting that IGF Govt Director Antony Scanlon has been supportive of the thought of Sorenstam competing.
Laura Davies, winner of the inaugural Senior Ladies’s Open at Chicago Golf Membership, mentioned she will be able to consider nothing higher than taking place the stretch on Sunday towards the likes of one other newly-turned 50-year-old Catriona Matthew and Sorenstam. Juli Inkster has twice completed second. Helen Alfredsson gained the 2019 version.
“Annika doesn’t do something by halves,” mentioned 57-year-old Davies, who will start her 34th season on the LPGA on the Gainbridge.
As for this coming week Sorenstam, a 72-time winner on the LPGA, mentioned she will be able to’t management the cutline and that something round 1 underneath can be terrific.
“I’m in a distinct time in my life,” she mentioned.
Successful nowadays doesn’t at all times include a trophy.