PGA/LPGA Professional Annika Sörenstam, who followed one of the most decorated careers in women’s golf history by becoming a spokesperson for improving the health of the next generation, has been named the recipient of the 2013 PGA First Lady of Golf Award.
The PGA First Lady of Golf Award, inaugurated in 1998 and presented biennially since 2011, is bestowed upon a woman who has made significant contributions to the promotion of the game of golf.
Sörenstam, 43, will be honoured at The PGA of America Awards, Wednesday, 22 January, 2014, during the 61st PGA Merchandise Show at the OrangeCountyConvention Center’s Chapin Theater in Orlando, Florida.
Born in Bro, Sweden, Sörenstam is the first ‘internationally born’ golfer to be named PGA First Lady of Golf and is the third award recipient with dual PGA of America and LPGA membership, following Renee Powell (2003) and Carol Mann (2008). Sörenstam was elected to PGA membership on 19 April 2013, and is a member of the North Florida PGA Section.
“Annika’s impact upon women’s golf in the modern era has been remarkable, setting a standard that may never be touched,” said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. “Her commitment to fitness and excellence made her a legend on the course, but her legacy in the game also includes a sincere dedication to growing a healthy next generation and inspiring future young women through golf. The PGA is honored to now call her the 2013 PGA First Lady of Golf.”
The winner of 89 worldwide professional events on the LPGA and Ladies European Tour, including 10 major championships, Sörenstam owns 29 top-10 finishes in 57 lifetime major appearances. In 2003, she was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame and stepped away from competitive golf in May 2008. She remains the LPGA’s all-time money leader ($22 million).
Sörenstam has since devoted her off-course career to being a mother and building her ANNIKA-branded businesses. They include a teaching academy, golf course design firm, financial-planning group, apparel collection, signature wines and a charitable foundation, which teaches children how to live a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition while also inspiring junior female golfers with playing opportunities.
“I have been so fortunate throughout my life to have people who helped pave the way for me to work hard and exceed my goals on and off the course,” said Sörenstam. “I truly feel like I am living a dream and want to help the next generation do the same. It’s gratifying that The PGA of America has taken notice of our programming that offers junior girls the opportunity to play first-class tournaments around the world, while also educating them about the importance of health and wellness. I’m flattered to be named the 2013 PGA First Lady of Golf.”
After stepping away from the tour, Sörenstam combined golf, fitness and charitable works into various businesses under the ANNIKA brand with the tagline, “Share My Passion.” Her golf course design business has taken her to Asia, South Africa and Europe. In 2007, she opened the ANNIKAAcademy at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla.
“The tagline, ‘Share My Passion,’ pertains to all my businesses, but also my life in general,” said Sörenstam. “I think it is so important to be 100 percent committed to everything you do while also sharing your experiences with others. I am passionate about many things like my family, having balance in life, good food and wine, growing the game of golf, living a healthy active lifestyle, my businesses and helping children. Empowering the next generation to follow their dreams is extremely gratifying and my way of giving back and paying tribute to those who were there before me.”
Sörenstam is the International Ambassador for The First Tee’s Nine Healthy Habits, and sponsors an American Junior Golf Association invitation-only event featuring the top-72 junior girl players from around the world. It is one of four global competitions hosted by the ANNIKA Foundation for junior female golfers.
Sörenstam and her husband, Mike McGee, live in Orlando and are parents of a daughter, Ava 4, and a son, William, 2.
The PGA of America www.pga.com