Tearful Sorenstams ends career with birdie

Even for an ice-cool Swede, the significance of a birdie-putt was too much and the emotion poured forth.

Annika Sorenstam has made thousands of birdies in her life, some to win major championships. But this one was different because this was the final birdie of her professional career.

Sorenstam birdied the 18th in her final round of 71, which enabled her to finish seventh at the Dubai Ladies Masters. Anja Monke won the tournament by three strokes but few would have noticed as the banner read “Dubai salutes Annika Sorenstam”.

After 10 major titles and 90 pro victories around the world, Sorenstam has called it a day, fulfilling her announcement earlier this year that she is walking away from the LPGA to pursue a normal life.

But there was no gut-wrenching at missing out on a 91st global title for the 38-year-old, having been in contention after the third round. She finished with a six-under total of 282. As she said in a Reuters story, there was only tears and peace.

“I felt at peace walking up the 18th hole. I really felt very content. I saw some players standing behind the 18th green; that gave me a tear. I saw my parents and my family and that gave me a tear. Life goes on. I am very happy about my decision to move on. I feel very happy and at the same time if you think about 15 years and all of the things that I have achieved, it’s sad.”

Sorenstam turned pro in 1994, making an immediate impact by being voted Rookie of the Year thanks to her three top-10 finishes including a tie for second at the Women’s British Open.

She started her trophy collection in 1995 by winning the US Open, making her one of the rare golfers to make the Open as her maiden title. She won two more titles to win Player of the Year honours.

She continued to pile up the titles, finishing the 90s with 18 victories – which was more than any other player on the LPGA Tour. By then she had established herself as the Tiger Woods of women’s golf.

The best year of her career was in 2002 when she won 11 tournaments. This came one year after his collected eight titles on the circuit.

She had a difficult 2007 in which injuries meant she could only play in 13 events. It also marked the year Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa unseated Sorenstam at the top of the women’s rankings.

However, the Swede was determined to end her career on a strong note and, in 2008, she bounced back with three titles. But in the middle of the season, she announced that this would be her final year.

She did, though, hint that a comeback would always be possible. Whatever happens, her tearful final putt in Dubai closed the chapter on one of the greatest eras in the history of women’s golf.

One Response to “Tearful Sorenstams ends career with birdie”

  1. Terry G. Wilson says:

    I only got to see ANNIKA play in person once….at the Hunt Club this year in OTTAWA, CANADA. It meant a 5 hour drive and 3 hours sleep in the car BUT…..to see her in person was a definite high in my life. Such talent and such poise. The game will be less for her not competing in it. Best wishes in all her endeavors.
    p.s. Children are a full time job but definitely worth the sacrifice! tgw.

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