By Jennifer Myers
TERRE HAUTE — Last weekend the Ladies Professional Golf Association held their U.S. Women’s Open at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minnesota. You might not have even noticed it, because there wasn’t a lot of news or fanfare. It was won by Inbee Park, who at 19 years, 11 months and 17 days broke the record set 10 years ago by another Korean, Se Ri Pak, as the youngest player to win the Open.
What did get a lot of notice and press, was that this was Annika Sorenstam’s last Open, unless she comes out of retirement in the future. She did leave the door open after her round, saying the Women’s Open is probably her favorite event, and if she could be coaxed into playing an event in the future, that would be it. Her first win on the LPGA tour was the 1995 Women’s Open, and it has been a special event ever since. This was also Inbee Park’s first tour victory, joining Jane Geddes, Laura Davies, Annika, Liselotte Neumann and Se Ri Pak in the group of other first-time winners at the Women’s Open.
If this was Annika’s last Open, even though she didn’t win, she made it memorable. On the 18th hole she thrilled the crowd by holing out for eagle, from 199 yards out with a 6-iron! She couldn’t see the ball go in the hole, so only knew the result from the crowd’s reaction. She told her caddie, “Oh good, that means I broke 80!” She shot 78, so she was dangerously close to that mark, which would have been a hard number for her to swallow at her last Open.
Annika has been a huge influence on women’s golf, and consequently the increase in earnings on the tour. She recorded 88 career wins, 72 of them on the LPGA and U.S. Women’s Open titles. As a rookie on the WPGET (now the European Tour) in 1993 she won rookie of the year, then the next year won rookie of the year on the LPGA. She won 10 major championships. She won the Rolex Player-of-the-Year award eight times, had the annual money-list title eight times, and won the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average six times. She was named Golf Writers’ Association of America Female Player of the Year eight times, and was named by the Associate Press as the Female Athlete of the Year 3 times (2003, 2004, and 2005). She was the first player to make over $22 million in earnings. She was on eight Solheim Cup teams, and won 2 European Player of the Year awards (2004 and 2005). She won 8 ESPY awards, including Best Female Athlete and Best Female Golfer. She holds the record for the lowest score recorded by any female in a single tournament round, a 59 in the 2nd round of the 2001 Standard Register PING tournament, and the record for the lowest scoring average for one season with 68.69 in 2004.
Not only did she dominate women’s golf from 1995 through 2005, she did it with class. She increased publicity for the women’s tour also by her charitableness and publicity through other venues. For instance, she appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange! She has started a golf course design business, and she is especially happy with the opening of Annika’s Golf Academy at the Ginn Reunion Resort near Orlando. There, Annika has combined her love of golf and fitness in a luxury hotel environment to cater to individuals or groups who want to work on their game. Her own swing coach and fitness trainer are part of the deal! (For more information see www.theannikaacademy.com )
On May 13th, Annika announced her retirement at the conclusion of the 2008 season, ending with the Lexus Cup. At the age of 38, she is engaged to be married, and wants to be able to start a family. She will continue to be involved in women’s golf through the tournaments she sponsors, her clothing line, Annika’s Academy, and her charitable work The ANNIKA Foundation was established in 2007 to help children of all backgrounds reach their potential, through educational and financial resources. It will partner with programs that teach children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through physical fitness and nutrition. It will specifically help aspiring junior golfers.
The LPGA Tour has benefited greatly by the participation of Annika. Keep an eye out for her for the rest of the season, and appreciate her while we can. Her class, her competitiveness and her smile with all be missed when she is no longer on tour.
Quote of the Day — “I don’t give up.” Annika’s remark to her fiancee’ as she walked off the 18th green after holing out for eagle at the U.S. Women’s Open.
Vigo County golf leagues:
Ft. Harrison Ladies 9-hole — Low gross: Betty Cox. Low net: Clarena Matthews. Low putts: Betty McKee. Play of the day: McKee. Chip-in: Lucy James.
Paitson's Roofing Eastside Ladies — Standings: Baesler’s Market 336, Daphne’s Beauty Salon 324, Turner Coach 279, Advanced Chirpractic 275, Coaches Corner 267, Deckmasters 258, Sandy’s Touch of Magic 255, Page’s Market 237. Low gross: Betty Swanson 36. Low net: Jeanne Sumansky and Jan Schurple 27. Play of the day: Betty Swanson. Chip-in: Faye Lynn King (6). Birdie: Sumansky (8).
Rea Park Wednesday Evening Ladies 9-hole — Standings (as of July 2): Newton-Petty 15, Swalls-Mozley 14, Durand-Hyde 14, Pair-Bedwell 13, Padgett-Snow 13, Hamilton-Harden 11, Mann-Rusk 9, Honselman-Hiatt 8, Bocard-Luttrell 8, Cannon-Atterson 8, Meyer-Clements 8, Lanke-Johnson 8, McCord-Ugo 7, Horrall-Mahalek 4. Low gross: Sharon Hamilton 38. Low net: Hamilton 32. Chip-in: Madonna Johnson.
Mark’s Par Three Senior Men — Low gross: Marvin Mericle and Dennis Hayes 39. Low net: Lee Higginbotham 29. Closest to pin: Bob Artis (12). Longest drive: Mericle (18). Longest putt: Hayes (17). Standings: Old National Trust (first half winner) 365, Midwest Gas 334, Vigo Bowl 307, Sycamore Chevrolet 306, Tabco 293, Fuson Cadillac 292, Mattingly Collision 289, Dew Drop Inn 280.
Terre Haute Savings Bank Senior Men — National Division standings: Fore Seasons Golf Complex 336, SMC 322, Lough Bros. 316, Complete Kitchen and Bath 310, T.H. Savings Bank 304, Paitson Bros. and Page’s Market No. 1 303, Pizza Hut 224. Low gross: Paul Stanley 39. Low net: Charlie Williamson and Jerry McIntyre 30. American Division standings: Poplar Flower Shop 369, Page’s Market No. 2 355, Spring Clean Car Wash 322, VFW No. 972 292, Salt of the Earth 289, Pabst Painting 287, Callahan Funeral Home 252. Low gross: David Bays 40. Low net: Walter Piepenbrink, Dick Hunter and Frank Coverstone 32.
Rea Park Tuesday Women’s 18-hole — Low gross: Sharon Horrall 79. Low net: Beth Lowe 64. Birdies: Lorri Ugo (1), Susan Amerman (3), Sharon Hamilton (9), Carolyn Hyde (10). Chip-ins: Mary Jean Petty (8), Terry Mahalek (14).
Rea Park First Financial Bank Ladies 9-hole — Standings: VFW No. 2 248, Bratt Animal Hospital 214, Shepard’s Gas 213, Baesler’s Market 206, VFW No.1 202, Tabco 177. Low gross: Myrna Handley. Low net: G.Miller, Handley. Play of the day: Thelma Stone, Verla Talkington, Mary Newman.
Idle Creek Home Builders — Low gross: Dave Earley 37. Low net: Dan Mills 27. Longest putt: Jim Lowe (1). Closest to pin: Bob Mundy (3), Earley (8).
Idle Creek Ladies Tuesday Morning Scramble — First place team (36): Denise Rowlett, Katy Drummy, Jan Cuttr, Susie Colligan, Leah Phillips. Second place team (41): Candy Lovvron, Barb Alcock, Mary Cahill, Mary Brannen. Longest putt: Lovvron. Closest to pin: Rowlett (3).
Idle Creek Terminal Sports and Spirits Wednesday Evening — First place team (best ball format) (66): Dave Rowlett, Mitch Love, Nate Tompkins, Matt Love. Second place team (70): Denise Rowlett, Mike Nuckols, Scott Logan, Zach Wilhoyte. Closest to pin: Nuckols (12), Mitch Love (16).