Annika Sorenstam, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and one of the most decorated golfers of all time, has been selected to receive the 2014 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
The award will be presented during the 2014 GCSAA Education Conference in Orlando, Feb. 5, at the Opening Session, presented in partnership with Syngenta. Previous award winners include Arnold Palmer, Bob Hope, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Nancy Lopez, Nick Price and Peter Jacobsen, among others. GCSAA’s most prestigious honor, the Old Tom Morris Award is presented each year to an individual who “through a continuing lifetime commitment to the game of golf has helped to mold the welfare of the game in a manner and style exemplified by Old Tom Morris.” Morris (1821-1908) was the greenkeeper and golf professional at the St. Andrews Links Trust Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland; a four-time winner of the British Open (1861, ’62, ’64 and ’67); and ranked as one of the top links designers of the 19th century.
“Annika thrilled us as a champion golfer and has inspired us through her compassion in giving back to others in a variety of charitable endeavors,” GCSAA President Patrick R. Finlen, CGCS, said. “We are honored that she will be joining us to accept the award and share her message with us. Undoubtedly she is a popular choice among our members to be recognized.”
Born Oct. 9, 1970, in Stockholm, Sweden, Annika was an outstanding junior golfer who attended the University of Arizona, where she became the first foreign-born freshman to win the NCAA title in 1991. She experienced a meteoric rise in the golf rankings, earning rookie of the year honors on the European and LPGA tours in 1994, then taking back-to-back U.S. Open Championships in 1995 and 1996.
In the course of her 15-year-career, Annika dominated like no one else, winning 89 times on the world stage, including 72 LPGA events. She has 10 majors to her credit, with eight player-of-the-year awards, and was named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year from 2003-05. Annika is the only female to break 60 in an official event, carding a 59 in the second round of the Standard Register PING, and she became the first woman in 58 years to compete on the PGA Tour when she played in the 2003 Colonial tournament. Despite not having played competitively in five years, she has more than $22 million in career earnings and leads the LPGA’s career money list by more than $4 million.
Annika ended her competitive golf career in 2008 to start a family, but she has remained close to the game through her various business and philanthropic endeavors. She started the ANNIKA Foundation as a way to teach children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition, and offer aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams. She reaches out to youth through many venues, including the ANNIKA Academy, her state-of-the-art golf and fitness teaching facility in Orlando. In 2008, she joined with Arnold Palmer to serve as an Ambassador of the United States Golf Association with the objective of making the game more accessible. She also serves as the International Ambassador of The First Tee’s Nine Healthy Habits.
“I am very, very proud of what I’ve achieved,” Annika said at the time of her stepping away. “Golf has been great to me. I think I have achieved more than I ever thought I could. I have given it all and it’s been fun. I’m leaving the game on my terms. I made this decision totally on my own. This is something that came from the heart.
“I am also very proud of women’s golf and the state it’s in today. I’m just very, very happy to have been part of it and had a chance to follow my dream. I love this game very much.”
A multi-faceted businessperson, Annika has also developed a high-end collection of women’s golf apparel with Cutter & Buck called the ANNIKA Collection, created the ANNIKA Financial Group, started a wine label, designed numerous golf courses throughout the world and she currently works as an analyst for various broadcasts on NBC/Golf Channel events.