LGPA star denies report that she's close to quitting
Posted: Friday January 19, 2007 12:45PM; Updated: Friday January 19, 2007 8:36PM
Annika Sorenstam's achievements over her 13-year career are unmatched in the LPGA.
Annika Sorenstam said a Swedish newspaper took out of context her plans to quit golf and have children.
"I am not announcing my retirement and I am not announcing the start of a family," Sorenstam said Friday. "I am very much looking forward to the start of the 2007 season and the various business ventures that I've become involved in."
She issued a statement through her agent, Mark Steinberg of IMG, because both were inundated with calls about a story in the Aftonbladet that quoted the Swedish star as saying, "I'm pretty tired of golf. I want to have kids, and if we decide to do that, the time is now and I probably can't combine that with a golf career."
The 36-year-old Sorenstam is dating Mike McGee, a golf agent and son of former PGA Tour player Jerry McGee. She divorced David Esch two years ago.
She won three times last year on the LPGA Tour, including the U.S. Women's Open for her 10th career major, and remains No. 1 in the women's world ranking. But it was her least productive season since 1999, and 24-year-old Lorena Ochoa ended Sorenstam's five-year run as the LPGA player of the year.
Sorenstam first dropped retirement hints at the end of the 2002 season, saying she had other interest and one day wanted to start a family. She played in the Colonial the next year, becoming the first woman in 58 years to compete on the PGA Tour, completed the career Grand Slam and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Her primary goal the last three years has been winning all four majors in one year. The closest she came was in 2005, when she won the first two majors before finishing out of the top 10 in the U.S. Women's Open.
Sorenstam makes her '07 debut on March 9 in Mexico at the MasterCard Classic, where she is the defending champion.
"As always, I will assess my season at year's end and decide what the future holds at that time," she said. "That is no different from how I handled 2006, 2005 and all previous years."
Sorenstam is the tournament host at two events -- one on the LPGA Tour, one in Sweden -- is designing golf courses and is about to open a golf academy near Orlando, Fla. She also is producing a fitness DVD and has been working toward developing "Annika" as a brand.
In an interview earlier this week, she said her outside interests were distractions last year and she wanted to be more focused when she showed up at tournaments.
"I know if I dedicate myself again, I'll be back there and give everyone a run for the money," she said. "I have to schedule things better. I've got some people helping now to take the responsibility off my shoulder, rather than me keeping an eye on things. I have a tendency to micromanage. I'm a very hands-on person."
Sorenstam told the Aftonbladet that she barely practiced last year and still won six times around the world, but "being sloppy like that doesn't hold up in the long run."
"The question is whether I'm willing to make the effort, because it requires me to give all I've got," she told the newspaper.