Why profile Sorenstam:
Besides being one of the most successful professional golfers of the last 30 years, Sorenstam, a native of Sweden, has quickly and successfully segued since her 2008 retirement from the LPGA Tour to an enterprising golf businesswoman.
Even before retiring, she already had entered a field dominated by men – golf course design – with the development of the Annika Course at the Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzen, China. Projects in South Africa, Malaysia, and Canada have followed, and word has it that she and Jack Nicklaus are seeking to partner in creating a course in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics, where golf will be reintroduced to the Games after a 112- year absence.
Sorenstam’s story is interesting on a number of fronts. There’s her emergence from an overachieving youth golf program in Sweden, plus her distinguished college and pro careers. The former began at the University of Arizona in 1991, when she became the first freshman and non-American golfer to win an individual NCAA title.
On the LPGA circuit, she was Player of the Year eight times and won 10 major championships, all this while also being a model of sportsmanship. In fact, on Feb. 4 the US Golf Association will present her with a 2012 Bob Jones Award for her sterling personal qualities, including sportsmanship throughout her career.
Sorenstam is also a model for modern athletes with her tech and business savvy. She has developed an ANNIKA brand that serves to unify her foundation, golf academy, financial services business, and website, for which she regularly blogs. Oh, yes, and she also happens to be the mother of two with terrific culinary skills.