View Full Version : Annika Sorenstam (female Tiger Woods) nearly chose Tennis over Golf!

Oct 28th, 2007, 09:53 AM
OUT OF THE SHADOW: Annika Sorenstam, is on top of the golfing world, but as a shy youngster she did everything she could to avoid winning.

Annika Sorenstam has won almost everything golf has to offer, but the 10-time major winner admits she did everything she could to avoid capturing titles as a timid youngster.

"I used to be shy and I'd lose tournaments on purpose to avoid making winner's speeches," Sorenstam said after a sweltering session slugging golf balls on the driving range at the Siam Country Club in Pattaya.

Sorenstam is in Pattaya to play in the Honda LPGA Thailand tournament.

"The speeches scared me so I'd miss important shots at the end because second place never had to say anything in public."

Eventually, Sorenstam's coaches realised what was going on and found a way to transform the apparently unlucky Swede from a perennial loser to one of sport's most decorated winners.

"They figured something was going on so they made first place, runnerup and third place give a speech too," she said with a laugh.

"It wasn't that difficult and right then I realised winning wasn't so bad."

After that, winning became a habit.

Sorenstam went on to secure 69 LPGA victories and 15 other international tournaments.

Now 37, she has won the LPGA player of the year award a record eight times, inclduing five in succession from 2001-2005, and is the only female golfer to shoot a round under 60.

After impressive junior performances in tennis, skiing and soccer, Sorenstam's decision to take up golf no doubt came as a relief to other sportswomen.

"I loved to ski, I was successful at tennis. I don't know how good I would have been had I tried to pursue a career," she said.

"I just loved sports, I hung out with guys and that made me tougher and more competitive."

At the age of 12, Sorenstam started playing golf with her parents and shared a set of clubs with sister Charlotta, who used the odd numbered clubs leaving Annika with the even.

"Right then, I had no idea then that I would be where I am now," said Sorenstam, who made 16 top-10 finishes in 18 tournaments in the 2004 season.

"It was all tennis for me. I had a good handicap for a girl, so there and then, I made a switch."

Having spent most of her career in the United States, Sorenstam said Sweden was still "home sweet home", even though she now speaks with an American accent.

Outside the sport, she keeps herself busy designing golf courses, playing the stock markets, taking cooking courses and raising money for the Make-A-Wish foundation, for which she was the US ambassador.

After 13 years at the top, Sorenstam admits golf can get tedious but said she had no plans to quit just yet.

"There are times I wake up and I don't want to play, but if I wasn't excited I wouldn't still be doing it," she said.

"There's no timeframe for me to retire. Every year, I have to see how I feel about it, but I'm competitive and I still have the drive. It has to come from the heart, from within you."

She said she would be content if her career ended tomorrow and after winning more than $US20 million ($NZ26.63 million) in prizemoney she no longer needed golf's riches.

She still has the passion to play and believes majors are still within her reach.

"I've won majors and I can still win them," she said.

"It's that feeling you get hitting that seven iron to two feet on the last hole when my heart is pumping.

"There's nothing better than coming down the stretch with chance to win the tournament. That's what it's all about."

Oct 28th, 2007, 03:49 PM
I could see her in top ten tennis.

Sweden needs more good women tennis players. The men have always been a lot better for some reason.

Sally Struthers
Oct 28th, 2007, 04:16 PM
calling Annika the female Tiger is an insult to Tiger

Oct 28th, 2007, 11:25 PM
I could see her in top ten tennis.

Sweden needs more good women tennis players. The men have always been a lot better for some reason.

Sweden are underperforming when it comes to womens tennis, obviously they have Sofia Arvidsson (Ranked 117) but then the gap is huge to Johanna Larsson (327). They have had some talent in the form of Asa Svensson and Catarina Lindqvist.

Sofia said I'm not sure of the exact age, but up until the age of 14 I was still very much involved in table tennis. At that age I won the junior titles in Sweden in both table tennis and tennis. I was training in tennis about six hours a week, so it wasn't so much at that point. When I was 16 I reached the junior final of the Australian Open, and I was travelling more with tennis, so that's when I really knew I could do something interesting with this sport...
I think the guys in Sweden always had some great players to look up to, as you said, Bjorn, Mats and Stefan. The girls really had no one to look up to except for Catarina Lindqvist. In Sweden, playing sports isn't considered as important for girls; it's more important for us to get an education and go on to further studies. From that point of view it's difficult to get sponsors. Tennis is definitely more popular among guys in Sweden than girls, but hopefully that will change soon. We how have a Tour event in Stockholm, so that should get more girls thinking about playing tennis...

There main hope for the future is Johanna Larsson, she is 19 and could have done alot better so far in her career had it not been for so many injuries. Already in her career she has beaten Anne Kremer (when Johanna was 16), Naomi Cavaday, Sofia Arvidsson, Brenda Shultz-Mcarthy (when Johanna was 16) and Kristina Barrios.