She’s the only woman to ever break 60 in a golf round (I’d be pumped if that was my score after nine holes—not 18!). She challenged fellow golf pro Fred Funk to a bet about hitting the longest drive—and won—forcing him to wear a skirt for a hole (“we still laugh about it today,” she says).
But what is making Annika Sorenstam most professionally proud today? The ANNIKA Foundation and The ANNIKA Academy, groups she founded to introduce young golfers to the game and pass along advice to current players. We spoke with Sorenstam last week to learn more about these programs and what she’s been up to since she officially retired from the sport in 2008.
How did you get your start with golf?
My parents introduced me and we lived five minutes away from a course. I played all kinds of sports as a kid, so golf wasn’t my sole passion at the time. My love for it grew from there, though.
When you first hit the pro circuit, you were a lot shier than you are today. How did you overcome this?
As an amateur, this affected my game [Editor's Note: Sorenstam has admitted that, as a junior, she delibertely placed second in some tournaments to avoid giving a victory speech.], but when I won the U.S. Open in 1995, I learned quickly. I knew I needed to communicate and interview better if I wanted to inspire others and be a leader. I do feel very comfortable with who I am and what I am trying to say now. I keep in mind that I’m talking passionately about things I know, and have the facts to back it up. It’s all about trusting your abilities.