While playing in the ANZ Ladies Masters in Gold Coast, Australia,
Annika Sorenstam took a trip to Sea World to ride on a dolphin.
"When he was pulling me along in the water," Sorenstam said, "he
was so fast that I had to hold my bottoms on!" Yes, Annika kept
her clothes on, but that doesn't mean her outbursts on and off
the course weren't revealing.
After shooting back-to-back 65s on Saturday and Sunday to win the
tournament by four strokes with a 19-under 269, the normally
reserved Hall of Famer and her sister, fellow LPGA player
Charlotta, hoisted a bottle of champagne on the 18th green.
Earlier in the week Annika uncharacteristically schmoozed
sponsors and even debuted a sassy line of self-designed golf
clothes (on which she admittedly forgot to include pockets). It
was perhaps the most open and carefree the world has seen her.
After the victory Ms. 59 was equally forthcoming in discussing
her plans for this season. She'll play in 15 events on the LPGA
tour, the minimum needed to maintain her membership, and only
three in Europe, the minimum to be eligible for the Solheim Cup.
The idea is to be primed and rested for the four majors--the
Kraft Nabisco Championship, the McDonald's LPGA Championship and
the Women's U.S. and British Opens--because her goal this year is
to win them all, an unprecedented feat on any tour. It's a quest
that's Tigeresque in scope. Woods, like Jack Nicklaus before him,
plays only 18 to 21 events a year with an eye toward maximizing
his performance in the majors, and he's come closest to the Slam,
winning all four in a row, though not in a single year.
For Sorenstam, however, the possibility seems more realistic. She
has already won 48 LPGA events (including 11 in 2002 and six last
year), achieved a career Grand Slam and last year held her own in
the PGA Tour's Colonial. In short, Sorenstam has accomplished
everything she has set out to do, so there's no reason to doubt
that she can pull off the Grand Slam too. (Last year she won two
majors and held at least a share of the final-round lead in the
Just as intriguing as her desire to sweep the majors is the
subtext of her stated intentions. "I'm going to focus on the
events that really matter," she said in Australia, "and enjoy
time at home and with my family."
The 33-year-old has made no secret of her plans to hang up her
golf spikes and start a family. So when, in the same breath, she
mentions both her grand goal and "home" and "family," one is left
to wonder: If Annika wins the Grand Slam, will she stop making
birdies and start making babies sooner than we think?
COLOR PHOTO: STEVE HOLLAND/AP (SORENSTAM) FLIPPED OUT Sorenstam coasted in Australia after almost losing her suit while swimming with a dolphin.
COLOR PHOTO: CHRIS MCGRATH/GETTY IMAGES (DOLPHIN) [See caption above]
COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT BECK (LEANY)
COLOR PHOTO: SCOTT HALLERAN/GETTY IMAGES (BADDELEY)
TWO COLOR PHOTOS: ACTION IMAGES/ICON SMI (STRANGE, DUBAI)
If the rest of the PGA Tour season is as good as the West Coast
swing, during which the game's biggest names were in top form,
2004 is going to be a year to remember.
Up & Down
The top Aussie at the Match Play is proving to be a big-time
player in marquee events.
The Middle East's postwar recovery gains momentum as Tiger et al.
return to the desert.
Sounded good and provided welcome insights during his ESPN debut
as an on-course analyst.
The most-hyped Aussie finished second in Tucson after bogeying
the final hole.
With tough dates and a bad Monster, only two of the top 10--Phil
Mickelson and Retief Goosen--will play.
Lit into Kirk Triplett for skipping the Match Play. Bet he
wouldn't have said boo had it been Tiger.