The Captains Club today announced that the 2014 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance will be played in honor of legendary LPGA Tour player and World Golf Hall of Fame member Annika Sorenstam.
In a career that featured an amazing 89 worldwide wins—the most by any female in history—including 72 LPGA victories and 10 major championships, Sorenstam was a dominant force in women’s golf during her 15-year career. She collected a record eight Rolex Player of the Year Awards, and she added a record six Vare Trophies for the lowest scoring average. Sorenstam holds the record for the lowest scoring average in a season (68.6969 in 2004). She is the only female golfer to cross the $20 million mark in career earnings.
Born October 9, 1970, in Stockholm, Sweden, Sorenstam came to America to attend the University of Arizona, a decision she calls the turning point of her life. She won the 1991 NCAA Division I individual golf championship—the first non-American and first freshman to capture the national title—for one of seven victories in her brief collegiate career. After turning professional in 1992, she was voted Rookie of the Year on the Ladies European Tour and then won similar honors after joining the LPGA in 1994.
Sorenstam’s breakout season came in 1995 when she won the U.S. Women’s Open for her first LPGA victory. She repeated as U.S. Women’s Open champion in 1996.
Sorenstam was selected the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year from 2003-2005, and the Golf Writers Association of America LPGA Player of the Year in 1995, ’97, and each year from 2000-2005. Sorenstam played on seven consecutive Solheim Cup teams for Europe, beginning in 1994.
Along her record career path, Sorenstam accomplished a variety of other significant milestones in golf. In 2001, she became the first woman to break the 60 barrier, firing a 13-under 59 in the second round of the Standard Register PING, which remains the lowest round in LPGA history. From 2001-2005, Sorenstam won 43 times and finished in the top three nearly 70 percent of the time. This remarkable stretch also included 11 wins in 2002, tying Mickey Wright’s single season LPGA victory mark.
In 2003, Sorenstam competed in the Bank of America Colonial at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, becoming the first woman to appear in a PGA TOUR event since Hall of Famer Babe Zaharias in 1945 at the Los Angeles Open. This was also the year that Sorenstam was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
After adding three more wins in 2008, which put her career total third on the list for all-time LPGA victories, Sorenstam abruptly retired from competitive golf at the age of 37 to dedicate herself to her family and to her off-course career. She turned to her growing business, which includes brand development, golf course design, her golf academy, and serving as a regular contributor on the Golf Channel. She also began to devote more time to her charitable foundation, ANNIKA.
In 2009, Sorenstam joined Jack Nicklaus as an official Global Ambassador for golf’s unified campaign to gain inclusion into the Olympic Games, a goal realized in October of that year, when the International Olympic Committee voted to add golf to the 2016 Olympic Program.
Today, she lives in Orlando, Fla., with her husband, Mike McGee, and children Ava and William.
VIDEO: Annika Sorenstam comments on being the Memorial Tournament honoree