She was the most dominating female golfer of her time and now her legacy will continue through the young stars who follow in her footsteps. Annika Sorenstam won 90 international tournaments as a professional, including 72 official LPGA tournaments and ten major championships. Beginning in 2014, the nation’s most outstanding NCAA Division I women’s golfer will win The ANNIKA Award.
The ANNIKA Foundation, in conjunction with the Haskins Commission, have created this award to honor the best of the best in women’s collegiate golf. The Haskins Commission governs the Haskins Award, which is presented annually to the top men’s player in college golf. For 41 years, this coveted trophy has honored the late Fred Haskins, a teaching pro who instilled the values of amateur golf to generations of youthful competitors.
Annika, an eight-time Rolex LPGA Player of the Year, said the relationship between her foundation and the Haskins Commission is a natural one. “The Haskins Award has been a prestigious accolade recognizing the best male collegiate players for over 40 years. I am thrilled to work with the Haskins Commission to create The ANNIKA Award to similarly honor the best collegiate female golfers.”
The winner of the Haskins Award is decided by a vote of college golfers and media members who cover the collegiate game and the commission will create a similar voting process for The ANNIKA Award. The Haskins Award winner receives an automatic exemption into the Greenbrier Classic and future recipients of The ANNIKA Award will be given an exemption into the Kraft Nabisco Championship, which is a major championship on the LPGA Tour.
The ANNIKA Foundation and Golfweek magazine – official media partner of The ANNIKA Award – are also finalizing plans for a major women’s college tournament to be played in Orlando, Fla. Annika, a former college star at the University of Arizona, hopes to attract many of the top college teams in the country starting in 2014.
“College golf meant a lot to me and helped get my career going in the right direction. And my Foundation provides playing opportunities globally to juniors who are passionate about the game. Therefore, creating a first-class invitational tournament for the best women’s teams to kick off the college golf season is a natural progression,” said Annika Sorenstam.
It’s never too early to search for the next great golf swing in America. Who’s got the best up and coming swing? We’ll soon find out when the Little Linksters golf program announces the winner of their Best Pee-Wee Golf Swing contest at the 2011 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, January 27-29.
Since July of 2008, the Little Linksters Golf program has brought the game of golf to a typically non-traditional sect of the golfing population; the “Pee-Wee” Golfer (Ages 3-8). The Little Linksters Golf Program is a great introduction to the game of golf for for all children in this age group. The program is taught in a fun and interactive way using a combination of both traditional golf instruction methods and very non-traditional ways.
Contest entries will be judged by Little Linkster’s founder, PGA Professional Brendon Elliott, who will be assisted by three celebrity golf judges – Annika Sorenstam, Hank Haney and Kelly Sheehan.
Parents were encouraged to participate in this contest by uploading a video of their little linksters on YouTube during the month of December and pasting that video link on the sign up page available on the Little Linksters website.
Prize packages will be awarded in three age categories: 3-4 year olds, 5-6 year olds, and 7-8 year olds. Each prize package is valued at more than $750 and includes items from some of the industry’s best children’s golf apparel, equipment and training aid companies.
For more information, please visit please visit www.littlelinksters.com.
Well that didn’t take long. Lorena Ochoa just recently announced her retirement from golf, but has now agreed to join another retired legend for a unique event on the golf course. Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa, who have combined for 99 career wins, will take part in the third annual Notah Begay Challenge, a fundraiser aimed at helping fight obesity and diabetes among Native American youth.
“They’re very big advocates in their own right for their own causes. For them to get behind this says a lot about what we’re trying to do,” said Begay, the only full-blooded Native American on the PGA Tour. “It means something to people. The only requirement that Annika had was that she had to make sure her ball wasn’t going to count the whole time. She’s a little worried. You never lose that competitive desire. She wanted to make sure she had a safety net.”
“There’s a mutual interest and there’s a lot of crossover,” Begay said. “She works with a lot of the poor Mexican communities, and to a certain degree they’re partly indigenous. A lot of the indigenous traditions in Mexico are similar to some of the southwestern Native American tribes. I think that she does realize that there are some similarities. If we’re able to support her efforts down the road, we’re certainly going to do that.”
The NB3 Challenge, staged at Turning Stone Resort and Casino’s Atunyote (ah-DUNE’-yote) Golf Club, is a collaboration between the resort’s owner, the Oneida Indian Nation of New York, and the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians of California.
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