Sorenstam Helps Celebrate Anniversary
- Despite a bevy of golf contests Saturday afternoon at
Neshanic Valley Golf Course, it wasn't enough of a
distraction to detract from at least one woman's presence.
After all, it's not every day stops by.
|Annika Sorenstam, right, greets a fan
prior to Saturday's clinic. (Dan Kaiser/USGA)|
"She's the greatest woman golfer on earth," said
, an organizer instrumental in getting the most recognizable
female player in golf to participate.
Naturally, there was no one more desirable to attend the
course's inaugural first women's tournament.
In honor of the Somerset County Park Commission's 50
Anniversary, Sorenstam attended partially because of the success
of the at the course. The other reason being that she has long
been dedicated to giving back to the game. The commission has
been holding special events on a monthly basis to celebrate; this
one with Sorenstam was one of the most prestigious.
"I've been with [the golf manufacturer] for many
years and they're a very supportive community," said
Sorenstam. "I'm happy to be here."
Of course, Sorenstam's visit was the highlight of the
event. The defending U.S. Women's Open champion signed
autographs and took photographs with fans before holding a
clinic. Stands were set up around a tee; a diverse audience
participated in an interactive setup where Sorenstam spoke about
her particular methods of golf.
"I will try to demonstrate how I warm up and go
over some of the things I think about," said Sorenstam to
kick-start the clinic. In addition to explaining what she finds
essential to her game, she encouraged questions from those in
attendance by engaging the audience with humor and a warm
personality. Sorenstam, a three-time Women's Open champion,
recommended that people "work on good habits" and to
"have your mind on what you've got to do, not only in
golf but in everything."
At one point Sorenstam invited two young female golfers to
come onto the green for a private evaluation of their swing.
Sorenstam cited interaction with youths as one of the main
reasons she was drawn to the event.
"The biggest reason to focus on young golfers is because
it is the growth of the game," she said. "I
remember being a junior and saw role models. was quite the role
model, someone I tried to copy."
Sorenstam added that as a household-name athlete she has
"the responsibility to be a role model."
of , attended the event with his wife and 10-year-old daughter
Alice, one of the volunteers Sorenstam worked with
personally. "My daughter is really interested in golf
and we are very excited to be here today and meet Annika,"
Golf partners of , and of , attended to see Sorenstam.
Both are attracted to the LPGA because of her.
|During the clinic Annika Sorenstam,
defending Women's Open champion, explains some of the
tactics that have made her successful. (Dan Kaiser/USGA)|
"She's got talent," said Steffens.
"On television, I find her very gracious and a very good
sport," said Hart, adding that by seeing her in person,
Sorenstam "absolutely" upheld her perceptions of
Sorenstam's involvement with Neshanic Golf Course provided
one example of her intense commitment to golf. She recently
broke ground on 's Academy of Golf & Fitness at Reunion
Resort & Club in , which she calls a "unique combination
of golf instruction with fitness." In the same vein,
she has plans to release a fitness in the coming year.
Sorenstam believes that it is never too late to get children
on the course, as long as they ask and are not forced to
play. She recalled many of the drills she completed as a
junior and has interest in bringing them, along with her current
technique, to the public.
An opportunity to back her words, Sorenstam delivered on
is a freelance writer whose work has appeared previously on
USGA Web sites.