LOS ANGELES // Sweden's Annika Sorenstam, the dominant figure in women's golf for the past decade, is ready to make a poignant farewell appearance on the LPGA Tour at this week's season-ending ADT Championship. Sorenstam will also play in the Lexus Cup in Singapore this month before bringing down the curtain on her competitive career at the Dec 11-14 Dubai Ladies Masters. Although the 37-year-old Swede intends to retain her ties to the game away from tournament golf, she has prepared for an emotional send-off.
"I'm not really sure how I'll feel or what the emotions will be," Sorenstam told reporters in the build-up to Thursday's first round at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. "It's been very different since I announced my stepping away," added the Swede, who publicly announced in May she would be quitting the game. "I've not played as well and I don't know if it's because I've been busy getting involved with tournaments, saying goodbye and engaging with fans and sponsors or unconsciously knowing I've made the decision and I'm having a hard time focusing."
Sorenstam, whose career tally of 72 LPGA Tour victories includes 10 major titles, has bittersweet feelings about this week. "It's a tournament that's meant a lot to me throughout the years," the four-times champion said. "It's really going to summarise my career on the LPGA. "So in a way I'm looking forward to it, in another way I'm not. "Even though the ADT is my last LPGA (event), it's not my last one as a professional. I think it will be different than when I fly home from Dubai when I'm totally finished as a professional."
Sorenstam, a three-times winner on the LPGA Tour this season, has no regrets about moving on. She wants to start a family and plans to pursue business interests, including her golf academy in Florida, charitable foundation and course design projects. "I've achieved so much more than I thought I could and I'm ready to move on," she said. "I didn't know how long I was going to play. I was so motivated with short-term goals and long-term goals and winning majors. That was driving me.
"Then all of a sudden, I felt like I achieved what I wanted to. The motivation was not there anymore. I'm still playing good golf but I have achieved everything. I just felt the time was right." Sorenstam piled up a record eight Player of the Year awards on the LPGA Tour after making her debut in 1994. She won six Vare trophies for the lowest scoring average and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003.