Far Hills, N.J. – Three-time United States Women’s Open champion and World Golf and LPGA Hall-of-Fame member Annika Sorenstam has been named a United States Golf Association Ambassador, according to USGA President Jim Vernon.
“Annika has earned a rare place in golf’s history, and we are very privileged to bring her aboard the USGA,” said Vernon. “As a USGA Ambassador, Annika will help us make the game more accessible and more relevant to players of all skill levels. She’ll provide key help in many ways, and we will begin the relationship through an innovative Webcast from this year’s U.S. Women’s Open.”
Sorenstam’s first round at the championship, to be held at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn., (June 26-29), will be streamed live on the USGA’s U.S. Women’s Open championship Web site (www.uswomensopen.com), a first in the world of women’s golf. “Users will be able to view every shot that she and the other players in her grouping make during her first round on June 26,” added Vernon.
On Friday of the championship, www.uswomensopen.com will stream video featuring the traditional grouping of defending U.S. Women’s Open champion Cristie Kerr, Women’s British Open champion Lorena Ochoa and U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Maria Jose Uribe. The 2008 U.S. Women’s Open will be the first international women’s golf event to feature this fan-friendly option.
Universally regarded as one of the most dominant players in LPGA history, Sorenstam raised the profile of women’s golf to an unprecedented level while compiling a remarkable list of records and accomplishments. After turning professional in 1992, and beginning play on the LPGA in 1994, Sorenstam has recorded 88 career wins (72 on the LPGA and U.S. Women’s Open titles in 1995, 1996 and 2006). Her record includes 10 major championships. She earned a record eight Rolex Player-of-the-Year awards; a record-tying eight money list titles; six Vare Trophies for the lowest scoring average; was named Golf Writers Association of America Female Player of the Year eight times and became the first player in LPGA history to cross the $22 million mark in earnings. She has participated on eight Solheim Cup teams and was inducted into the LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame in 2003.
“I am extremely honored to be able to serve in this role with the USGA,” said Annika. “The U.S. Women’s Open was the site of my first win in the United States in 1995, and the event will always hold a special place in my heart, as I know it does for many, many others. It is the opportunity to help grow the game, especially among junior golfers, that I think is most exciting for me. Golf has always been a very important part of my life, and I see this as a great opportunity to give something back to the game that has given me so much.”
In addition to robust online content at this year’s Women’s Open, Sorenstam will appear on the USGA’s Web site (www.usga.org) and will highlight the Rules of Golf. >Mike Davis, the USGA’s Senior Director of Rules and Competitions, added: “It makes perfect sense as Annika has attended a USGA Rules Seminar and has always displayed a passion for learning and mastering the Rules of Golf.” Sorenstam will also work with the USGA in a variety of ways to grow the game with a focus on growth in the women’s game and junior participation.
The USGA is the national governing body of golf in this country and Mexico, a combined territory that includes more than half the world’s golfers and golf courses.
The Association's most visible role is played out each season in conducting 13 national championships, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open. Ten additional USGA national championships are exclusively for amateurs, and include the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Women's Amateur.
The USGA also writes the Rules of Golf, conducts equipment testing, provides expert course maintenance consultations, funds research for better turf and a better environment, maintains a Handicap System and administers an ongoing "For the Good of the Game" grants program, which has allocated more than $59 million over 11 years to successful programs that bring the game’s values to youths from disadvantaged backgrounds and people with disabilities.