Tee and Sympathy
Ladies Professional Golf Association star Annika Sorenstam had her sights set on tennis stardom when a terminally weak backhand forced her to cash in her racket for a set of golf clubs.
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Twenty years later, she’s the LPGA all-time leading money winner, with 68 tournament wins, including 10 major tournaments, eight Rolex Player of the Year awards and induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Sorenstam credits much of her success to her experience as a member of her college golf team, so she quickly agreed to give a clinic at the Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert to raise scholarship money for UCR’s golf programs.
“It fits in really well with some of the stuff I’m doing with junior golf, so I thought I could help out and give them one or two pointers … and that would be great,” she told reporters.
Along with tips on training, like how to line up a shot and the proper use of a driver (“the key is to sort of sweep it off the tee”), the top woman golfer in the world also shared a few life lessons.
“I got a lot of experience at school,” she told the gathering of enthusiastic golf team members, UCR donors and university staffers. “It taught me a lot about life and people. It taught me what I wanted as a career.”
Sorenstam, who spent two years at the University of Arizona before leaving to turn pro, also made a small confession. “Sometimes, I wish I’d stayed and finished college,” she told the group. “Take advantage of the opportunity. It’s a great time to absorb everything you can.”
For UCR golf team member Linda Ong, the golf star was an inspiration. “It shows me there’s a place for me out there and if I work hard with a lot of determination I can get there.”