Annika Sörenstam

On this date in 1970, professional golfer Annika Charlotta Sörenstam was born in Bro, Sweden, to Gunilla and Tom Sörenstam. Her mother worked in a bank and her father was an IBM executive. Her younger sister Charlotta also became a pro golfer.

Extremely shy as a youth. she was a talented all-around athlete, excelling in soccer, tennis, skiing and golf. She would deliberately miss putts in the last round of tournaments in order to avoid making remarks as the winner.

She moved to the U.S. to play college golf at the University of Arizona in Tucson and won the NCAA Division I championship as a freshman. She turned pro in 1992 and in 1995 won the first of her eventual 72 LPGA Tour titles (3rd all-time as of this writing in 2023). All told she won 97 professional events, garnering nearly $23 million in earnings, the most of any woman golfer ever. She retired from the tour in 2008 but continued to play in selected events.

In 1997, Sörenstam married David Esch, whom she’d met three years earlier when he worked for Ping, a club manufacturer. After a 2005 divorce, she married Mike McGee, the managing director of the ANNIKA brand of businesses. She gave birth to Ava Madelyn McGee in 2009 when she was 38. Their son, William Nicholas McGee, followed in 2011.

Sörenstam published “Golf Annika’s Way” in 2004, an autobiography and golf instructional book. She holds dual Swedish and American citizenship and lives primarily in Florida. She is a U.S. ambassador for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and in 2021 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, along with golfers Gary Player and (posthumously) Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

At the 2023 American Century celebrity tournament won by NBA star Stephen Curry, Sörenstam finished sixth behind Curry, tennis player Mardy Fish, hockey player Joe Pavelski, former major league pitcher Mark Mulder and quarterback Aaron Rodgers

PHOTO: Sörenstam in Los Angeles at the 2008 ESPYs (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly); photo.

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