nnika Sorenstam isn’t ruling out competing in the US Women’s Open next year, but she’s also not planning on it.
After winning the U.S. Senior Women’s Open by eight shots and equal the event’s best-ever total of 276 earlier this year, the 72-time LPGA winner returned to the sport after a 13-year layoff and seemed as if she hadn’t missed a beat. Sorenstam earned a spot in next year’s U.S. Women’s Open, which will be held at Pine Needles, where she won her second USWO in 1996.
The 51-year-old Swede made an appearance on Golf Channel’s “USGA Championship Season Year in Review,” which aired for the first time on Tuesday night. Rich Lerner asked Sorenstam whether she would accept the invitation to the US Women’s Open next year, citing Phil Mickelson’s PGA victory, in which he became the oldest major winner ever at the age of 50, as a reason she should try to become the oldest player – male or female – to win a major.
Lerner told Sorenstam, “Mickelson did it at the PGA Championship.” “There’s no reason why you can’t follow suit.”
While Sorenstam appreciated Lerner’s encouragement, she pointed out that Mickelson has played more more since her retirement in 2008 than she has, with 276 total Circuit and senior tour starts to her two. She’s still wondering if she can compete with the game’s emerging stars like Mickelson, and what she’ll do next June.
She explained, “First and foremost, Phil, he plays a little more than I do.” “He’s a little more engaged in the game and a little more energetic.”
“The young players are so talented nowadays, and they’re half my age, that it would be impossible, and I wouldn’t do it for any other reason than to appreciate the invitation.” I’ve visited Pine Needles numerous times and met Peggy Kirk Bell there, so it holds a special place in my heart. Winning in ’96, and there are a lot of signs that lead to going, but I don’t know, it would be very difficult. I have a lot of respect for the players today, for a variety of reasons, including my family and the privilege of being a part of golf.”
“Talk it down all you want, and we’ll talk it up all you want,” Lerner said, chuckling.
Amanda Blumenherst, a USGA champion who won the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur title, predicted that Sorenstam would reach a decision by the end of the presentation.
“This year – this coming year,” she said, “Annika will play at Pine Needles for the 2022 US Women’s Open.” “[Sorenstam] claims she won’t, but I saw her make the cut at the Gainbridge LPGA earlier this year (Sorenstam’s first start since 2008).” She was fatigued afterward and wanted to recuperate for the Senior Open, which she won by eight strokes. Her clubhead speed wasn’t where she wanted it to be, and she had a little rust. We’ll meet up with her at Pine Needles. I won’t say she’ll be a contender on Sunday, but she’ll make the cut. Annika’s participation in any US Open is great for golf.”
Jamie Diaz, who is also a co-host of the show, took Blumenherst’s forecast a step further.
Diaz stated, “I can see her being in contention, I think that much of her game.” “However, I believe Annika has the potential to do something similar to what Phil did in Kiawah Island at the age of 50.” She’s one-of-a-kind. “I’m sure she’ll have another fantastic moment.”
But before that “great moment” can occur, Sorenstam must be present and win the race.