Golf Course Management

DEC 2013

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Page 49 of 131

Sorenstam puts on a clinic in her homeland of Sweden. Photo courtesy of ANNIKA Foundation "She has always been and will continue to be one of the most unselfsh ambassadors the game has ever seen." — Peter Jacobsen Sorenstam's husband, Mike McGee, is certain his wife and the mother of his two children (Ava, 4, and Will, 2) was and is more than just a great golf champion. "She is a far better person than she ever was a golfer," McGee says. Sorenstam also is this: The 2014 Old Tom Morris Award recipient. She becomes the ffth female (joining Patty Berg, 1985; Dinah Shore, 1999; Nancy Lopez, 2000; and Rankin, 2010) to receive the honor that has been awarded since 1983. "She has always been and will continue to be one of the most unselfsh ambassadors the game has ever seen," says 2012 Old Tom Morris Award winner Peter Jacobsen. "While her focus is now on raising a family, she's never far from being involved at every level in the game of golf." Upon being told she would receive the Old Tom Morris Award (the ceremony is Feb. 5 at the Opening Session of the GCSAA Golf Industry Show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando), Sorenstam was taken aback. "I was very surprised and honored at the same time," Sorenstam, 43, says. "You never really think you ft in." Engineering a career path Maybe it was fate that Sorenstam never developed a solid backhand. As a youth in Sweden, Sorenstam quickly took to tennis, and why not? If you had designs on sports as a child in the 46 GCM December 2013 country that gave us Hollywood icon Greta Garbo, chances are you wanted to emulate slalom skiing star Ingemar Stenmark or tennis legend Bjorn Borg. "In tennis, you fnd a person's weakness and you play to it," Sorenstam says. "Mine was the backhand. They (opposing players) hit to it, and it would be frustrating." Ultimately, Sorenstam made a decision to shift her attention to golf, a choice that in time proved to be wise. "With golf, you can go practice on your own, and I liked the solitude," she says. "I could push myself to a certain level and I wasn't dependent on anybody but myself and I could play my own game." Perhaps she saw a window of opportunity that stretched beyond the nearby Baltic Sea, golf being the vehicle that might allow Sorenstam to explore life outside of Sweden. "Because we lived in a smaller town, I think we felt we needed to get some place," says Sorenstam's sister, Charlotta Sorenstam. "We really weren't given anything, so to speak. We always wanted more. We worked for more. We learned hard work is what you have to do to get better. Working hard opened doors." Sorenstam's hunger to master golf was evident to swing instructor Henri Reis, who has remained by her side throughout her career. In her early teenage years, Sorenstam possessed a desire unlike others'. "When I frst saw her, technically, she

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