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 51 of 131

Photo courtesy of USGA When Sorenstam spoke, the USGA listened Arnold Palmer. Tiger Woods. Clint Eastwood. Paula Creamer. Butch Harmon. All of these rather well known, in some cases iconic, fgures appeared this year when the USGA showcased those public service announcements to introduce the pace of play initiative titled "While We're Young." Annika Sorenstam participated in the TV spots, too. Truth be told, she is a major reason for the USGA's inspiration to launch the campaign last June. One year earlier, Sorenstam helped set the process in motion. She was doing commentary in the booth for the 2012 U.S. Women's Open when USGA President Glen Nager was interviewed on-air during the championship. What ensued was a catalyst for the "While We're Young" program. "Some of the players were taking as long as six hours to complete their rounds, and Annika understood that such long rounds just weren't acceptable for a major championship," says Rand Jerris, Ph.D., senior managing director of public services for the USGA. "She challenged Glen on the issue, aggressively, and asked him how the USGA could allow this to happen. When Glen came down from the booth, he admitted that Annika was absolutely right. Her words became the motivation for the USGA to step up and take on the issue. In challenging us openly and honestly, she spurred us into action and started the ball rolling." Nager announced in February 2013 the USGA's research and test center "initiated an ambitious project to create the frst dynamic pace-of-play model" for competitive and recreational golfers, which evolved into the "While We're Young" initiative. The USGA's website now includes an educational program, online resource center and a pledge for golfers to take action in the cause. Sorenstam says she was "all in" when the USGA asked her to be featured in the public service spots. She even tried to do her best Rodney Dangerfeld impersonation in homage to the man whose line from the cult classic flm "Caddyshack" matched the USGA's theme. In the movie, Dangerfeld grows impatient as Ted Knight continuously waggles over a shot, prompting Dangerfeld to yell, "Let's go — while we're young!" Sorenstam approves the message. "We play great courses, we have caddies, forecaddies, we have all the help in the world and it still takes too much time," Sorenstam says. — H.R. 48 GCM December 2013 was one of the worst girls," Reis says, "but the one thing I remembered about Annika is she always asked questions. Most of the other girls didn't. She really liked to understand what she needed to do to improve. She would stay on the driving range for hours, really trying to get it." Undoubtedly, Sorenstam grasped the subject with gusto. In 1987 she was a member of the Swedish National Golf Team. Three years later, the University of Arizona offered her a scholarship. She rewarded the program by becoming the frst foreigner and freshman to notch an NCAA individual title. Her success at Arizona greatly infuenced Sorenstam's career path. "I was studying to become a chemical engineer," Sorenstam says. Sorenstam, though, never needed Career Builder. She used her Arizona experience as a springboard to engineer a superb career on the links. "I don't think she was the greatest talent we've ever seen, but she may go down as the greatest player," Rankin says. "It may be hard for anyone to surpass the things she did." A short but sweet playing career Hilary Lunke never will forget Sorenstam. Obviously, the feeling was mutual. "Back in the 1990s I was a young amateur playing in the U.S. Open, and Stephanie Louden and I signed up for a practice round. We saw Annika and Charlotta's names up there on the board, so we signed up to play with them, thinking there's no way they'd show up to play with us," Lunke says. "Sure enough, they showed up. It was an amazing day." Lunke wrote Annika Sorenstam a note to thank her for the opportunity to play that practice round. Several years down the road, Lunke was paired in a tournament with Sorenstam, who out of the blue mentioned that note and how nice it was for her to send it. "I thought about how much mail she probably got, and she remembered me? This person, who was on top of the world, singled me out. I held her in even higher regard for it," Lunke says. Lunke, who posted her lone LPGA victory in the 2003 U.S. Open, realizes she never was able to replicate the good thing Sorenstam had going (really, who did?). In

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