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Sorenstam wins Golf Writers' Trophy

Annika Sorenstam's historic season has been recognised with her winning the 2003 Golf Writers' Trophy.

Sorenstam's incredible list of achievements during the year helped the 33-year-old Swede top the annual Association of Golf Writers poll in front of Britain and Ireland's Walker Cup team, the European Solheim Cup side of which she was a member and European tour number one Ernie Els.

“I am deeply honoured,” said Sorenstam, who completed a career Grand Slam in the women's majors and became the first woman to play on the US men's tour since 1945.

“I am proud of all that I have accomplished and I am truly thankful to the members of the European press for recognising my achievements. It means a lot to me to join the prestigious list of past recipients of the Golf Writers' Trophy.”

The trophy is awarded to the player, born or resident in Europe, or team who have made the ‘most outstanding contribution to golf during the preceding 12 months'.

Sorenstam is the first woman to win the award since Alison Nicholas in 1997 and the first ever from outside Britain and Ireland apart from the Solheim Cup team in 1992.

She joins Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Sergio Garcia as continental Europeans who have won the award on their own.

Ian Randell, chief executive of the Ladies European Tour, said: “Annika's performances fully justify the award and I'm delighted for her.

“Her achievements and the way she conducts herself on and off the course are something of which we can be very proud. She was an inspiration to the Solheim Cup team and really led from the front.

“She continues to set new standards and has raised the expectations of others by showing them the dedication required to perform at a level previously unmatched. Everything she has done has had a very positive impact for the women's game.”

Sorenstam brought unprecedented attention to her sport by appearing in the Bank of America Colonial tournament in May.

She did miss the halfway cut, but utilised the experience to achieve even greater heights in the women's game by capturing two major championships and becoming only the sixth player to win a career Grand Slam.

The women's world number one beat Grace Park in a play-off at the McDonald's LPGA Championship and won the Weetabix Women's British Open for the first time after beating Se Ri Pak by one stroke in a thrilling final-round duel at Royal Lytham.

She joined Ballesteros, Tony Jacklin, Gary Player, Peter Thomson and Bobby Jones in becoming a British Open champion at the famous Lancashire links.

With four points from five games, Sorenstam helped Europe regain the Solheim Cup in front of a home gallery at Barseback in Sweden.

She had seven worldwide victories, set or tied 22 LPGA records, won the money list for a third successive year and was the LPGA Player of the Year for the sixth time.

Sorenstam was also inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame and ended the season by finishing second to Freddie Couples in the Skins Game.

“If you measure a year in the amount of victories, last year I won more,” she added.

“But the experiences I had this year and obviously Colonial, that's the greatest thing that will ever happen to me.

“It was like a fairy tale and I didn't want it to end. I think it's the best year I've ever had. I have wonderful memories.

“I played some great golf. I think I've really taken my game to a different level, which is really my goal.

“The Colonial was incredible. I'll never forget the first shot. But I want to win majors and I'll also never forget the final tee shot at the British Open. It's probably the best tee shot I've ever hit.

“I'd like to win a few more majors, for sure. I feel like I haven't reached my peak yet. So I'm going to go hard again next year and see if I can achieve some of the more goals I have, some more majors, and we'll see what happens.”

Ty Votaw, commissioner of the US LPGA Tour, said: “We are thrilled that Annika has been selected by the European golf writers as the winner of the 2003 Golf Writers Trophy.

“Throughout her career, Annika has made a lasting mark on so many golf fans worldwide and with her marvellous performances this year there is no denying Annika's impact on women's golf, the LPGA and the sport in general.

“Annika has brought increased awareness and excitement to the sport and to the LPGA and as her celebrity grows worldwide we are so pleased that she calls the LPGA home.”

Catrin Nilsmark's Solheim Cup team were edged out of second place by only one vote by Garth McGimpsey's Walker Cup team, which won for an unprecedented third successive time.

Darren Clarke also featured in the poll.

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