Annika Sorenstam returns home to Sweden
Winning only one major this year may actually have prolonged Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam's illustrious golf career.
Before this season, Sorenstam said her goal was to capture the Grand Slam -- winning all four majors in the same year.
That dream ended already in March, when she wound up a disappointing 13th in the Nabisco Championship in California. Later she won the LPGA Championship and finished second in the Women's U.S. Open. And last week she had another 13th (tied) in the Women's British Open.
``I never announced a date when I'm going to retire, but since I didn't reach my goals this year I'd like to do it next year,'' Sorenstam, 33, said on the eve of the HP Open Ladies European Tour event starting Thursday on the Ullna golf course. ``And I'm still motivated to get better.''
A seven-time major winner, Sorenstam was in contention going into the final round of the British Open, but finished with a 71 while winner Karen Stupples shot an 8-under 64 after starting eagle-double eagle.
``I was disappointed because I've played so well all year long,'' said Sorenstam,who has won five LPGA tournaments and finished runner-up three times in 13 starts.
``I'm more consistent, my short game is better, but competition is tougher. In the past, you won a major if you shot four rounds under par. In the British Open I played four rounds under par and finished 13th.''
Sorenstam reunited with her longtime coach, Henri Reis, before the HP Open.
``There was a little thing in my back swing,'' she said.
Last year, Sorenstam finished third in the HP Open on another Stockholm course. Compatriot Sophie Gustafson beat Norway's Suzann Pettersen, who plays on the LPGA Tour and is also a member of last year's European team that won the Solheim Cup over the United States in southern Sweden last year.
This year, organizers moved the tournament to the Ullna golf course north of Stockholm. One of Sweden's best courses, it sits along Lake Ullna and hosted five men's European Tour events in the 1980s. Tiger Woods played the SAS Invitational Match Play event at Ullna four years ago and lost to Jesper Parnevik of Sweden.
The world's top women haven't played there since 1982, when Nancy Lopez and Sally Little were on a United States mixed team that beat Sweden.
Sven Tumba, the first Swede to try out for a National Hockey League team, the Boston Bruins in the mid 1950s, and later a golf pioneer in Sweden, designed the course.
``I played it when I was an amateur, must have been 15 years ago, and I know it's a very nice course,'' Sorenstam said.
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