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Annika Sorenstam to become USGA ambassador

Annika Sorenstam will play in her final U.S. Women’s Open next week at Interlachen, but her involvement with the U.S. Golf Association won’t end there. The three-time champion will become a USGA ambassador, involved in the Rules of Golf and with programs to grow the game.

“Annika has earned a rare place in golf’s history, and we are very privileged to bring her aboard the USGA,” president Jim Vernon said.

Sorenstam made a brief appearance at Torrey Pines, coming to the U.S. Open for corporate work with Lexus. She will be hard to miss at Interlachen, even for those who don’t attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

Her first round will be streamed live on the tournament’s web site, the first time that has happened in women’s golf. Fans on the Internet will be able to see every shot from Sorenstam and her two other playing partners (Paula Creamer is expected to be one of them) during the first round.

Live streaming in the second round will focus on the traditional pairing of defending champion Cristie Kerr, Women’s British Open champion Lorena Ochoa and U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Maria Uribe.

Sorenstam’s first LPGA Tour victory came in the 1995 U.S. Women’s Open at the Broadmoor, and she added titles in 1996 at Pine Needles and 2006 at Newport Country Club. A victory next week would allow Sorenstam to join Mickey Wright and Betsy Rawls as the only four-time champions.

The 37-year-old Swede is retiring after this year and looking forward to her work with the USGA. Sorenstam long has been a whiz with the rules, one of the few players on any tour who has attended the USGA rules seminars.

“It is the opportunity to help grow the game, especially among junior golfers, that I think is most exciting for me,” Sorenstam said. “Golf has always been a very important part of my life, and I see this as a great opportunity to give something back to the game that has given me so much.”


June 18, 2008

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