Baby keeps Sorenstam happy

2009-10-27 08:25

Orlando - Annika Sorenstam says she has no regrets over her decision to "step away" from competitive golf, and has fully embraced her new role as a mother while juggling various other business interests.

Widely regarded as the best female player of all time, the Swede brought the curtain down on her glittering career at the Dubai Ladies Masters at the end of last year.

Since then, Sorenstam has given birth to her first child, helped golf's successful bid to be included on the Olympic schedule from the 2016 Games and acted as an advisor to the LPGA Tour in its search for a new Commissioner.

Not once has she missed the cut-and-thrust of tournament golf, although she does not rule out a possible return to competition at some point in the future.

"I don't want to close the door," Sorenstam, 39, said in a telephone interview from her home in Florida. "You just never know what life brings you.

"I am very content with where I am and with what I have achieved and what I am doing right now so I don't have any plans to return (to competitive golf).

"But I do know that if I wanted to, I have the opportunity to do it," added the Swede, whose career tally of 72 LPGA Tour victories includes 10 major titles.

"That gives me peace of mind. But what really needs to happen is that I need to get my motivation back, my focus back and my hunger back."

For the time being, a golfing return is highly unlikely. The biggest change in Sorenstam's life was the birth of her daughter Ava on Sept. 1 and she has since relished the challenge of motherhood.

"To translate that into golf terms, I would say that Ava's arrival was like my grand slam (of the four women's majors)," Sorenstam said. "It has changed my life tremendously.

"The addition of what she brings to our lives - the smiles and the love - it's truly amazing. We are cherishing every minute with her and really enjoying parenthood."

Asked whether she had missed the women's golf circuit, she replied: "Not that much. I have so many other fun things in the works that it keeps me busy and it keeps my mind occupied.

"And being involved in the game on different levels takes care of that," Sorenstam added, citing her role as a global ambassador for the International Golf Federation, her golf academy, her charitable foundation and the ANNIKA Inspiration Award launched earlier this month.

"I am very, very involved in the game in one way or another and therefore I don't miss it. I have no regrets whatsoever in stepping away.

"I never felt like I needed to have another win or another major or play another three more years. I am very happy and satisfied with my career."

Golf's successful bid to return to the Olympics in 2016 will, in Sorenstam's opinion, help the sport shed its long-established image of being elitist and too expensive.

"Golf is an old game with old traditions and it still has men's clubs and things like that," she said.

"But this is going to help eliminate that by opening up the game to everybody, to countries that have never really been exposed to golf.

"The game is now going to be more affordable. Getting back into the Olympics was an historic moment for golf and I am confident that we will bring something extra to it."