Sorenstam looms at major

She's at top of her game on a course she likes, with a goal of winning the Nabisco and the three other majors.

Associated Press
Published March 24, 2005

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - Annika Sorenstam came to the California desert last year with a big goal befitting her status as the dominant player in women's golf. She wanted to do what no one had ever done - win all four LPGA major championships in one year.

By the final round of the first major of the year, that goal was history. Sorenstam was never in contention in the Nabisco Championship, and she would go on to win only one major, the LPGA Championship.

With a new year, though, comes new opportunity. And this year brings even more.

Sorenstam begins play today in the Nabisco with a shot at all four majors again, but the way she has been playing, perhaps that goal is too modest. She has won her first two tournaments so far this year, and four in a row going back to last season.

Perhaps a new goal should be winning every time she tees it up. Sorenstam had to mull that one over a bit Wednesday before answering, but the thought is clearly in her mind.

"I'm not afraid of challenges. I like to set goals and I like to challenge myself," Sorenstam said. "I set some lofty goals last year, no doubt about it. But it's not like I look back at last year and say it was a bad year because I didn't achieve my goals."

By anyone else's standards, it was a banner year. Sorenstam only won one major, but she won seven other LPGA tournaments and 10 overall.

She's back on a course she likes and her game is as good as it has been. She's not only an odds-on favorite, but an intimidating presence.

"I want to win majors," Sorenstam said. "I know I'm playing well and I know this golf course. I really don't have any excuses."

Grace Park is the defending champion, but Sorenstam and teenage sensation Michelle Wie will be the ones providing the buzz as the LPGA season begins in earnest on the tight fairways and slick greens of the Mission Hills Country Club.

Park will have a tough time defending this week - if she plays. She injured her back playing in Mexico City earlier this year and as late as Tuesday wasn't even sure she would be able to defend her title.