Thu, Nov 25, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Annika Sorenstam's goal is to set even more goals

AP , WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA

LPGA Rookie of the Year Kim Shi-hyun, left, of South Korea stands with LPGA Player-of-the-Year Annika Sorenstam of Sweden during the Rolex LPGA Player-of-ther-Year reception at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida on Saturday.

PHOTO: AFP

The biggest challenge for Annika Sorenstam is setting goals.

She already is in the World Golf Hall of Fame, inducted a year ago at the ripe old age of 33. She completed the career Grand Slam last year by winning the Women's British Open. She won for the 50th time on the LPGA in April. She would like to win three more majors to give her 10, but only because that sounds like a nice number.

"Because I have come so far in my career, [there's] nothing that is still out there," Sorenstam said.

Maybe she's not looking far enough.

Two years ago, when she won 11 times on the LPGA Tour, Sorenstam said she wasn't interested in chasing Kathy Whitworth's career record of 88 victories. At the time, she wasn't even halfway there.

But when Sorenstam ended another amazing season Sunday -- eight wins despite playing only 18 times on the LPGA Tour -- she had 56 career victories and was No. 5 on the list.

"I never thought 88 was possible, and I'm still so far away from it," she said. "I just wonder if I can continue on this pace. If I don't continue on this pace, there's no way. If it does happen, obviously that would be just be incredible."

The Swede repeated that 88 wins is not among her goals -- yet.

"Maybe if I reach 75," she said. "But then you've still got another 13, and that could take five years. I don't know. It really sounds so impossible. I guess you should never say `never.'"

The record still seems out of reach, but much more reasonable considering her dominance of women's golf.

When she captured the ADT Championship in a playoff at Trump International, it gave Sorenstam 33 victories over the last four years -- more than Hall of Famers Beth Daniel and Juli Inkster have won in their careers.

"I don't think people realize how hard it is to do what Annika has done," Cristie Kerr said.

Two more years like that, and Sorenstam might find herself closer to Whitworth than she ever dreamed.

No one works harder than Sorenstam. No one produces better under pressure.

She was third in driving distance, and led the LPGA Tour by hitting 79 percent of her greens in regulation. Her average score was 68.70, which was a massive 1.29 strokes ahead of Grace Park. The only reason Sorenstam didn't win the Vare Trophy was because she didn't play the minimum 70 rounds.

This year she had five more wins and US$1 million more in prize money than anyone else.

"It's going to rank up there. Maybe not the best year," she said. "This year is great because I didn't play as much, but I was still able to be up there."

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