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Annika Sorenstam to quit golf

May 14, 2008 19:26 IST

Sweden's Annika Sorenstam, who has dominated women's golf for a decade, said on Tuesday she would quit competition at the end of this year.

Sorenstam, who has 72 LPGA Tour victories and 10 major titles, made her announcement at a news conference before this week's Sybase Classic in Clifton, New Jersey.

"I am very proud of what I have accomplished as a professional golfer and while I will no longer be playing competitively, I will continue to be very involved and engaged in the game of golf," Sorenstam said.

The 37-year-old Swede earned a record eight Player of the Year awards on the LPGA Tour after starting on the circuit in 1994 and won six Vare trophies for lowest scoring average.

Sorenstam was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003.

Her announcement comes after a seven-shot victory on Sunday in the Michelob Ultra Open in which she beat world number one Lorena Ochoa among other rivals to ease some of the frustration of a winless 2007 season marred by back and neck injuries.

"The reason for this decision is that I have other priorities in my life," she said. "I have a lot of dreams that I want to follow, I want to live and I'm getting married in January.

"(Fiance) Mike (McGee) and I want to start a family."

Sorenstam said it was important for her to regain her form and not be forced into retirement due to injury. Her win at Kingsmill was her third of the season in eight events played.

"I wanted to leave on my terms when it felt right. I didn't want an injury to take me away from this game. Now I feel at peace."

Sorenstam was a model of consistency during her reign at the top of the women's game, using a dedication to fitness to maintain a competitive edge.

She feels the women's game is in very good health.

"I am also very proud of women's golf and the state it's in today," she said. "I think the last 15 years, I've seen a tremendous change and it's really grown to an amazing place.

"I'm just very, very happy to have been a part of it and had a chance to follow my dream."

Sorenstam said she would continue to pursue her business interests, including her golf academy in Florida, charitable foundation and golf course design projects.

She said she planned to complete her full schedule this season, playing some 17 more events concluding with the Dubai Ladies Masters.

"I am going to focus on my game the next seven months. I'm a huge competitor and right now I'm second on the Money List, and people that know me, know I don't settle for second," she said.


Born: Oct. 9, 1970 in Stockholm.
Starts playing golf at age of 12.
*1992 - Wins world amateur title.
*1993 - Joins LPGA Tour.
*1995 - Wins first major championship at U.S. Open.
*1996 - Defends U.S. Open crown by posting four sub-par rounds and surpasses $1 million in career earnings.
*1997 - Captures six titles.
*1998 - Wins three titles and becomes the first player in LPGA history to finish a season with a sub-70 scoring average (69.99).
*2001 - Wins eight times - clinches first major since 1996 with victory at the Nabisco Championship and regains position as world number one.
*2002 - Racks up 13 titles worldwide to complete one of the most successful seasons in golfing history.
*2003 - Plays alongside men at the Colonial tournament, becoming first female to compete in a PGA Tour event since Babe Zaharias in 1945. Misses cut by four shots. - claims fifth career major, the LPGA Championship, and edges out South Korea's Pak Se Ri by a shot to win her first women's British Open, completing career grand slam with sixth major title.
*2006: Wins U.S. Open for her 10th major championship.
*2007: Suffers serious neck injury.
*2008: Wins Michelob Ultra Open by seven strokes for her third victory of the season - announces plans to retire at end of year.

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