It was May 13, 2008, two days after she won the Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill, her third victory of the season and 72nd of her remarkable LPGA Tour career. That’s when Annika Sorenstam shockingly announced her plans to retire from the game at the end of that year. That victory had pushed her passed the $22 million mark in career money won on the LPGA Tour, several million dollars ahead of her closest rivals. She was only 37, and seemingly had plenty of good golf left in her.
A little more than 15 years later, several of Sorenstam’s personal bests remain LPGA records that look like they’ll last for years to come. As she celebrates the 20th anniversary of her historic appearance in the PGA Tour’s Bank of America Colonial, here are several facts that are worth remembering to help give context to just how impressive a player Sorenstam truly was.
1. In 1991, while playing at the University of Arizona, Sorenstam became the first foreign-born player to win the NCAA individual title and the first freshman winner.
2. In 1998, she was the first LPGA player to finish the season with a sub-70 scoring average (69.99).
3. At the tournament in which she shot an LPGA record 59, Sorenstam recorded the lowest winning score in a 72-hole event, taking the 2001 Standard Register Ping at Moon Valley in Phoenix with a 27-under 261. It wasn’t until 17 years later that the record was finally broken, Sei Young Kim shooting a 31-under 257 at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic.
4. Two years later, Sorenstam set the record for the lowest winning score in a 54-hole tournament at the 2003 Mizuno Classic with a 24-under 192. This record still stands.
5. She still shares the LPGA record for the largest come-from-behind win, overcoming a 10-stroke deficit to win the 2001 Office Depot.
6. She had the most wins of any LPGA player in the 1990s (18).
7. She had the most wins of any LPGA player in the 2000s (54).
8. Of her 72 career LPGA wins, 16 came in playoffs. Her overall playoff record was 16-6 (72.7 per cent).
9. Her eight player-of-the-year awards is the most of any player in LPGA history.
10. In 2002, she finished the season with a 68.70 scoring average, which remains the LPGA single-season record.
11. She holds the LPGA record for the most consecutive wins in a single tournament (5) at the Mizuno Classic.
12. Upon taking the title at the 2005 LPGA Championship, after winning in 2003 and 2004, she became the first LPGA player to claim the same major in three straight years. Only Inbee Park has matched that feat.
13. In 2005, she won 10 tournaments in 20 starts. In six of those tournaments, she defended her title from the previous season.
14. In 311 career LPGA starts, she missed just 11 cuts.
15. In addition to 72 wins on the LPGA Tour, she had 46 runner-up finishes and 24 third-place showings. In other words, in 46 per cent of her career LPGA starts, she finished in the top three. She also recorded 209 top-10 finishes overall, 68 per cent of her career starts.
16. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame at age 33. At the time, she had 47 LPGA career wins, meaning she won 25 more times after already getting into St. Augustine.
17. In 2021, she came out of retirement to play in her first LPGA in 15 years as a tune-up for the summer’s U.S. Senior Women’s Open … and proceeded to make the cut at age 50. She also went on to win the USGA event in August by eight shots.
18. She ended her career ranked No. 2 in the world.