Is Annika Sorenstam's early retirement in dire times leaving the LPGA Tour out to dry?
It’s all teary eyes and sentimental moments at the ADT Championship as Annika Sorenstam plays in her last LPGA Tour event for awhile.
While there has been a ton of fanfare about her “retirement", we should remember she said this is more of a “stepping away.” I’d bet my bottom dollar we haven’t seen the last of Annika.
That said, she leaves the tour at a time when they may need her the most. Thanks to a struggling economy and some controversial decisions coming from the tour, like the bad PR they received for their English ultimatum directed towards foreign players earlier this year, the LPGA has a smaller schedule in 2009 and sponsors are drying up.
With Michelle Wie’s star power fading, the LPGA Tour still needs Annika around to keep the LPGA relevant, even if she’s not the player she once was. Lorena Ochoa is the best golfer out there right now and Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer have strong followings, but it’s Sorenstam who is still the biggest draw the tour has at a lot of events.
Sometimes a league’s ambassador needs to suck it up and do what’s necessary in tough times - even if it’s not their personal “Position A.”
A few years back, hockey great Mario Lemieux came out of retirement (again) for the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team he played his whole career for and ended up becoming a partial owner of. He could barely skate it seemed like at times and even needed someone to tie his skates for him, a result of chronic back problems. But the NHL was coming off a lockout season and had never been more of a non-factor in the realm of sports, and the Penguins had serious money problems.
His presence alone sold a few seats, and every time he and young gun Sidney Crosby connected on a goal, it made SportsCenter highlights.
The NHL and the Penguins are doing better now. It’s not all because of Lemieux, but it had to have helped.
Sorenstam has every right to step down when she wants after a hall of fame career, especially if her heart’s not into the weekly grind anymore and she wants to start a family. That’s a decision male players rarely have to make. But this is a tough time for the LPGA, and they still need her to come around once in awhile to move the needle.
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I will miss watching her effortless drives.
Hopefully her "retirement" will encourage other top ladies to step up and fill her shoes.
Ochoa is the next Sorenstam..I hope that is good enough to take the LPGA to the next level.
I think "Bozo Bivens" is a name that fits very well!
What was so wrong with having Annika take the drug test? Hadn't it been agreed upon that it would be a random selection? And didn't her name just happened to have been selected? So she had to pee in a cup? Like everyone has to do if they have to be drug tested? Um, yeah, I must be missing something.
I imagine that after missing the cut at her last tournament (for the time being) she probably didn't have much patience for anything, never mind a drug test.
But that's the way the rules were set up, the rules everyone agreed on, so there was no question she needed to do it. Right? Maybe the rules should be changed going forward so the same person doesn't have to get tested twice in a row, but for this time, the rules were established.
I admire Annika and I'm pretty sure she regrets her negative reaction, and now that a few days have passed, I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't say so publicly. But the fans and press who suggested she should have been able to skip the test? Where are they coming from?
You definitely do not want to change the rules to guarantee any players that they will not be tested at a particular tournament. The whole point of random testing is that anyone can be tested any tournament. Perhaps the rules should be changed so as to test everybody every week.
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