Annika Sorenstam Annika Sorenstam to play limited 2007 LPGA Tour schedule with back injury

The back injury that put Annika Sorenstam out of last week's Ginn Open will force the world's No. 1-ranked woman golfer to play a limited 2007 LPGA Tour schedule.

Sorenstam told Swedish broadcaster SVT yesterday that she will play fewer events this season and focus on winning majors because of the herniated and ruptured disk that will sideline her for at least a month.

"I will play less, prepare more and really go for the big competitions," Sorenstam told SVT.

Sorenstam added that she thinks another Grand Slam remains possible.

"I think it's realistic. This year I had planned for it, but it didn't happen," she told SVT. "I trained really hard in February and it is probably one of the reasons why I obtained this injury."

For the 36-year-old Sorenstam, this is the first major injury in a career that has seen her win 10 majors and more than 60 LPGA Tour titles across the world. Doctors have told Sorenstam that surgery is probably unnecessary, and that she'll have a better idea of when she can return to the tour after a brief rehabilitation schedule.

Sorenstam's goal is to return by May 31 for her new event, the Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika, an indication that competition remains priority number one, but Sorenstam's career is no longer exclusive to the golf course.

These days, Sorenstam is also focused on outside projects. A good example is her first "Annika Academy," a golf school she opened Monday at Ginn Reunion Resort in Florida with a tour and clinic for children from the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Hootie & the Blowfish front man Darius Rucker. Through its development, Sorenstam has been so involved in the project that she even picked out the gray-and-blue carpeting in the academy.

"Right now, this is what excites me. That's really the truth," she told reporters at yesterday's opening. "I've tried to motivate myself at times. I know I can play. If I really have to gear up for an event, I can do it. But it's almost like, 'I've done that so many times.' This is thrilling to me. This is more about giving back. I'm very complete right now."

April 19, 2007

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