Annika Sorenstam Annika Sorenstam to return to LPGA Tour for Ginn Tribute

Annika Sorenstam will return to the LPGA Tour for her new tournament, the Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika, held at RiverTowne Country Club in Charleston, S.C., May 31-June 3.

Sorenstam has been sidelined since April with an injured back and has said her goal was to return for her event.

"Annika's rehabilitation has progressed well, and she looks forward to resuming competitive play next week," Sorenstam's agent, Mark Steinberg, said in a statement.

Sorenstam will face stiff competition. The field includes Lorena Ochoa, who supplanted her atop the Rolex Rankings last month, Suzann Pettersen, Brittany Lincicome and Hall of Famer Juli Inkster. Michelle Wie will play on a sponsor's exemption.

Doctors diagnosed Sorenstam with a herniated and ruptured disk in her back after she pulled out of the Ginn Open in April. It was Sorenstam's first major injury in a career that has seen her win 10 majors and more than 60 LPGA Tour titles across the world.

Sorenstam will likely continue playing a limited schedule this year. She told Swedish broadcaster SVT in April that she would play less and focus on winning majors.

This is a sign that competition remains a priority, but Sorenstam's career is no longer exclusive to the golf course. She's also focused on outside projects, such as her new "Annika Academy" golf schools.

Sorenstam opened her first academy April 16 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. Sorenstam was reportedly 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 the 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."

May 23, 2007

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