Golf News for Friday, May 28, 2010 | Tournaments

AJGA announces continued support of the ANNIKA Invitational

BRASELTON, Ga. -- Annika Sorenstam and the ANNIKA Foundation will continue support of the American Junior Golf Association through the ANNIKA Invitational, an invitation-only event featuring the top junior female golfers from around the world, the AJGA announced. The tournament, which was voted "Newcomer of the Year" in 2009, will be extended through 2014.

Each year, Annika is involved in the tournament in every way, including conducting clinics and educational activities for participants. In 2010, the ANNIKA Invitational featured a clinic by Annika, a private Valentine's Day dinner, informational sessions on fitness, nutrition and skin care at Celebration Health, along with tips for speaking to the media.

The event is hosted by the ANNIKA Foundation which seeks to teach children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition, and offers aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams.

From the event's inaugural year in 2009 through 2011, proceeds are being used to endow an Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant in the ANNIKA Foundation's name. The ACE Grant program was created by the AJGA in 2003 to ensure opportunities were available to junior golfers with skill who lacked the financial resources required to compete in national junior golf. Since the program's inception, the AJGA has awarded 421 ACE Grants to 251 juniors totaling nearly $1,617,890. With the gift, Annika will join endowment partners Rolex, Polo Ralph Lauren, HP, Hunter Mahan, Deutsche Bank, Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, the Bruce Slovitt Memorial ACE Grant and Global Golf Post.

Each year the tournament field is selected using the Polo Golf Rankings along with select international invitees to be determined.

"I am happy to continue this partnership with the AJGA," said Sorenstam. "Spending time with these young women during the past two events has been so rewarding. Being able to share my passion about golf, fitness and nutrition with these promising juniors is the mission of the ANNIKA Foundation coming to life.""

Annika's playing career was legendary. She won 89 career tournaments around the world, 72 on the LPGA Tour including 10 major championships. The LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer is known around the world by one name, Annika, and is building an impressive group of businesses around the ANNIKA brand. These include her foundation, academy, clothing line, course design projects around the world, financial group, online store, boutique at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation, website and blog.

"It is truly an honor for the AJGA to continue its partnership with Annika on this special girls' tournament," said Stephen Hamblin, AJGA executive director. "It is a rare opportunity for young players to learn from a Hall of Famer who is committed to sharing her passion for the game with golf's next generation. It is a lifetime experience that these girls will never forget."

The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.

Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.

AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.

For more information, please contact Roseanna Smith (rsmith@ajga.org) in the AJGA Sponsorship Department at (678) 425-1741 or visit the AJGA Web site at www.ajga.org.