RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Annika Sorenstam's name is magic in professional golf and it soon will become synonymous with women's collegiate golf.
Beginning in 2014, The ANNIKA Foundation, in conjunction with the Haskins Commission, will present The ANNIKA Award - an honor that every year will recognize the most outstanding NCAA Division I women's golfer.
This exciting new partnership was announced April 2 at the 2013 Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, Calif. - an LPGA event that Annika won on three different occasions.
The Haskins Commission, a 501(c)3 organization in Columbus, Ga., governs the Haskins Award, presented annually to the top men's player in college golf. For 41 years, this coveted trophy has honored the late Fred Haskins, a teaching pro who instilled the values of amateur golf to generations of youthful competitors.
Annika, an eight-time Rolex LPGA Player of the Year, said the relationship between her foundation and the Haskins Commission is a natural one.
"The Haskins Award has been a prestigious accolade recognizing the best male collegiate players for over 40 years. I am thrilled to work with the Haskins Commission to create The ANNIKA Award to similarly honor the best collegiate female golfers."
President Madden Hatcher Jr., said the Haskins Commission has been exploring a logical expansion into the women's game and that a chance to work with the LPGA legend makes the new award even more attractive.
"We felt comfortable with Annika and her colleagues from the moment we met them. Her name and her sterling reputation will give The ANNIKA Award instant recognition and prestige and be a perfect companion to the Haskins Award whose list of winners parallel her achievements in women's golf," Hatcher said.
The winner of the Haskins Award is decided by a vote of college golfers and media members who cover the collegiate game and the commission will create a similar voting process for The ANNIKA Award.
The Haskins Award winner receives an automatic exemption into the Greenbrier Classic and future recipients of The ANNIKA Award will be given an exemption into the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
The ANNIKA Foundation and Golfweek magazine — official media partner of The ANNIKA Award — are also finalizing plans for a major women's college tournament to be played in Orlando, Fla. Annika, a former college star at the University of Arizona, hopes to attract many of the top college teams in the country starting in 2014.
Born in Sweden, Annika won seven collegiate tournaments, including the 1991 NCAA Championship. That same year, she was NCAA Co-Player of the Year with Kelly Robbins and was named to the Women's All-America team. In 1992, she was Pac-10 champion and finished second in the NCAA Championships. She turned pro that same year.
"College golf meant a lot to me and helped get my career going in the right direction. And my Foundation provides playing opportunities globally to juniors who are passionate about the game. Therefore, creating a first-class invitational tournament for the best women's teams to kick off the college golf season is a natural progression," Annika said.
The primary sponsor of the Haskins Award is Stifel Nicolaus, a full service brokerage and investment-banking firm based in St. Louis, Mo. Its official media sponsor is Golfweek magazine.
The award was created in 1970 and its list of winners is spectacular, beginning with Ben Crenshaw, who took home the first three. Phil Mickelson of Arizona State is the only other three-time winner (1990, 1991 and 1992). Past winners are among the top players on the 2013 PGA Tour, including Tiger Woods (1996), Matt Kuchar (1998), Luke Donald (1999) Graeme McDowell (2002) and Hunter Mahan (2003).
Justin Thomas, the 2012 winner of the Haskins Award, is a sophomore at the University of Alabama and is trying to be the first repeat winner since Mickelson more than 20 years ago.
About the ANNIKA Foundation
Annika created the ANNIKA Foundation (www.annikafoundation.org) as a way to teach children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition, and offer aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams. The Foundation has partnered with key organizations to promote healthy, active lifestyles for children, including SPARK, Florida Hospital for Children in support of its Healthy 100 Kids initiative and The First Tee in development of the Nine Healthy Habits curriculum for children.
It annually conducts four major golf events for aspiring junior girls, including an award-winning AJGA tournament, ANNIKA Invitational at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla.; the ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills, the first all-girls junior tournament in China; the ANNIKA Invitational in Europe; and the ANNIKA Cup, a team event for the top juniors in Sweden. The Foundation awards SPARK grants to schools, is a financial supporter of Healthy 100 Kids and has endowed an ACE scholarship with the AJGA. Other key initiatives include ANNIKA Junior Day, the ANNIKA Inspiration Award and scholarships for aspiring Swedish juniors.
About the Haskins Commission
Since 1970, the Haskins Commission has provided oversight for the Haskins Award, a prestigious trophy presented every year to the outstanding male performer in college golf. Based in Columbus, Ga., the commission is a 501(c)3 organization composed of volunteers who believe in the principles and values of amateur golf. Members oversee the voting, which is decided by a vote of Division I golfers and members of the media that cover the college game. The primary sponsor of the Haskins Award is Stifel Nicolaus, a full service brokerage and investment-banking firm in St. Louis, Mo. Its official media sponsor is Golfweek magazine. The award honors the memory of the late Fred Haskins, a native of Hoylake, England, who came to Georgia in 1922 to become a teaching pro at the Country Club of Columbus. For generations, his proteges won amateur golf tournaments all over the world.
Madden Hatcher Jr.
President, Haskins Commission