PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Ten-time LPGA major winner and World Golf Hall of Fame Member Annika Sorenstam has elected to join The PGA of America as a member of the North Florida PGA Section. Sorenstam, who has lifetime eligibility to become a PGA member based on her major championship victories and participation in the Solheim Cup, was formally elected to PGA membership on April 19.
Sorenstam's decision to pursue PGA membership is part of her passion for growing the game and promoting the health and wellness benefits of golf. She follows many other current and former PGA and LPGA Tour players who have opted into PGA membership. As a North Florida PGA Section member, Sorenstam will participate with both the Section and Sheila Johnson, owner of Reunion Resort in Orlando (which houses the ANNIKA Academy), on special events and future projects. At a press conference today at Reunion, the North Florida
PGA Section announced it is also relocating its headquarters to the resort by June 3, 2013.
"I am excited to elevate my relationship with the North Florida PGA Section and its 1,500 Professionals, who work so diligently to promote and teach the game," said Sorenstam, a resident of the Orlando area. "Since my playing days, I have dedicated myself to growing the game through my ANNIKA Academy and Foundation. Now, this relationship with the Section and Reunion Resort presents a new path to help expand the game to even greater heights."
In recent years, Sorenstam has appeared on behalf of the North Florida PGA Section at several Golfest events across the region, including Orlando and Tampa. The Section and Sorenstam share a common interest in growing, enhancing and improving the game, and they are currently formulating plans to promote future endeavors, including junior golf development, diversity and women's golf.
"The PGA of America is delighted to welcome Annika Sorenstam to the ranks of PGA membership," said PGA President Ted Bishop. "Annika's commitment to giving back to the game has been evident for years, and I am very pleased that the North Florida PGA Section has developed and nurtured such a strong working relationship with her. Annika is truly one of golf's great ambassadors and trendsetters."
"Annika Sorenstam is such an iconic figure in golf," said Rich Smith, executive director and CEO of the North Florida PGA Section. "We are so proud that she has become a member of The PGA of America and the North Florida PGA Section, and we are excited about the opportunity we have to work with Annika to grow our game."
Under the PGA Constitution and Bylaws, current exempt playing professionals on the LPGA, PGA and Champions Tours; past major Championship winners; and participants in national team events, such as the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup, are eligible to become PGA members.
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan remarked about Sorenstam's choice to carry membership in the two Associations. "The LPGA congratulates Annika on her decision to also become a PGA member. We are pleased that she will carry dual membership in both the LPGA and The PGA of America, in order to continue her long-term commitment to expand the reach of the game of golf."
A native of Sweden, Sorenstam has been an LPGA member since she joined the Tour in 1994, when she was named LPGA Rookie of the Year. During her career, she won 89 events worldwide and made history when she played in the 2003 Colonial, becoming the first woman golfer to appear in a PGA Tour event since Babe Zaharias in 1945. Considered one of the greatest women's golfers of all time, Sorenstam stepped away from the game in 2008, to pursue a family and also expand her business and charitable interests.
About The PGA of America
Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering world-class championships and innovative programs, The PGA of America elevates the public's interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. As The PGA nears its centennial, the PGA brand represents the very best in golf.
About Annika Sorenstam:
In her 15 years as a professional, Annika became a golf legend and transcended her sport to become a prominent mainstream athlete. Throughout her storied career, she rewrote the LPGA and Ladies European Tour record books -- winning 89 events worldwide (72 on the LPGA Tour), 10 major championships and eight Rolex Player of the Year awards - and brought unprecedented attention to women's golf. Her career changed how women's golf is played, watched and covered, and she continues to have a positive impact on all women's sports.
About the ANNIKA Academy
The ANNIKA Academy (www.theannikaacademy.com) is a state-of-the-art, "boutique" golf school at Reunion Resort, near Orlando, Fla. It opened in 2007 as a way to share Annika's passion for golf, fitness and nutrition, along with her personal team of coaches. Their simple techniques allow players of any age, gender or skill level to reach their potential by transferring more energy and power from the gym to the course. The Academy is a Certified Callaway Performance Center with two spacious hitting booths that offer custom club fitting and video swing analysis. Complete with a modern fitness facility, conference room, and full-service locker rooms, the Academy provides individualized golf instruction, personalized fitness and nutrition programs, and custom corporate packages. Guests can play with Annika or learn the proven winning approach she established with her world renowned team of instructors.
The PGA of America